Magari is a sentimental comedy, the story of three tight-knit siblings, Alma, Jean and Sebastiano who live in Paris, in the safe, albeit bizarre, bourgeois world of their Russian-Orthodox mother. One day they are suddenly packed and sent off into the arms of their absent, unconventional and completely broke Italian father Carlo, who has no idea how to look after himself, let alone his kids. During a Christmas holiday spent at a beach house with Carlo and his writing partner Benedetta, a moment in which their true lives are momentarily suspended, family tensions bubble to the surface. Carlo uncovers a dark side to his former wife and proves to his children that he is indeed an unreliable father, but also an incredibly charismatic one. And, despite the daily challenges and tensions, young Alma still firmly believes that one day – OH, IF ONLY! – her family will be united again, just like it used to be.
Magari is based on memories and nostalgia. It looks at the idea of family, at the fantasies we create around them. The film is about imperfect adults who try their best and struggle with their lives and their feelings. They are seen through the eyes of three young siblings, with very different personalities, who each have there own manner of dealing with life. Being a mother of three, I am always amazed at ways children adapt to situations, and the different ways in which they react to external events: some adjust and adapt very well, others resist to change and go their own way. But what always seems to keep them together is their sense of belonging to each other.
By an extensive casting process, we looked for three youngish bilingual children, who would work as a team rather than as individuals. It involved them spending time together in order to become familiar with each other. Speaking the same language, having the same accent and using similar gestures was important. The adult casting followed the children one, and I am extremely pleased to have been able to work with such talented actors, as Riccardo Scamarcio, Alba Rohrwacher and Céline Sallette. The interaction between them was crucial to convey the complex relationships.
The primary location of the film is the seaside town of Sabaudia, which I am very familiar with. The first image that came to my mind when I conceived the film was in fact the beach of Sabaudia, it has a special feeling that I tried to infuse the film with. The light, the colors – especially off season – are incredibly poetic. I am somehow drawn to the mix of melancholy and possibilities that you find in the seaside town when tourists have gone away. My aim was to try to film it all with a mixture of handheld and static, in order to blend the children’s liveliness with the stillness of the environment.
Ginevra Elkann was born in London in 1979 and has lived in England, France and Brazil. She graduated in Visual Communication from the American University of Paris, and holds a Masters in Film Making from the London Film School.Read more »