Genoese actor Fabrizio Lo Presti directed and starred in the movie Statale 45. Io Giorgio Caproni, a project which combines documentary, theatrical performances and cinematic reconstructions of the life of poet Giorgio Caproni. We asked him to talk about the “backstage” of the movie and his relationship with Caproni’s poems, which are deeply linked to Val Trebbia.
How was the project born and what is your relationship to Val Trebbia?
I know Val Trebbia since I was a child. My family bought a house in Bertassi, just past the Ligurian border, close to Gorreto. I used to spend five months per year barefoot, with the animals, milking cows and looking out for poiane (small eagles) over Monte Alfeo. Even nowadays I can’t live without Val Trebbia and its river.
Did shooting the movie in Val Trebbia help you understand Giorgio Caproni and its poems better?
I met the poet in Loco during one of his walks, I was thirteen back then. I already knew his works and I spent a wonderful hour with him. Sitting on a bench in the Ghiaia woods, he showed me a poem he had just completed, Santa Rosa da Lima, and I consider it a present life gave me. Val Trebbia and Genoa both played a curcial role in Giorgio‘s life, and I think they are “the” real part of him.
The movie was shot in the original locations where the poet lived. What was your impression of Alta Val Trebbia, Rovegno, Loco and Fontanigorda in particular?
Yes, the movie was shot specifically in his locations, in the fields he liked to observe, among the trees he used to sit under, among the houses of his villages. I love every part of the valley: for example there is a field close to Montebruno where I often go and where I shot the scene of the finding of the partisans killed by the nazis. That same event is part of the poetry collection “Anni Tedeschi” (German Years n.d.t).
About the interviews belonging to the documentarty-style part of the movie, how did you get in touch with the interviewees and what do you think of their relationship with Caproni and Val Trebbia?
The population of the valley and Comunita’ Montana Altavaltrebbia helped me in my research, but I also used to ask for information to the people of the villages. Everyone I managed to track, friends, relatives, former pupils and partisans, were all very enthusiastic about being part of the movie.
Did you organise any screening of the movie in Val Trebbia?
Some took place in 2007 in some of the villages in the valley. I still travel through Italy to screen the movie, organize lectures, poetry readings and a theatrical piece based on Caproni’s works.
For those who would like to watch the movie, how is it possible to get hold of a copy?
The movie is received as a gift by everyone who decides to become a member of the cultural association that funded its production. You can contact me at email@example.com for more information. The subscription fee is 35 euros and by joining you receive a newsletter informing you about the current events we plan, such as live performances or screenings. Members can access these events for free.
What’s your favourite place in the valley and why?
I have a strong tie with a field located in between the villages of Barchi and Bertassi. Here you can find a very old chestnut tree, it is about 500 years old. I found out that Giorgo too liked to go there and write and I used to hide my treasures in that same field ever since I was a young boy, a habit I still carry with me. As Caproni used to say, “it is the place of my soul”.
Which one of the people you met during the shooting of the film left the biggest mark on you?
Surely the partisan Redento Marconi, called “Allegro”, from Cassingheno. A real natural talent, a man full of history and a real and genuine human being.