His uncle was the renowned movie director Elio Petri whose 1972 film “La Classe Operaia Va In Paradiso” won both the Golden Palm at the Cannes Festival as well as the Donatello David from the Academy of Italian Film. He is Giordano Petri, both a child of the arts and a new television star. But more than anything else he is a passionate actor whose career is really taking off. “Rosso San Valentino” is the Rai Uno show which got 21,9 percent of the prime time market share, outperforming all the competition.
Let’s talk about “Rosso San Valentino” in which you play Marco, a young, ruthless gambler. Did you expect the show to be such a success?
«Well, I really liked the script and found the story fascinating, very appealing to the public. There are many characters and they are all interesting.»
So you have made your mark in Television, but you also had some success in the movies. Which do you prefer, the big screen, the small screen or the theatre?
«My first and unconditional love is acting, and I find theater to be my ideal platform because I love interacting with the audience. I started in the theater and appreciate the challenge of having to impress the audience every single night. With the camera you can bluff, but on a stage it is more of a journey.»
You are Elio Petri’s nephew, the director who won the Silver Bear in Berlin in 1969, and then the Golden Palm and Donatello David in 1972. What are your memories of him?
«Unfortunately I never met him, even though everybody in my family was always talking about him. My uncle Elio was a very curious man, he had lots of interests. He always read a lot and watched a lot of movies. My father was very fond of him and he remembered him with respect. Elio used to say “I am first of all a man, and I try to bring that experience to my screenplay writing. If I filter myself too much I wouldn’t make a movie, but something else”. I try to do like my uncle, and I hope I do it with the same professionalism. If so I may even have the same level of success!»
Your uncle said, “Film is not an elitist medium, it is for everyone. Speaking solely for an intellectual elite is like speaking for nobody. I don’t believe we can start a revolution with movies, but I believe a film can open a dialogue among the masses”. Was he right?
«Current Italian films are not known for their storylines. This doesn’t mean though that we don’t know how to make movies. The more this creative language gets popular, the more it is able to reach a less definable audience. The audience doesn’t determine the quality of a film, but it can determine how efficiently the film fulfills its purpose. This is something Charlie Chaplin understood very well. He used to show his films to children before distributing them to movie theaters. In those days not everyone could afford to go to the movies. It is a real paradox.»
You worked with Benigni, with Monica Guerritore, Lando Buzzanca… who has had the biggest impact on you among the actors and directors you have worked with?
«All of them have left their mark on me. I have some wonderful memories of Benigni. It was so much fun to work with him. Even though on set I could feel the importance of the movie, and was intimidated by all the important people working with him, I always enjoyed the way he used irony and lightness to make everything normal and easy.»
What did you leave in Città di Castello and what did you find in Rome?
«Actually I return home often enough to get reenergized. I have my family here and I have to praise my parents because they weren’t so happy when I gave up my law career… but they encourage me a lot. It has also been nice to be invited to participate in Castello’s popular events, like the Truffle Fair and the Comics Exhibition, and the “Lets Make a Movie” event… but it is true that in Rome I can nurture my dream, even though it is a challenging dream…»
Monica Bellucci and Valentina Lodovini are two actresses who share your Città di Castello roots. Who would you rather act with?
«If it were possible I would love to work with both of them…Valentina is a dear friend. We started together in the same Acting Company: the Valeria Ciangottini’s October, which is a starting point for many young hopefuls. My dream would be to assemble in the same movie or television show all the Umbrian actors, in order to talk about our region. It could be a project involving the Umbria Film Commission, the Region, the Province and the Cutural Assotiations. I have many friends who are from around here: Marco Bocci ‘big brother’ and putative friend, Valentina Lodovini, Laura Chiatti, Filippo Timi, Alessandra Chieli…. it would be a really big hit…»