Respiro : Director's Statement

From The Director

After nine years, in New York and the struggle of making my first film, I dreamed of being isolated for a bit of time. That's how I found Lampedusa, a small Italian island southwest of Sicily. I had the desire to photograph this arid, dusty island, devastated by cement buildings illegally begun but never completed. I didn't want to emphasize the beauty of the natural landscape. The colors of the film are primary colors. They are the colors of the fishermen's boats. Blue, yellow, red. Unsaturated, faded by the sun, somewhat covered with dust. The sea contrasts the devastated countryside of Lampedusa. The sea is an inexhaustible reservoir of life and prosperity. Its moods beat the rhythm of time on the island. The sea is the only untamable lord and master. I tried to capture the relationship of the characters to the water. Especially for Grazia, the sea is a place of peace and relief. I didn't want to make a realist or naturalist film. I wanted to maintain a fable or legend-like tone. I wasn't interested in faithfully reproducing a social document on the island. I also wasn't interested in exploiting the folklore of a postcard-like Italian Island. I wanted a magical realism. Reality alternating with a dimension of fantasy. The use of dialogue is contained. The characters have gestures and expressions that reflect their down-to-earth nature, thoughts and intentions.

Author : Sony Pictures Classics