Those words come from a woman who dedicated her life to finding and exposing the truth, no matter how ugly it was. She defined the expression, "getting to the heart of the matter". She didn't give a second thought to risking her life in order to bring humanitarian stories to the front pages of newspapers all over the world. Oriana Fallaci, the journalist, was a respected professional that fought passionately for gender equality and human rights by going directly into the line of fire and confronting the sources. Now, filmmaker Marco Turco shows us the human being behind this iconic journalist in his television film that recently made its North American premiere at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival in Toronto.
"L'Oriana" is a thought-provoking portrait of one of Italy's most famed and controversial journalists. I discovered the work of Fallaci upon the publication of her final book, "The Rage and the Pride", which she wrote in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. The book is a confirmation of the themes carried throughout her career and further explores her beliefs and fury on Islamic terrorism, Jihad and the lack of reaction from the Western world. At the time of her death in 2006, she was facing charges of slandering Islam under Italian law following the publication of that book. I remember watching Paolo Virzì's film, "Caterina va in città" during the Open Roads film series at Lincoln Center that year when Margherita Buy's character made a reference to her. Then just a few months later, she was gone. But her legacy lives on in her novels and iconic interviews with numerous international pillars of pop culture and politics including Ayatollah Khomeini, Henry Kissinger, Anna Magnani and Antonio De Curtis (Totò) just to name a few.
During the entire span of her career, Fallaci received both praise and criticism, so it's no surprise that Turco's film garnered the same reactions. As an American watching, I definitely had a different perspective than Italians. So, I really had no criticism of the movie. In fact, I loved it. I laughed, I cried, I felt empathy and sadness. She had a hard life. She was in love a couple times, she had a miscarriage, she was always traveling, and ultimately she died alone. However, she lived a life full of passion and rich experiences. She felt that her career was her child and she never really got over the one love of her life, Georgios Papadopoulos, the subject of her novel, "Un Uomo". Turco's film shows her professional side just as much as her human side, and I really appreciate this quality. The screenplay was co-written by two of the best television writers working in Italy today- Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli. So, you really can't go wrong with a team like that.
I spoke with director, Marco Turco over the phone while he was in Toronto presenting the film. He explained to me the most important aspect of Fallaci's character that he really wanted to capture with this film was her enormous passion for life. Much of his research included interviews with Fallaci's colleagues and friends. Then when casting an actress to portray Fallaci, he turned to Vittoria Puccini. The two had already worked on two films together, so she was his natural choice for the role.
|Journalist, Maria Ilenia Crifò Ceraolo|
Ho letto molte critiche negative su “L’Oriana”
di Marco Turco, tuttavia io non sono completamente d’accordo in merito. Sicuramente diversi aspetti della figura di Oriana Fallaci e della sua vita non sono stati sviluppati a sufficienza o sono stati romanzati, ma ricordiamoci che si tratta pur sempre di una “fiction” e, come suggerisce il termine stesso, quindi non si tratta di realtà. Inoltre, credo che ci siano delle esigenze cinematografiche che non consentano di essere del tutto fedeli al ‘vero storico’. Ad ogni modo, il film di Marco Turco mi ha permesso di aggiungere dei tasselli nel mio personale percorso di conoscenza della Fallaci.
In this time of social media and selfies, do you feel that people tend to write the truth, or in many cases, journalists and bloggers just want to be accepted, so they'll get followers and retweets, sacrificing their true feelings and opinions for the sole purpose of gaining popularity?
This is a sore point. I think there's a good chunk of people riding the wave of popularity and therefore often, especially on social media, write what they think will please the public and will gain more popularity. However, in the midst are genuine voices. We just have to make more of an effort to find them. I think anyone who wants to be a journalist should know Oriana Fallaci’s work, not necessarily to love it, but to understand how much time, commitment and sacrifice it takes to become a true professional and how always being honest, even at the risk of sounding conflictive, can go a long way.
|A scene from "L'Oriana"|
Credo che sia un ottimo consiglio. Oltre a svolgere il praticantato da giornalista, io sono anche una scrittrice e spesso scrivo per la necessità di tirare fuori qualcosa che ho dentro e che non riesco ad esprimere a voce. Mi rendo conto quindi di quanto a volte non sia facile confrontarsi con la verità, ma di quanto tuttavia scrivere il vero serva molto sia a livello personale che a livello professionale.
Oriana Fallaci had lots of innate qualities. Her insight, tenacity and great intelligence are a few that immediately come to mind. Her legacy will be the example that she made in facing life’s challenges without surrendering, without being influenced, and trying to make society understand that we must see a woman’s potential rather than her weaknesses. Her legacy will also be in her encouragement to follow our instincts and to believe in ourselves.
Secondo lei, quali sono le qualità innate di Oriana Fallaci e mettendo da parte ciò, qual è la sua eredità?
Oriana Fallaci possedeva tantissime qualità innate: la perspicacia, la tenacia ed una grande intelligenza, fra quelle che mi vengono subito a mente. La sua eredità dovrebbe risiedere nell’esempio che ci ha dato affrontando le sfide sia lavorative che della vita senza arrendersi e senza lasciarsi condizionare, cercando di far comprendere alla società che bisogna considerare l’essere donna una potenzialità e non una debolezza ed insegnandoci inoltre a seguire il nostro istinto ed a fidarci sempre di noi stessi.
Nearly a decade after her death, Oriana Fallaci's work is as relevant as ever. There are countless video clips, photos, articles and quotes on the internet. Her books are also easily available. Check back here for news on the international distribution of "L'Oriana".