Federico Salsano, thirty years of film photography essentially for commercial works in Italy and the United States of America: advertising, music videos and so on. Flagship is the photograph of a documentary nominated for an Oscar in 2004 entitled “The Wheather Underground”. Then from 2016 he realizes that he is no longer enough to make images on the ideas of another person, and he wants to put his own into practice. This is how he makes his film The Kempinsky method in 2019 that participates in various festivals, obtains recognition and online distribution. Federico Salsano teaches Direction of Photography at Naba, New Academy of Fine Arts, in Milan, and continues his path with new ideas always in the narrative / experimental field.
The Kempinsky Method
The introspective imaginary road movie of a man in the maze of his own mind, his memories of his youth, his never dormant passions and contradictory truths. The road is made of water, the destination is falsely unknown. His traveling companions are three mysterious men, projections of his imagination and of different aspects of his personality: the perennial melancholy, the crazy creative, the introverted child. He is also followed by a female presence that tells the umpteenth human story. At a certain point of the crossing he decides to abandon the boat and its ghosts by diving into the sea and swimming on a deserted beach, naked, with a small Pinocchio puppet closed by a padlock.
Interview with Federico Salsano
Francesca Rita Rombolà and Federico Salsano talk about arts and poetry.
D – Federico Salsano I would like us to talk immediately about your latest film “The Kempinsky Method”.
R – During a journey actually undertaken, sailing the Atlantic Ocean to Cuba, I wanted to tell the confrontation of a man with his thoughts, memories, fears in the face of the immensity of a landscape so wonderful but also always equal to itself, trying to raise my horizon to a dreamlike and perhaps disenchanted vision of the meaning of existence. In his journey the protagonist, played by an extraordinary Lele Panzeri, director and advertising creative on his film debut as an actor at the age of sixty-six, ends up colliding with his own nightmares and no longer understanding which way he must go and why he is. traveling: perhaps in search of his adolescent dreams, perhaps destined for an awareness that scares him and that scares us all.
To do this I tried to maintain a contrast of tones, from the light cue to the drama darker, with a perhaps nihilistic meaning that I wanted to look for by digging with suffering into my deepest soul. Why I decided to give this cut in the writing of the film would be asked to my psychoanalyst, but I don’t know if I would still be on that wavelength. The result is a very personal melange that is placed between a “traditional” cinematic narrative and video art, a straddle between two languages that gives strength and originality to the story but which, at the same time, requires the viewer more effort than entertainment. pure more or less meaningful. In short, it is not a film to be seen at the end of the working day after dinner, if you want to appreciate it. Also the fact that only courageous festivals, particularly attentive to an experimental spirit and purely independent, they awarded the film is the testimony of this essence.
Q – Where can you see your film?
R – The first lockdown of March 2020 prevented the theatrical release and I am working on the recovery of the same which, however, in this funnel phase, that is of films produced and which waited for the reopening of the theaters to come out, creating a distribution traffic that was never like this. intense, it’s not easy. My dream would be to involve the navigator Giovanni Soldini, with whom I am in contact and who knows well the meanders of solitary thought in the middle of the sea, for a presentation in style soon. In the meantime it has been released on various platforms and in particular on Indiecinema of which it is part, let’s say, of the permanent collection.
Q – Does the cultural reality today promote, incentivize, stimulate artists in their often very difficult paths of realization?
A – I find that cultural reality should neither incentivize nor stimulate artists. Artists produce out of necessity, for what is the cultural reality of their time. It is, therefore, an inverse process. Artists produce even in the worst conditions, if they have an urgent need to do so. The pure artist then produces essentially for himself and we meet him by chance, for fortuitous reasons, not because we have heard about him from some case of media coverage. That art is also a profession and that it also produces a substantial income for an artist is another matter, but here the streams of the discourse referring to the individual arts become multiple, perhaps infinite.
Q – How important are ideas and how much technique in an artistic process such as the cinematographic one, for example, are connected and interchangeable or do they integrate each other but separately?
A – Mine is a director of photography resume. I chose this path precisely because I love the possibility of producing art through technique, but your question does not have a single answer. This is the beauty of cinema: the boundaries between roles are often not clear-cut, especially between cinematographer and director. Everything lies in the technical competence of the latter, which can be profound or almost nonexistent, and in the relationship of mutual collaboration that is established. It is often a question of being in harmony with the skin that turns into trust. Also in all the other key figures of the process, namely: scenography, costumes, assembly, ideas and technique come together in what could be defined as a “refined professional craftsmanship”.
D – Poetry for you.
R – Poetry… Personally I find that Poetry is a luxury that we rarely have the foresight to give ourselves. Yet it is free, indeed it is she who enriches us. Noticing the poetry that surrounds us is a daily job to which we should pay more attention. Cinema is poetry: the arts are poetry. It could be poetry whatever we decide it is as long as we always have an open and welcoming spirit to the stimuli we receive every second. I recently made a short film focused on the figure of Emily Dickinson: she is the perfect example of how Poetry can spring from nothing, from absence, from pure amazement.
Interview taken from Poesiaeletteratura.it curated by Rita Rombolà