“I started from the character and not from the plot, and let her be herself”: Carolina Cavalli on Amanda
Amanda is the quirky, off-beat tragicomedy from Italian actor-turned-writer-director Carolina Cavalli that follows the idiosyncratic titular character (played by Benedetta Porcaroli) as she tries and fails to make friends and fit in after moving back to her family’s home in Italy, following a stint spent in Paris. Killing time aimlessly, clashing with her sister or loitering outside of raves, she perks up when she learns she used to be friends with a now agoraphobic Rebecca (Galatéa Bellugi) when she was younger – and seeks out their lost friendship.
At first glance, one might pigeonhole this as a summery coming-of-age title, but, like its protagonist, it sits slightly outside the conventions that neatly define such a film. For one, Amanda is into her 20s – ostensibly an age where one has a stronger sense of who and what they are; then there’s the eccentricity of the character and the lens through which she sees the world, which can be awkward and jarring yet equally endearing and charming. She’s clearly from a wealthy family, so we don’t feel sorry for her as such, or feel the stakes are so high in the vignettes of scenarios she finds herself in – but who can’t empathise a little with the small joy in collecting enough supermarket tokens to get a free fan? Beneath the often absurd surreality of her story, there’s also a poignant point made about loneliness and the existential crises we can all experience, meanwhile celebrating the liberation of refusing to adapt fully to the world around us, but instead maintaining our childlike instincts.
The Upcoming heard from Cavalli about what sparked the idea for her character and story, how she approached working with Porcaroli to elicit such a phenomenal performance, and what the film might have to say about loneliness and finding one’s place.
Amanda is released in select cinemas on Curzon Home Cinema on 2nd June 2023. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for Amanda here: