Euforia Director Valeria Golino talks medical malpractice and females in the film industry.
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Euforia, starring Riccardo Scamarcio and Valerio Mastandrea, is an Italian drama directed by Valeria Golino that explores the story of two brothers forced to come together and realise they are not as different as they believe.
Image Credit: Premier Entertainment
Getting the chance to speak with a female director in the flesh is too often a rare occurrence, and this is all the more special considering that Italian director Valeria Golino is only in the UK for a short time, as part of the Film Made in Italy 2019 festival.
I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with her on issues surrounding Euforia, such as female representation, the bond between siblings, and the issues of medical malpractice that inspired her story.
Speaking out about her experience creating the film and the intentions behind the story, Golino explains that “I wanted to make a story about two brothers, as it is very archetypical, but I wanted to avoid the cliches. I wanted these two people to be not just the opposite, but somehow different and also the same.”
The director goes on to explain that whilst a story about two brothers is not unusual or uncommon, her intent was to avoid the overdone stories like this that had already been seen on screen, hoping to prove that one person is not all bad or all good.
The story follows the story of two brothers, Ettore and Matteo, as they fight for and against each other at different points within the story. The relationship between the two brothers begins to grow even more complicated as we learn that Ettore, the older brother, is dying from an inoperable brain tumour. He seems unaware of the true nature of his terminal condition, and this confusion for both his character and the audience lasts part way through the film until we learn his younger brother Matteo, along with his doctors, have actively been misleading him - keeping him purposefully in the dark about the fact that he is slowly dying.
Golino discusses her conscious decision to include this aspect of the story within the film: “You couldn’t do this in England; in England it is illegal. In America, it is illegal to lie to the patient. It is not illegal in Italy; it is not illegal in France. It is not illegal yet in many Catholic countries, it is still in the culture. It will probably become illegal eventually; doctors will have to say exactly to the patient what is going on, but it is not yet.”
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Image Credit: Premier Entertainment
The film starts an interesting ethical debate, and Golino puts it in her own words: “This is really the ethical question of the movie: can you lie, and if you lie is it better? Is it worse? Does the sick person have the right to know, or what happens in a relationship if you say to a sick person ‘you are terminally ill and you're not going to live?’ What happens to the rest of the life; does it make it worse?”
And whilst the film is a story about two brothers, it is refreshing to discuss the presence of all the women who were involved within the creation of the story, including actively working behind the camera. “I am a women director, and the producer is a woman. And my two-co-writers are women. This is a woman’s movie about two guys,” Golino says.
Her passion is clear as she discusses the recent rise of female representation. When considering the recent rise of female directors, there is still more progress to be made, she says: “Of course there is still too little; the number is still too small in Italy, but in the last few years it has increased much faster than in the last 25.
"It would be so nice when we can stop talking about it; that is going to be the real victory.”
Golino credits experience as being her greatest teacher - having no formal training for acting, she was able to establish a successful film career before making the switch to working behind the camera as a director. When asked about her best advice for any woman interested in a career in the film industry, she encourages gathering as much experience as possible: “One way or another, get as close to cinema as possible. Try to get on a set; start watching what's happening."
Euforia was included in the 2019 Cinema Made in Italy Festival, held 26th February - 3rd March