ISABELLA FERRARI

On the occasion of the Cannes Film Festival, for RedMilk, Candela Novembre met one of the most sought-after and desirable Italian actresses: Isabella Ferrari. During the fitting of her dress, which she then wore for the red carpet event, Isabella talked about what she would have wanted to do, or would do, if she hadn’t been an actress, and if she had magic powers.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Breakfast in pyjamas with the children. Really simple and relaxed.

What was the last film you saw?
A film in contention atCannes, “La Grande Bellezza”, (The Great Beauty) at a private screening a few days ago.

How much and how has Isabella changed, from her first film, to today?
I’ve grown up. When I started out in this profession I was seventeen and, while I’m not revealing how old I am now, I will say that thirty years have gone by. Everything has changed, both for the better and for the worse. I am obviously more mature. I started acting without going to drama school and, looking at my old films, I can see the defects. I used to be more exacting and worry about how I was, whereas now I accept myself and I don’t have any kind of concern. At the start I was very exposed and famous, but I was only seventeen… today I’m more adult and without conflicts: I’ve finally overcome them.

You travel a lot and live many different lives for your work; how do you find your equilibrium?
I do yoga, Iyengar yoga, and I live in total disorder. There are six of us in the family, with the children, and I find my focal point by tidying drawers and decorating the house with flowers; and I like going shopping. I love everything practical: I come back after playing a role and turn on the vacuum cleaner.

Which of the characters you have played have you loved most?
Certainly the ones I played in the theatre: Suzanne (in “Il Catalogo” by Jean Claude Carrière, directed by Valerio Binasco). A really likeable character: I loved doing that accent – you really didn’t know where it came from – and to be able to do it in the theatre was a discovery. I fell totally in love with the idea of being on stage and being able to make the audience laugh. In films I’m seen as too dramatic, but I think I’m a lot more likeable than how I am perceived. At last, the ironic side of me, which can’t wait to get out, has been picked up by someone

Which food or drink do you think represents you?
Spaghetti with tomato is the dish that makes me happy and doesn’t cause me any problems. I‘m intolerant to a lot of things.

If you hadn’t been an actress, what other work could you have done?
A doctor. I really like those doctors who practice homeopathic, holistic and naturopathy methods. That’s it: I would have been a naturopath. I’m very interested in the processes that cause us to become ill, and how. I should like to look at the cause and not always the effect.

What super power would you like to have?
The one that would enable me to heal all the children in the world.

On the other hand, if you had a magic wand, what would your dream film line-up be?
I would certainly line up John Cassavetes: I would make a sort of “Gloria” (the 1980 film written and directed by Cassavetes and starring Gina Rowlands) but also Monica Vitti and Antonioni. I’m a great admirer of these two actresses – of Gina Rowlands and Monica Vitti – and in the same way, of Cassavetes e Antonioni. They are actresses and directors who are very different from one another, but have in common tremendous style. I have a great love for that type of cinema which, in some way, is still sought after but is not easy to find.

If I say to you, La grande bellezza (The great beauty) what comes to mind?
A film by Sorrentino. Now, only a film by Sorrentino.

And the grande bellezza (the great beauty) at Cannes?
Precisely: La Grande Bellezza, at Cannes. To avoid bad luck, I don’t want to say anything. I can simply say that it is a hypnotic journey, so I have the feeling that everyone will come out of the cinema not knowing where to go, to which party or dinner. They will still be inside the film, also because it lasts for two and a half hours; it’s truly hypnotic.

What would you never wear?        
A dressing gown.