“Love is not a blackboard that can be erased in time to write a new story on it”

Once again, in The Other Woman, the Roman writer and director examines the chaos of love. In this story of manipulating the age of social networks, he offers his subtle, romantic and political look at the contemporary couple.

In his new novel, The Other Woman, filmmaker and writer Cristina Comencini deals in a personal way with a timeless theme of literature like life: the rivalry between two women for a man. Elena, 25, is in a relationship with Pietro, who is twice his age as well as an ex -wife, Maria, and three children. There is nothing but the very classic, if Mary has not adopted a supposed birth to contact Elena via Facebook and bring her into dialogue, while relying on herself in her painful divorce and the man she is like – Pietro, of course, whose name he is. just changed …

If this skill can be deadly in the relationship between Elena and Pietro, these two women also reveal themselves, and their confidence for the author of Four Loves the opportunity to conduct, through the novel, an investigation into one of his favorite topics: love and family relationships, and what they say about our society today.

In the video, Anais’s lovethe teaser

Miss Figaro. -While the shape of the love triangle is diverted, doesn’t your novel also face the battle of generations?
Cristina Comencini.– Elena and Maria, who have lived with a man of different times and ages, actually belong to two generations. They criticize each other, face each other, look after each other, but also learn from each other. Elena wants to be strong, submissive, showy. Mary has a completely different path; she had children and lived in a period of transition, where the role of women, while evolving, was still very traditional. They also encompass the way in which we construct ourselves in relation to parenting models. We hope we don’t become like those who gave birth to you -Mary and Pietro want to raise their children very differently in the way we raise them -, and how we engage them: Mary recriminates as much as possible in his mother, Elena, who opposed everything his mother did and now, understands him…

“The past is never dead, it is not yet past,” Faulkner wrote. Isn’t that one of the key ideas in the book?
We can’t ignore what is already. Whether we remarry or start a new romantic relationship, we should be able to move on without doing a clean sweep of the past. Love is not a blackboard that can be erased with fun to write a new story. What we experience remains with us, in our flesh and in our spirit; it cannot be denied without weakening the existing relationship. Pietro always wanted to start all over again, while Maria and Elena finally realized it wasn’t possible. And if that slows them down in the beginning, it also gives them a depth that remains unaware of Pietro.

As in Four Loves , you give voice to different characters throughout the novel. What is the purpose?
It is a way of differentiating oneself into different persons. Quite like what happens in our society. Everyone has a very strong individuality, sometimes too much, and loses a sense of community, of the collective. And, at the same time, we look for each other and we try to meet each other… The book is divided between Elena’s story and each other’s talks. It realizes that no one understands, sees and knows everything, just a connection of many selves forming a group.

Monica Bellucci, the Cover Story

You are always called relationship writer. ”Do you agree with this idea?
I am a chronicler of the intimate if the intimate is social, if we assume that it is the dough where society is kneaded. I have always written close to history. Four Loves, for example, a book about the fact that nothing can stop people today, no ideal or no ideology, no great movement … But it is revealed by what happens in private. I speak to society through the center of personal relationships.

Dear French Cousins your letter about coronavirus and lockdown, went viral when it came out release in March 2020… Why did you write this?
Italy used to live a little ahead of what France went through. My partner in French-we had just been together and chose to stay in Italy because the apartments were bigger than in Paris, especially to live in during the incarceration period. He couldn’t tell his family and friends in France what was going on on the other side of the Alps, and I was probably writing in part for this reason. I developed the idea that incarceration and Covid also represent a good private trial. During normal times, it is possible to go out and clear your mind; there, trapped at home, one’s omnipresence is an accelerator that sometimes causes couples to explode in an unusual way. This three-month partnership is equivalent to three years… I want to remind you that society is not just built on trade, work, production. It is also built on our private relationships. The close social and even political.

What do you think of MeToo, you daughter of director Luigi Comencini, who has shot a dozen films and adapted two of your cinema books?
That has to happen. Everything that seems normal to us, like the seductive relationship between the actress and the director or the director, is no longer like that: being a great actress doesn’t give you the right to use your actor’s body manipulatively. way, under the pretext that he is your muse. The girls realized that they didn’t have to play this game to make a career, that one could say it and adopt other behaviors. There are surpluses, but every revolution has surpluses. And then a lot of things come out about what’s going on in the Church or within the family… That’s what I talk about in my novel and my film. The Beast of the Heart. Many people have claimed in the past that it is strange, strange, that sexual predation, rape, incest take place in the countryside, within poor backgrounds… if this is clearly not the case.

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Doesn’t the writing finally put into words what is conveyed in silence?
In fact, I think writing, the account came to me from the need to name what was hidden. All writers do this one way or another, but, like all women who write, I travel with two suitcases: that of men’s culture, which I have been taught in all my studies, in elementary to university, and that’s in the silence of women, mothers, grandmothers, grandparents, all who precede us. Our art has two origins, and we use one by modifying it to tell the other …

The Other Woman, by Cristina Comencini, Stock Editions, 220 p., € 20.50. Translated by Béatrice Robert-Boissier.

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