Promenade Fatale (Love Letters)
Anny lives alone.
She houses for a few days her nephew Augustus, deaf and dumb. One afternoon they have a walk together but when they come back home they discover that someone has been in the house.
During their absence two strangers, dressed in black, one of them with a large bouquet of flowers, has entered Anny’s apartment rummaging in every corner, in search of money and valuables.
They find some love letters, preserved with care and divided in small groups with different colored ribbons. These letters attract the attention of one of the two thieves. He destroys them without pity and apparently without reason, leaving the debris scattered on the floor as a trace of their passage.
Anny feels this as an act of extreme violence on the memories of her personal affective history. In the meanwhile her nephew Augustus tries in some way to reassemble the pieces of paper and comfort her.
Anny suddenly begins to feel ill, sits in the chair but she is undergoing a massive heart attack. All seems lost, his nephew is dumb and no way to call for help.
The building is empty at that time. When...
"Promenade fatale" is divided in two main parts, both of them have as protagonist a couple of characters who work in the same environment. Two thieves, cold but at the same time different, unexpected.
Their climb up the stairs, their expressions, their entry into the house, all seems like some sort of dark ritual, which finds its highest point in the destruction of Anny’s love letters.
The two thieves also have different natures and behaviors. The one that brings flowers, the thief who is played by actor Stephen Sarra, seems almost mesmerized and absorbed in its path. His gestures are related primarily to the arrangement of flowers in a vase, his gestures are obsessed for perfection for the composing of the flowers on the table of Anny‘s dining room. For the rest he is only a witness, passive and contemplative.
The other thief, played by Alberto Testone, appears much more determined and decisive, both in gestures and in facial expressions. These two figures are a counterpoint to the more lonely and dreaming of the little girl, played by Federica G. Giovanardi, who, during the entrance of the two strangers in the apartment of Anny, bounces like as in a musical of other time out of his balcony.
In the second part of the film, the characters of the two thieves contrast with those of Anny, played by Sabrina Iorio, and his nephew Augustus, Fabio Pasquini.
They enter with great awe and circumspection inside the house found with the door open and the chandelier faltering. Even the rooms of the house transforms themselves into something different, the rooms gets stuffy, there is no air, as well as they were – in the first part - for the thief who arranged the flowers, when he was forced to widen his tie.
In the second part the Anny’s house becomes the scene of a defeat, a kind of silent and indifferent creature that shows to the woman and her grandson its fangs and entrails scattered among the fragments of the paper.
The party game has been organized trying to keep alive the intensity of the dramatic situations between the characters, with cameras and sound choices that draw each part of the route as a place of references and resonances to a past shrouded in mystery and feelings.
Meanwhile, from what remains of Anny’s letters, crop excerpts of conversations between the two old boyfriends, that remain untouched in their vitality and freshness, and incorporated into the film in voice-over by the voices of Giusy Ricchizzi and Paolo Ricci.
This work takes origin from the issue of paper recycling, in relation to a 2013 contest, at which, for a long protracted post-production, did not participate.
The particular approach to this issue, even if embedded and protected within its nucleus of origin, has never forced "Promenade Fatale" in only one expressive direction. But we could say that it has freed the gently unfinished meaning in all possible combinations, through which something used and destroyed, but mostly seemingly useless, may mysteriously come back next to us, in a mysterious and unpredictable utility.
We would like to emphasize that the production was conceived and developed with a budget close to zero. This is a great example of poor cinema, in the purest sense of the word, which has tried to exploit and optimize the best possible conditions and human and technical resources that he found available.
Anny (Sabrina Iorio)
The character Anny is the core from which the plot and subplots branch off. The principal core is her feeling of loneliness, which is amplified when she finds all her love letters destroyed, shortly after the entry of two unknown individuals into her home, while she is out for a short walk. A person alone, withered and quiet from the intensity of her memories, Anny appears in this physiognomy, right from her timid and scared entrance into her home, even before noticing the consequences of what has happened. Her entrance is that of somebody who is no longer entering their own house but someone else’s, or even in a place where she doesn’t have the right to enter. The swinging ceiling light signals the oscillation of an interior boundary, the gradual crossing of a threshold or point of no return. This is the first palpable dimension of isolation and extraneousness which surfaces on her face as she moves along the corridor: no longer recognizing the smells, the lights, the warmth of a place which she loves because it is the guardian of items and memories loved and destroyed. Maybe Anny is already aware, right from her first steps when she enters, that something has profoundly changed. This can be deduced from the different awareness in her look and in the changes of her expression, something telepathic and irrational, which wounds her even before the shock.
Anny's nephew (Fabio Pasquini)
Augusto is the other protagonist in our story, Anny’s deaf and dumb nephew, who tries to help but proves powerless when faced with the consequences of the misdeed despite his effort and his desire to fix the situation. Being mute does not prevent him from expressing himself and interacting inside the scattered shadows of this pain. His fingers on the fragments of paper become part of his words, his voice, which is heard in every resonance as he tries the impossible task of putting the torn pieces of letters back together. Anny’s nephew cannot imagine or understand what is in the letters, but in the same way, because of the same telepathic contact that his aunt has with these objects, he succeeds in entering in precise harmony with the emotional weight of the whole situation. His personality is expressed therefore in light counterpoint, trying to shield Anny’s pain, despite his fragility. And perhaps his real strength is to go ahead alone, just like what happened in the corridor, inside the shadowed threshold of this pain, which leaves both aunt and nephew mute in the same fashion.
Thief without flowers (Alberto Testone)
Using this subtle and singular distinction to analyse the characters of the two thieves, I automatically introduce their different positioning. The thief without flowers is the subject agent, the automaton who, of the two thieves, seems to be the one without any heart, the instigator of the game. Right from the beginning of the scene, he is the one who gives small indications to his accomplice, slight nods and imperceptible movements of the body, to get down to implementing his dark and relentless scheme. His movement through the house breaks down into an individual inspection, accurate and sequential, typical of an uninhabited being. The thief without flowers is the one who destroys all Anny’s letters with ferocity, not before opening one however, and lingering for a couple of seconds, feeling the bewitching power of charm and distance.
Thief with flowers (Stefano Sarra)
This character also has his own degree of mystery. Unlike the methodical confidence of his accomplice, in this thief’s case, shades of obsession prevail, like those of someone immersed in the orthodox nature of an ancient ritual which he cannot back out of. Before entering Anny’s home, his execution is impeccable and well-constructed. His timing is perfectly synchronized with that of his colleague, for example in their steps on the stairs, the timing of their movements and the ritual of that “fatal promenade”, from the street to the apartment building. But once inside the home, the two tributaries branch off in completely different directions and places: the thief with the flowers busies himself arranging the flowers in a vase, organizing them with care on the table in Anny’s room, just as the love letters are being destroyed. An unusual counterpoint, through contrary motion, which covers the apparition and relative disappearance of the two characters in black with pain and colour, as well as greater mystery.
Child on balcony (Federica Gaia Giovagnoli)
The character of the child on the balcony has a symbolical and magnetic value: the engine behind a key and demiurgic element, which attracts Anny’s destiny in her innocence and relative indifference to the events, joining the various threads of our story together in the silence of play. Her hopping movement, like that in an old musical, which she passes her time doing alone on the balcony, contains inside it - but without her knowing – the same laws which regulate the lunar cycles and tides, which blend eclipses and disperse constellations, straddled between the mildness of idleness and the ecstasy of a little macabre dance. This particular role of her character, had us think a great deal about the type of photography to use in order to put her in relation to the other levels of the story, in order to distance her from everyday events but without disassociating her too much. A delicate balance, which led to our passionate search for another place protected from the first light of her development.
- Official trailer
- THE MOVIE
- The backstage
- The movie poster
- The original screenplay
- The cast
- The crew
- "Promenade Fatale" on imdb.com
The project in summary
|Shooting days||4 (june-july 2013)|
|Cast||2 actresses, 3 actors|
|Camera||Canon 5d mark II|