THE HOUSE OF LOVE
Director: Luca Ferri
With: Bianca Dolce Miele
Dop: Andrea Zanoli, Pietro De Tilla
Editing Chiara Tognoli
Produzione: Andrea Zanoli per Lab 80 film, Federico Minetti per Effendem film,
In association with:
Pietro De Tilla per Enece film, Antonio Magliano per Prima Luce, Riccardo Annoni per Start
Festival: Berlinale Forum 2020
Bianca is a 39-year-old transsexual woman. She’s been living in Milan since 2009 and works as a prostitute.
For twenty years, she has been involved with Natasha, a Japanese trans who is temporarily living in Brazil. Their bond is very strong and distance has not weakened it.
The film is about their love story, made up of long phone calls and even longer waits. Because of reasons related to work and family, they have not seen each other for two years.
Bianca’s time without Natasha is marked by her clients, mostly regular ones, and by their requests.
Over time, she has grown fond of them, but she always thinks about Natasha, who is finally coming back.
The film is the third part of a "domestic" trilogy that comprises three films shot entirely within three domestic environments in three different formats and with three narrative modes.
The trilogy started in 2018 with Dulcinea, a work of pure fiction shot entirely in 16 mm colour and characterized by a Milanese setting in which the relationship between two solitudes and their tacit agreement is narrated.
The second part of the trilogy continues with Pierino, a documentary shot in VHS color that tells the story of an elderly gentleman passionate about cinema inside a strict cinematographic frame.
La casa dell’amore (The House of Love), closes the trilogy and is a film entirely shot in digital format.
It tells the story of Bianca, an Italian transsexual who lives in Milan, in the working-class neighbourhood of Quarto Oggiaro.
Bianca's house always has half-closed shutters and is lit exclusively by candles because there is no electricity. It always seems to be at dusk.
Her life takes place mainly in the 20 square metres of her bare living room and the size of the space in which Bianca moves is decisive: a layered environment where time settled objects, books, posters of exhibitions by her sculptor father, and memories that clearly recall her identity and path.
Just as crucial is the continuous use of the telephone: it’s a central object in her life not only for work matters - to manage her ads and answer customer calls - but also to manage the distance that separates her from her partner Natasha.
The film narrates a fixed point - Bianca inside her apartment - and how this apparent stillness filters a whole small world inside the house. A world made of habits, encounters, cycles and unexpected events, that mark Bianca’s waiting to reunite with Natasha, her lifelong companion.
It took about a year of work to get to know Bianca before filming began. I first contacted her through an online dating site because I was looking for people who worked at home. I had several possibilities in my mind for the film that was going to close the trilogy, not necessarily a figure related to transsexuality or prostitution. What was crucially important was to find someone whose home was the central hub of all their activities, and this was just one of the possible paths to follow.
Bianca gave me access to her life and to all her acquaintances. It has been a slow process, in which I could feel our trust and esteem grow on both sides.
I had been very clear with her from the beginning, not promising her anything about the chances the film stood of ever being made. To me, it was essential to figure out if it was possible to try and start working on a project that also required Bianca’s efforts and a willingness to question herself.
Over time, I became ever more convinced that my hesitations to touch such a delicate theme were crumbling thanks to her spontaneity and naturalness, in her offering herself without ever asking what I had decided to do.
Only later, once we had gotten to know each other better and the idea of how I wanted to approach the work had taken shape, I introduced her to the troupe. She got along with them immediately,
The work then happened in a very natural way, and even in its most constructed parts, we never had a sense of mystifying anything, but of recording the natural course of events and the spontaneous beauty of someone who allowed us to tiptoe into her life.
I wanted to shoot a photographically balanced film, rigorously composed in every frame with very few, calculated movements that would allow us to delve into Bianca’s life slowly, in a narrative continuity that is fragmented and dissolved in a single fresco.
It is not relevant to investigate her past or even to investigate the character’s psychological aspects and implications.
The film renders the protagonist within her domestic habitat in its delicacy and uniqueness, without redemption or guilt.
About the director(s)
Luca Ferri (Bergamo, Italy, 1976), self-taught, since 2011 he has been dedicating to the writing, photography and direction of films presented to Italian and international festivals, such as Pesaro Film Fest, Filmmaker, Indielisboa, Documenta Madrid, Atlanta Film Festival, Punto de Vista, Curta Cinema, Fidocs, Ghent Flanders, Poff, Vilnius Short Film Festival and Videoex and in museums and art galleries, such as Spazio Forma Meravigli (Milan), Mambo (Bologna), Macro (Rome) and Schusev State Museum of Architecture (Moscow). In 2013 the National Film Library of Rome organizes a restrospetictive of his works. His first feature film Abacuc, released in 2015, was presented at Torino Film Festival and Mar del Plata Festival de Cine. The film Colombi was presented at 73rd Venice Festival in the Orizzonti section. In 2018 his work Dulcinea is selected at 71st Locarno Film Festival in competition in the section ‘Signs of life’ and his last work Pierino is presented at 61st DOK Leipzig.