Carolina Pavone, a director in the wake of Nanni Moretti

Carolina Pavone, a director in the wake of Nanni Moretti


It’s a cliché that sticks to the director’s beard, like chewing gum to a tire: Nanni Moretti likes to meander through the streets of Rome on a Vespa. His protégé, Carolina Pavone, travels there in a Smart. Apart from her small size, the filmmaker hardly resembles the Mercedes city car, who has become, in recent years, the symbol of a certain Roman state of mind, all indolence and trickery. At 29, the Italian has energy to spare – and frankness too. Quite the opposite of his vehicle, which sneakily broke down the evening of our meeting, in a trattoria in the Trastevere district.

“It will start again eventually!” » reassures the director, devouring the spiciest of cold cuts available to her, to honor her Calabrian origins. In mid-December 2023, Carolina Pavone arrives from the editing room where she is finalizing her first feature film, Quasi a casa (“Almost at home”), co-produced by Nanni Moretti. The film tells the story of the meeting between a beginner musician, Caterina, played by Maria Chiara Arrighini, and her idol, Mia, played by Lou Doillon. “It’s a game of mirrors between a singer who is trying to find a place for herself and another who is worried about disappearing from the radar ,” summarizes Carolina Pavone. The question of age particularly torments, I believe, women artists. »

She remembers the surprise of her French actress at the joyful noise that reigned on the shoot, in the fall, between Rome and two seaside resorts in Lazio, Fregene and Santa Marinella. “Lou didn’t expect me to scream so much, with my chick physique… In France, it seems that filming is a little less chaotic. »

Accompanied driving

When it comes to hustle and bustle, the young filmmaker was at a good school, having been Nanni Moretti’s assistant on Mia madre (2015) and Tre piani (2021), before playing her daughter in Vers un futur radiée (Towards a radiant future (2021) . 2023), while contributing to the animation of its Roman cinema, the Nuovo Sacher. A sort of accompanied driving, in short: “Nanni was present before, during and after filming, but he left Carolina a lot of autonomy ,” rewinds Maria Chiara Arrighini. A bit like a father with his daughter. »

Moreover, it was in her parents’ living room, while switching to the family television, that Carolina Pavone discovered Moretti’s cinema – and cinema in general. “I was around fifteen years old, I came across Bianca [1984] , a real shock. I watched all of Nanni’s films, then those he talked about, before forming my own tastes…” This coincidence soon led to another: “One day, the daily La Repubblica announced a Diving Helmet concert , the rock band I was the drummer for. A little further down, we learned in an article that Nanni Moretti was looking for an actress for his next film… I went for it. » In the absence of the role, Carolina Pavone, with the nerve, landed the position of assistant director. “On the set of Mia madre , I immediately felt that the cinema would, one day, be my home. » At the same time, she passed the competition for the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, the most prestigious Italian film school. She left, however, without a diploma: “To complete my course, I had to make a short film, at the very time when Nanni offered me to assist him on Tre piani… It was either one or the other ! »

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