Inspired by a story related to him by an acquaintance, Marco Danieli’s Worldly Girl is a rare account of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Italy. Besides winning Best New Director at the Davide di Donatello Awards, Danieli won the Venice Film Festival’s Brian Award, established by the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics and named in homage to the Monty Python film, Life of Brian. Sensitively executed, Worldly Girl deftly and astonishingly portrays the devastating realities of class and religious oppression.
Afforded a lengthy interview with the director in the buzzing press room of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at Lincoln Center, Danieli and I talked about creating a film from an atheist perspective - something with which I – atheist since the age of five – am familiar, having approached my first short, A pena do pana (The Cost of Bread) partially through that lens. What Danieli reveals about atheism and this way of looking at the world might provide some insight to those unfamiliar with secularism and I am glad to be able to share this aspect of our conversation, in which Danieli also touches upon the recent spike in trend of religion-themed films.
Always refreshing to hear a man, particularly, speak frankly and thoughtfully about sexism, Danieli discusses how his film is more powerful with a female protagonist – to effectively portray the clear male chauvinism within the religious environment he explores in Worldly Girl, as well as in our greater society.
Among other themes viewers will discover while watching the video, these two: critical thinking and consciousness of the woman question, are central to this interview, in which Danieli also describes in detail the particulars he discovered during his research of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the film and how the film resounded around the world, in diverse communities.
Special thanks to Italian Cinema Today; Sally Fischer/Sally Fischer Public Relations; the Film Society of Lincoln Center; Carla Cattani, Griselda Guerrasio, and Monique Catalino/Istituto Luce Cinecittà; Italian Trade Commission; Italian Cultural Institute New York; Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò—NYU; Antonio Monda; Il Gattopardo at Cafè des Artistes; Catalina Santamaria.
For more info about Lucia Grillo and her films, go to www.CalabrisellaFilms.com.