Susanna Nicchiarelli on Directing Margherita Mazzuco in ‘Chiara’


With “Chiara,” Susanna Nicchiarelli paints Saint Clare of Assisi, a 13th-century saint who was born into a wealthy family and who was 18 Becoming a nun after listening to a sermon of St. Francis – the Italian director completed her trilogy of biographical stories of women, from “Nico, 1988” and “Miss Marx,” both from the Horizons section in Venice. With “Chiara” she entered the main competition in Venice.

Nikiarelli and type On what drew her to portraying the quintessential feminist and directing “My Best Friend” star Margherita Mazzucco for the film’s titular role. extract.

What made you want to tell us this story about St. Clair?
Well, first of all, I’ve always been passionate about St. Francis. When I first saw Franco Zeffirelli’s “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”, my memory was very strong. I was at school and undressed in front of the bishop when they showed it to us and this boy, this man. That’s a very strong image. Francis’ battle is just as important to us today as it is a battle for poverty and against social injustice. It’s about being on the side of the poor, on the side of those who are different, and the injustice of a society where few have everything and most have nothing. So, this is their battle. Such was the society of the Middle Ages. It’s not too different from the way it is now.

Suzanne Nikiarelli


Claire is of course a follower of Francis
Yes. What’s interesting about Francis’ revolution, and Claire’s revolution, is the desire to create a community, a community of equals. What happened was that Claire was an 18-year-old girl who ran away from home to join Francis, and she just wanted to be like him. I mean, she wanted to do what he did and build a community of Franciscan women. But for many reasons, this is not possible. So she’s been fighting the church. She fought the pope and cardinals just to be able to do what Francis did as a woman. The problem is that medieval women were forced to live in isolation. If you choose to live a religious life, you have to lock yourself in a monastery and disappear. And she doesn’t want this.

She wants to go to this world. She wanted to travel but was not allowed. She wants to go to the Holy Land. She wants to do everything Francis is doing, but she’s not allowed because she’s a woman. So somehow her story became a feminist story and her struggle became a feminist struggle.

Let’s talk about the casting of Margaret, because I think she’s really a good fit for this movie. I mean, it’s an ensemble movie, but I do think her on-screen charisma is a huge asset.

Well, first of all, Claire was 18 when she ran away. So, it was very important for me to have an 18-year-old girl play Claire. I mean, I want her to be young because the youth of Claire and Francis is important. I mean, they were kids, they were young, and a lot of people of all ages followed them. When I met Margaret, I fell in love with her because she was a child, because she was a child. She has the same weaknesses as children. She is small, but at the same time she has a strong charm. She is very focused. She knows her place in the world and is very calm. So in many ways, she’s Claire to me.

Talk to me about the intense musical aspect of the film, as well as the chorus and dance sequences in the field.

When I write, I know I have to make them dance. I knew I had to go in the direction of a musical because, I mean, the movies I had in mind when I was writing were Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. The Franciscans are very happy, they are always celebrating life and singing. The first manuscripts we had with songs were Franciscans. So, of course, that has to be part of their story. Young people come together, distance from society, choose poverty, choose a simple life, celebrate because that’s the point. They are like flowers.

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