Funeralopolis, a suburban portrait by director Alessandro Redaelli

Maybe it’s a bit early to say what lead me undertake this path that I’m still covering and that I’d like to continue. But, if I have to guess, I’d say that I chose this career because of the movies I saw.

As many of the people that chose to undertake my same path, I was deeply influenced by stories and by those who tell them. There was a time in my adolescence in which I was constantly unhappy, like any teenager that poses some questions. Thanks to the cinema I understood that there were answers. I didn’t find them yet, but I know there are.
It’s almost a matter of faith, maybe also superficial and imposed by naivety, but at least it’s something that pushes you to put everything in what you do: body, mind and soul.

There are four films that deeply influenced by life and that gradually pushed me to accomplish the step from viewer to narrator.
The first one is sure “Reservoir Dogs” by Quentin Tarantino. It’s almost ordinary, but most of my generation started to get interested in cinema thanks to Tarantino, because he is one of the most complete authors of the last twenty years, one of the few that was able to get to the viewers thanks to the thickness and the variety of his own influences. At 13/14 he was my favourite director without any doubt.

Then authorial cinema came and Federico Fellini was the one that brought me to pose real questions about cinema and life. Among all, “8 ½” is still my favourite.
A few years later, when I was 17, I decided to call myself into question and I realised the short film “Tortoise”.

The movies that pushed me to start this career where “Hiroshima Mon Amour”, “The bitter tears of Petra Von Kant”. Something happened there, I can’t explain what, but that was the last passage that made me sure. In this sense, I believe I want to do movies because I feel in debt in its regards.

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How did this project begin? How did you get in touch with Vash and Felce and what interested you the most about their story?

I met Vash when I was 14 because we lived in the same neighbourhood. I even asked him once to be part of the cast of a “full-length film” I shot when I was 15, then I lost him during the years.
I met Felce instead after. I realised his first official video clip, “Mc Contraerea”. We decided to catch up for a beer when Vash came back from Rome after he stayed there for a long period, so we used this meeting for a chat altogether. It was a period in which I was getting passionate about osbervation documentary and they wanted a video for their next concert. So, after deepening their life, I spontaneously put two and two together and I offered to shoot a movie about them, without knowing exactly what would have happened.
They were very available and aware of how much I would have entered their lives, but they said yes, maybe wishing in something a bit more self-celebratory.

So in 2015, I started to follow them everywhere, most of the time alone and sometimes with two colleagues from University, Simone Poggesi and Alberto Danelli.
It was the period in which they started to do heroin, so I focused a lot on that aspect. But that’s not the only element of the movie, and “Funeralopolis” it’s not a movie on the effects and causes of doing drugs.

After almost a year of shooting, we started editing all the material and I understood that it was beginning to look like a movie, a story that had a clear start and its evolution.

I shot another year to find a closure, and when I found it, it felt pretty clear and I threw myself headlong in the editing that was the toughest part.
Fortunately, I worked with my friends and usual partners, Ruggero Melis and Daniele Fagone. They worked with me to create a narration starting from thousands of hours of shooting.

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What difficulties did you find during the creation of this project? What did you want to express and tell by making it? And why did you choose to use black and white?

One of the most complex aspects was, as I said, to create a coherent narration starting from that load of hours of material. We did endless attempts and cuts, one of the first we did was about 6 hours but still, I find it the most exhaustive of the protagonists’ lives.
Obviously, a movie can’t last 6 hours and I’m not Lav Diaz, so we worked a lot to make it enjoyable

Another difficult aspect of managing was finding a production house that could help us with the costs. It’s a self-produced movie and I needed someone to help me.
Luckily thanks to Daniele Fagone, I got in contact with K48 that immediately supported the project with enthusiasm.

This movie is simply a story of two friends living in the Milanese suburbs that make an analogous path till they divide themselves to find their personal path, with everything that comes from it.
I didn’t want to make a film of condemnation because a well-done movie becomes a social and/or political one when analysed in detail. I didn’t want to shout to the viewers my ideas in order to convince them.
Those who have an idea about a certain argument will never change it because you’re telling them to. They will rather arrive by themselves to a personal analysis.

Black and white respects this choice, I wanted to align all the frames so that everything would have had the same weight. Also, the use of colour in a context like this where the viewers are almost rushed by a reality that they probably didn’t know, would be distracting.

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On June 14th you are going to screen in preview “Funeralopolis” at Biografilm Festival. What are you going to expect from this opportunity? And what’s your final purpose for this project?

I just hope that the movie will be understood by the majority of the viewers. Unfortunately, I was able to verify that not everyone agrees with my point of view on the language.

Many people want to be taken by hand while somebody tells them a story.
Some people that have seen the movie accused it because it doesn’t take a stand and it doesn’t judge the characters’ decisions.
In the same moment where a camera exists, reality is filtered by the eye of the camera operator. During an action, he/she focuses on the most important things: frequently, it’s not the character that is speaking the one framed but the reaction of someone else to this speech.

I don’t think it’s a movie that doesn’t take a stand, but a movie that tries to get the viewers think beginning from what they already believe.
In any case, I owe much to Biografilm Festival to accept the preview; it’s a bet also for them.
I don’t know what will happen after, I hope it will be distributed worldwide and I’d like to start something new.

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Where do you imagine yourself and your career in five years?

I’d like to dedicate to fiction. After many anthological films and short films internationally distributed, I feel ready to start a full-length film. I just need someone to give me a chance.
I hope that “Funeralopolis” will give me the final push to pass to a more structured industry because in any case, I’ll keep shooting films. As I said, I’m in debt!

Time to read
7 min
Words by
Francesca Pavoni
Published on
10 June 2017
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