Elio Germano, an actor without borders
His career in the cinema, his experiments and his work in the theatre. The actor talks about himself and his bond with Florence
Four David di Donatello awards, the 'Italian Oscars', won. A Prix d'intérpretation masculine at Cannes: a satisfaction that Italian cinema had only achieved with Marcello Mastroianni. A Silver Bear in Berlin as best actor. Elio Germano is one of the most talented Italian actors today. He has always chosen his roles with courage, experimenting, always seeking perfection. In this search for new frontiers for acting, at the age of thirty-six Elio Germano met cinema in VR, virtual reality. The new frontier of moving images. And he did so often directed by a young man born in Florence of a Kurdish father and Italian mother, Omar Rashid.
Elio Germano has often worked in Tuscany. On the island of Elba, shooting N - Io e Napoleone by Paolo Virzì. In the mountains around Pistoia, when he played Folco Terzani, the son of journalist and pacifist writer Tiziano Terzani, in the film La fine è il mio inizio (The End is My Beginning). In Florence - at the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens - where he filmed many scenes in Mario Martone's film Il giovane favoloso (The Fabulous Young Man), in which he plays Giacomo Leopardi, the most important poet of Italian Romanticism. Then he returned in 2021, to realise with the Teatro della Pergola and at the wish of its artistic director Stefano Accorsi an experimental theatre project with 3D filming by Omar Rashid, entitled Così è (o mi pare). A modern reinterpretation of Pirandello's classic "Così è (se vi pare)", written by Elio Germano, and turned into a virtual reality film to be enjoyed right in the theatre. In 2022, he will bring to the stage a recording of the play in which the special fruition of the performance - through special 3D visors - allows the audience to intensely experience every single moment of what was told on stage.
Elio, what ties you to Florence?
A lot of friendships, beyond the beauty of the places, and Michelangelo's David and the real works of art, which are infinitely more important than our David of the cinema! Among the places, Piazzale Michelangelo is one of my favourite places. But so is the Cpa, the self-managed student centre, where we have been several times to play with the group Le Bestie Rare.
No Borders is the first Italian film shot in virtual reality. How did you feel, facing this challenge?
Like one of the Lumière brothers! I'm joking, but not really. It was a real 'first time'. We didn't know how to act, how to move. We were shooting with six cameras at the same time, so we could see the scene from all sides. We went out of our 'comfort zone', our safety zone, and into the unknown.
You have always been concerned with 'others', with minorities, the weak, the marginalised.
I have always found it almost natural to be on the side of 'next door', on the side of the most uncomfortable, far from the dominant thought. And it is easy for me to feel in tune with those who are being persecuted.
Today, the world seems more and more oriented towards rejecting than welcoming.
It is no longer a question of right or left. It is about a social model, ours, for which happiness comes from the accumulation of possessions. This model leads to the protection of one's privileges at all costs. But there are people who propose a different model, which I believe in, and in which humanity, social networks, exchange between people, human relationships are important. You often find wonderful people among them.
What do you look for in a performance, in a role?
I am looking for something alive and mysterious. Acting is not a rational experience: you have to surrender yourself into the hands of an author. And every director takes you on his ship, on his sea. You have to sail with him.
What do you think of your career?
Awards count for little: what counts is the privilege of being able to have so many experiences. I don't have the anxiety of working at all costs: for now, I have been able to choose, to make the films I love. And that's an enormous blessing.
What do you love to do apart from cinema?
My passion is, apart from cinema, music. With my rap group BestieRare we have three albums to our credit: Come un animale, Precario and Per uscire premi icsilon. They call us, we keep playing around, so it's going very very well!