The venues of the Festa – 8. Claudio Santamaria and Torbellamonaca

“I think the name Festa for a film festival is a great idea. It makes me think of a popular event that brings together the cinema and the audience”. This is what Claudio Santamaria, one of the most sought-after actors in Italian cinema, thinks of the RomeFilmFest. In fact, the event does indeed intend to garner popular appeal, both in the suburbs as well as the city centre. Not only in Via Veneto, Piazza del Popolo and the Trevi Fountain but also in San Lorenzo, Casilina, Torbellamonaca and Torvaianica.
The young actor talks about the suburbs of Rome and their relationship with cinema: “A friend of mine lived in the Torbellamonaca area and I used to hang around there a lot. I continued to visit there afterwards, especially to attend theatre performances at what is now the Torbellamonaca theatre, restored thanks to Michele Placido. But it certainly wasn’t like that some years ago. For instance, I remember going to a festival organised in an extremely unusual venue by the director of the Colosseo Theatre. The event was held under some stairs in a place that looked more like a warehouse. Full of magic though. I feel a certain attachment to Torbelamonaca. That’s why I took part in the opening production of its theatre last year, reading a chapter from Pasolini’s book “The Ragazzi”.
I’ve hung out in the suburbs of Rome quite often, for pleasure rather than for work. I have performed a lot in the city, though it was basically in the centre or at Cinecittà studios. Here I’ve also had the opportunity of getting to know places that have marked the history of cinema. It was overwhelming to perform in the very same studio where Ettore Scola’s The Voyage of Captain Fracassa or Fellini’s Roma were filmed. In 1998, when I performed in my first feature called Humanity´s Last New Year´s Eve, the director Marco Risi wanted to re-produce my own bedroom in the studio. That was to be just one of the surprises filmmaking was about to show me. Not far from the Auditorium, the headquarters of the RomeFilmFest, I had my first full-on experience of the power of cinema. When I got to the Corso Francia for the first day of shooting on Humanity´s Last New Year´s Eve, I had the feeling of passing through a gate separating reality from fiction. My eyes were glued to the huge floating white balls used for the lighting on set. For someone like me, who still hadn’t performed in any film, it was an almost futuristic vision.”
“Anyhow, I don’t remember that many film sets located on the outskirts. For Crime Novel, for instance, we filmed in Rebibbia, in front of the jail. And for my next movie, where I’ll play the singer Rino Gaetano, we’ll film at Monte Sacro, where the Calabrian-born musician lived. But I wouldn’t say these areas are on the outskirts, in my opinion they are part of the city, unlike the Corviale neighbourhood, with its giant “snake” [a block of flats 1km long], which really is a suburb. I performed there several times when I was younger and the structure of the building is breathtaking. I do believe some further outlying areas really ought to be torn down and rebuilt. From an aesthetic point of view, they’ve been constructed very badly, they clash with the rest of the city and don’t fit in at all with the harmony of Rome.”


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