The incredible story of the Isle of Roses, a film as bold as the story it tells

The incredible story of the Isle of Roses, a film as bold as the story it tells

In the 1960s, Giorgio Rosa attempted to found an independent state on an artificial platform. A dream that only an ambitious director and a large production could reconstruct almost entirely to tell it

Sydney Sibilia has a much larger and broader idea of ​​comedy than we have been used to from Italian cinema. Plus he's an avid Wikipedia consumer. And in those nocturnal tours he discovers the story of Giorgio Rosa and when he founded his own state. It is a little-known and little-told fact of our story, that while he was working on I stop when I want it begins to tickle his curiosity and soon becomes his next project. The story seems to be made especially for him, for his idea of ​​cinema: there is an exceptional personality because of the knowledge he has and which he cannot concretely apply, there is a task to be accomplished and there are unexpected comedy outcomes and hilarious. In addition there is also a villain of all respect, from true American cinema: the Italian state of the 60s, the second Leone government, full Christian Democracy.

History seems to adapt itself, Sibilia also makes in time to meet the real Giorgio Rosa (who died in 2017) and discover that he has not kept any plans and projects, so for the reconstruction he will have to rely on photos and stories. Thus the production machine is set in motion. The first screenplay, written with Francesca Manieri, and at the same time the plans for how to film a platform in the middle of international waters. The project is expensive, of course, and at some point Netflix gets involved. But not Netflix Italy (which did not yet exist), it is Netflix America that wants to enter production by buying the exploitation rights.

The set of The Incredible Story of the Isle of Roses with the platform partially built for the first scenes of the film And just as one of its characters Sibilia gives birth to the ambitious plan to film the story of a man who built a platform in the middle of the sea, building an equal, life-sized platform. The idea is already very far from the standards of Italian cinema. Implementation is even worse. To do it they go to Malta, to the largest filming pool in Europe. It is a very large, closed basin of water, which has the sea as its natural background (so there is very little retouching to do). Inside they build the platform and put the 1960s boats. All around it is equipped for filming and there are large winches on the side that push the water to create waves and rough seas (useful in a storm scene).

So everything in the film you see happening on the platform is actually shot on a platform built from scratch and accepted for the film. Then filming in the Aosta Valley for the scenes in Strasbourg, in Rome for the parts in which the members of the government are involved and in Bologna. The rest is computer graphics. But the impressive thing is how a certain identity has been created in the production between what is told and how it is told. That is, the fact that the story of a strange enterprise is staged almost by remaking it, accomplishing what is still an anomalous enterprise for Italian cinema. The story of a person who thought big is staged thinking big and thus finding favor with an international distributor such as Netflix.

Sydney Sibilia on the platform during filming, with a blue screen behind It is not difficult guess what Netflix has seen in this story so local, so Italian: a universal clash that in its basic form speaks to everyone and in its most sophisticated form tells an extremely specific reality (ours) closely. In fact, in the true story of Giorgio Rosa, the summer of '68 intersects with the desire of a person to be able to give free rein to their desire to build and do everything by themselves, even a state, marries the spirit of their time , finding an unexpected success, and then clashes with the custom of its time, with the government and the demands that came from all over to quash and limit this thirst for freedom.

Also thanks to the entry of Netflix clearly the budget was able to grow in line with the ambitions. The incredible story of the Isle of Roses is not only a big film, although it starts out as a small comedy, but it manages to have a not small cast. First of all, he metaphorically contrasts (putting them on opposite sides of the barricade) a generation of Italian cinema, the one ranging from Elio Germano to the much younger Matilda De Angelis, to another, that of Luca Zingaretti and Fabrizio Bentivoglio. In addition, for foreign roles, actors such as Fran├žois Cluzet (protagonist of Almost friends) and Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H’ghar of Game of Thrones) can be afforded, another detail not taken for granted for an Italian comedy.

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