The venues of the Festa – 9. Ferzan Ozpetek and Ostiense

Ferzan Ozpetek, director of films like His Secret Life, Facing Window and Sacred Heart, talks about his relationship with Rome, particularly areas that are no longer the outskirts but which are not yet classified as the city centre. For instance, the main character in His Secret Life, Michele (played by Stefano Accorsi), lives in the Ostiense neighborhood, where the director himself is based. This is an area midway between the centre and the suburbs, and one of the locations being used for the RomeFilmFest, which will be putting on an exhibition of women’s fashion in the movies at the Centrale Montemartini.

 “I often use the Ostiense area to shoot my films simply because I’ve lived there for 30 years,  so I know it quite well. I usually move around on foot and that gives me useful insights. When I said I wanted to film His Secret Life in this area, people thought I’d gone nuts, but nonetheless I believe I was right. For instance, there’s this scene with Gabriel Garko, who plays a man with AIDS, where he’s standing in a really heavy rain storm and you can see the gasometre in the background. It’s a stunning scene, shot in the place where I used to walk my dog together with a friend of mine. It was natural for me to film there”.
Ozpetek’s view of Rome is not limited to the outskirts, it also focuses on the centre, from the Jewish ghetto to the gardens opposite the Marcello Theatre, seen in the film Facing Window. “These are areas I also know very well. I often go shopping in the Ghetto. Rome is a city that continually surprises, so many places to discover and I’m glad to be able to make my movies here. I worked as an assistant director for 15 years, and filmmakers kept refusing to shoot the Colosseum or Saint Peter’s Dome, thinking they were too obvious. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with it. On the contrary, I like doing it. Otherwise, it’s like avoiding wearing a beautiful dress. Anyway, for me, I have to feel personally touched by the streets, the squares and the monuments, they have to evoke nice memories before I decide to shoot there. Though that’s not difficult in Rome”.
Finally, Ozpetek looks forward to the RomeFilmFest, to be held from October 13th to the 21st. “Such an important event was needed. Besides, involving both the city centre and the suburbs enables all citizens to take part. I’m sure it’s going to be a rewarding event, from the heart of the city to its outskirts”.


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