Beniamino Catena: “My human journey”

Beniamino Catena: “My human journey”

It had been ten years since the script of I am Verathe first film directed by Beniamino Catena, rested in a drawer but, fortunately, things changed when Paola Mannini, former screenwriter of Perfect strangers, has decided to resurrect it and redefine it in every detail. «I remember that, at the time, I won the loan but that, shortly after, the production company went bankrupt. In the meantime they offered me a TV series, Antimafia squadwhich kept me busy for a long time: from there I never stopped “, says Catena on the phone who, after hundreds of TV series – the latest is the second season of DOC – In your hands – and dozens of video clips by famous artists such as Laura Pausini, the Afterhours, Gianna Nannini and Andrea Bocelli, decided, in 2019, to take a sabbatical year to devote himself to his most intimate and successful project: a story written by eight hands together with his wife Nicoletta Polledro, to Graziano Misuraca and, in fact, to Mannini who intertwines two stories and two places apparently at the antipodes. A little girl who disappears in the green of Liguria and an Alma vigilante, the largest astronomical observatory in the world located in Chile, in the throes of an ambiguous state of existence, to be discovered.

Beniamino Catena on the set of I am Vera

“We immediately sought a co-production with Chile because I wanted to go there at all costs, in the best place to look at the stars: Vera’s dream”, explains Beniamino Catena who, for the role of the vigilante, managed to sign the great Marcelo Alonso, fetish actor of Pablo Larraín. “We shot it with some ease, even if certain conditions weren’t easy: the Alma, for example, is at 5,200 meters and we had to shoot with oxygen and cylinders”, adds Catena who confirms that, for I am Vera, he had absolute freedom both on a creative and productive level, developing a story difficult to place as a genre which, after winning several awards, from the Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival to the Korea Science Fiction Festivalfinally arrives at the cinema, distributed by No.Mad Entertainment.

The effect of these distant and apparently incommunicable places is disorienting for the viewer.
“It is a human journey between two continents, between two distant places not only in terms of kilometers: on one side there is Liguria, blue and green, on the other the ocher desert with infinite horizons of Chile. It was very fascinating, even if I understand that it was difficult to understand, also because we connect two very different characters. As a great lover of quantum physics I tell you that Vera’s story is a bit that of particles, which are always connected even if distant ».

What do you do with the fact that after watching the film, there are more questions than answers?
“That was what I wanted. It was nice, for me, to leave as much space as possible for the viewer to make him decide how to deal with an apparently inexplicable phenomenon. When topics such as death or the supernatural are touched upon, I believe that staging them is almost presumptuous, there is always the risk of falling into bad taste ».

The key is all in balance.
“In I am Vera we move between what happens and what remains out of scope. The viewer is free to interpret, and I find it fantastic ».

When did you shoot it?
“Just before the first lockdown, sleeping. During the quarantine I mounted it, although the more time passed the more I realized how indefinable it was as a genre. With the first prizes, including family drama, sci-fi, and more, I realized that it’s nice that the film remains as elusive as Vera’s character ».

I am Vera

Source: Vanity Fair