La casa dell’amore

House of Love
Luca Ferri
Italy 2020

22.02.2020 21:30 Eng. subtitles Delphi Filmpalast
23.02.2020 22:00 Eng. subtitles Zoo Palast 2
27.02.2020 19:30 Eng. subtitles Colosseum 1
29.02.2020 19:00 Eng. subtitles CinemaxX 4

77 min. Italian, Portuguese.

Throughout its 77 minutes, the film never once leaves the small Milan apartment of Bianca Dolce Miele, a dark safe space illuminated by the warm light of the occasional candle, with objects arranged with ritualistic intention and a black cat always on the roam. A map of the heavens hangs above the bed, the outside world is accessed via telephone. “I’m always here, any time,” she promises her clients in a deep, throaty voice. “Give me half an hour to put on something sexy for you.” Bianca’s appearances in this film are self-determined and withstand any kind of normative gaze. The punters and friends who come calling each bring their own understanding of Bianca and the role of her profession: one quotes from the Bible, another sings a murder ballad, a third sets up a pristine white table upon her ambiguously gendered body, from which he eats tinned meat. “Tenderness always tells of new things,” is one way to translate the line from Sandro Penna that serves as the film’s motto. For Bianca’s invitation into her world is primarily directed at those who can only tell their stories in that space. (jk)

Luca Ferri was born in Bergamo, Italy in 1976. As an autodidact, he has dedicated himself to writing, photography and filmmaking since 2011. Following numerous documentary films, he completed his feature film debut, Abacuc, in 2015. Ferri’s films are screened in national and international film festivals, museums and art galleries.

A whole small world

The film is the third part of a "domestic" trilogy that comprises three films shot entirely within three domestic environments in three different formats and with three narrative modes.
The trilogy started in 2018 with DULCINEA, a work of pure fiction shot entirely in 16mm colour and characterised by a Milanese setting in which the relationship between two solitudes and their tacit agreement is narrated. The second part of the trilogy continues with PIERINO, a documentary shot in VHS colour that tells the story of an elderly gentleman passionate about cinema inside a strict cinematographic frame. LA CASA DELL’AMORE closes the trilogy and is a film entirely shot in digital format. It tells the story of Bianca, an Italian transsexual who lives in Milan, in the working class neighbourhood of Quarto Oggiaro.
Bianca's house always has half-closed shutters and is lit exclusively by candles because there is no electricity. It always seems to be dusk. Her life takes place mainly in the 20 square metres of her bare living room and the size of the space in which Bianca moves is decisive: a layered environment where time settled objects, books, posters of exhibitions by her sculptor father, and memories that clearly recall her identity and path.
Just as crucial is the continuous use of the telephone: it’s a central object in her life not only for work matters – to manage her ads and answer customer calls – but also to manage the distance that separates her from her partner Natasha. The film narrates a fixed point – Bianca inside her apartment – and how this apparent stillness filters a whole small world inside the house. A world made of habits, encounters, cycles, and unexpected events that mark Bianca’s waiting to reunite with Natasha, her lifelong companion.

Bianca’s spontaneous beauty
It took about a year of work to get to know Bianca before filming began. I first contacted her through an online dating site because I was looking for people who worked at home. I had several possibilities in my mind for the film that was going to close the trilogy, not necessarily a figure related to transsexuality or prostitution. What was crucially important was to find someone whose home was the central hub of all their activities, and this was just one of the possible paths to follow. Bianca gave me access to her life and to all her acquaintances. It has been a slow process, in which I could feel our trust and esteem grow on both sides. I had been very clear with her from the beginning, not promising her anything about the chances the film stood of ever being made. To me, it was essential to figure out if it was possible to try and start working on a project that also required Bianca’s efforts and a willingness to question herself.
Over time, I became ever more convinced that my hesitations to touch such a delicate theme were crumbling thanks to her spontaneity and naturalness, in her offering herself without ever asking what I had decided to do. Only later, once we had gotten to know each other better and the idea of how I wanted to approach the work had taken shape, I introduced her to the troupe. She got along with them immediately.
The work then happened in a very natural way, and even in its most constructed parts, we never had a sense of mystifying anything, but of recording the natural course of events and the spontaneous beauty of someone who allowed us to tiptoe into her life.
I wanted to shoot a photographically balanced film, rigorously composed in every frame with very few, calculated movements that would allow us to delve into Bianca’s life slowly, in a narrative continuity that is fragmented and dissolved in a single fresco.
It is not relevant to investigate her past or even to investigate the character’s psychological aspects and implications. The film renders the protagonist within her domestic habitat in its delicacy and uniqueness, without redemption or guilt. (Luca Ferri)

Production Federico Minetti, Andrea Zanoli, Pietro De Tilla. Production companies Effendemfilm (Rom, Italy), Lab 80 film (Bergamo, Italy). Written and directed by Luca Ferri. Cinematography Andrea Zanoli, Pietro De Tilla. Editing Chiara Tognoli. Sound Duccio Servi. Executive producers Andrea Zanoli, Federico Minetti. With Bianca Dolce Miele (Biance), Natasha De Casto (Natasha), Dario Bacis (Client), Domenico Monetti (Client), Walter Zombie (Walter), Umberto Baccolo (Client), Delfina Unno (Client), Assila Cherfi (Friend).

World Sales Taskovski Films.

Films

2011: Magog (o epifania del barbagianni) (66 min.). 2012: Kaputt / Katastrophe (14 min.), Ecce ubu (60 min.). 2013: Habitat [Piavoli] (61 min.). 2014: Caro nonno / Dear Grandpa (18 min.), Abacuc (83 min.), Ridotto mattioni / Mattioni Reduced (10 min.). 2015: Tottori (6 min.), Cane caro / Dog, Dear (18 min.), Una società di servizi / A Society of Services (30 min.). 2016: Colombi (20 min.). 2017: Ab ovo (24 min.). 2018: Dulcinea (64 min.), Pierino (70 min.).

Photo: © Effendemfilm, Lab 80 film