Figlia Mia (Daughter of Mine) press conference with Laura Bispuri, Valeria Golino and Alba Rohrwacher
Daughter of Mine tells the story of 11-year-old Vittoria, who is torn between two mothers: her biological one Angelica – a wild, independent woman who gave her away at birth – and Tina – the conservative, overbearing woman who raised her. At the film’s Berlinale press conference, director Laura Bispuri was joined by the two leads – Valeria Golino and Alba Rohrwacher – to discuss the importance of Sardinia as a location, and the notions of motherhood she focuses on in her work.
What role did the location of Sardinia play in the making of the film?
Laura Bispuri: In Sardinia, I discovered a lot about identity, and identity after all is one of the topics that pops up a lot in my works. Usually, I go on a journey which takes two years while writing the script, and I tried to understand this world on a deeper level. So there was a gut instinct, a magnetic attraction to the island, but it also provided a lot of answers to the story I was writing. There’s a very powerful, almost overwhelming landscape. Every time I went it knocked me out, disarmed me. That also echoes the strength of the mothers; we try to create a mise-en-scene that has the camera circling around, not intruding but following these actresses.
There was a great sense of freedom; I tried to maintain that sense of instinct and tried to encourage and foster that in the actresses. When it comes to emotions, all three of the actresses were very involved. I don’t like to have the director put up on the pedestal; I really bare my soul and I want the actors to do the same. So in a sense, we really shed a lot – and worked openly and honestly – and a lot of sincere emotions bubbled up as a result.
How did you prepare for this role, Alba?
Alba Rohrwacher: In a sense, I had an advantage over Valeria because I already blindly trusted Laura, having worked with her before on Sworn Virgin. Even if she asked us to do things that I thought were risky, the way she would look at us with so much love, if she asked us to jump into the void, she would be there to catch us. So I set off knowing that that was the starting point. It was also about meeting Valeria – engaging with her – and I was very happy at the opportunity because I had always wanted to work with her.
How did you join the project, Valeria?
Valeria Golino: I was the last to join the team, in a sense, so slowly but surely I pushed into it. I stuck my elbows out and asserted myself more. She gave me all the space I needed and we were also able to show the worst of ourselves. I admired the freedom to be totally creative when you’re working without having to deal with the formalities was important while acting, to be yourself even if it was a bad day. We knew that we all depended the one upon the other so if she was good and pushed herself, so would I.
What inspired this portrayal of motherhood?
LB: I wanted to have something really archaic and ancestral. There’s King Solomon from the bible, of course: the two mothers fighting over the baby. There’s Brecht as well. There’s something very ancient at the core, but also universal issues that are contemporary as well. I wanted to deconstruct the image of the perfect mother which is so idealized, especially in Italy. I wanted to depict imperfect, inadequate mothers who had a real truth and beauty. The real finale of the film is a rebirth of the two mothers and Vittoria. The final image of Vittoria is really inaugural for the future, a sign of hope for little girls who will become strong emancipated women.
Figlia Mia (Daughter of Mine) does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews and interviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival 2018.