The Heroine’s Journey of Cristiana Paternò

What is the best thing that I love about my work? Writing. Watching movies and then writing. Meeting people and then writing. Trying to catch the very essence of a work or a person in my own words. 

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Living the present moment with my whole spirit and body. Singing in a choir.

What is my greatest fear? Every severe illness and especially the inability to understand and communicate, like in Alzheimer.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? A subtle tendency to misanthropy and laziness that is in contradiction with my sweet and energetic nature.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? I admire all reporters in war zone and people who put their life at risk for the truth’s sake as the reporters who deal with the mafia and organized crime. If I should mention one single person: Tiziano Terzani, journalist and writer.

What is my greatest extravagance? A certain degree of snobbery in dress code and attitude. And the tendency to collect old objects and pictures, a tendency which I boldly try to combat. Otherwise my house is candidate to become a museum.

On what occasion would I lie? To avoid the suffering of the people I love and to protect them. Otherwise, in general, I’m quite transparent.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? The lack of time to understand and think about.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? I was very happy at the beginning of my career, when every story I told was new and exciting. And I am very happy now, with the total mastery of my work.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would like to be physically stronger and less shy.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I gave my contribution, as editor, to the creation of two websites devoted to cinema: Cinemazip and Tamtamcinema. We began in 2000, at the dawn of the internet in Italy. The first project, Cinemazip, had a short life due to financing problems, the second project, Tamtamcinema, had a huge success, won the Domenico Meccoli Prize in 2001 and in few years a big company, Cinecittà Holding, decided to acquire it and became the publisher. We are still working under the umbrella of Luce Cinecittà, the company which took the place of Cinecittà Holding in italian public cinema. I’m also proud of creating a network of young people and teaching them journalism and film critic. In 2012 we also started a new magazine 8 ½ – in the two versions, web and printed – which has the ambition of speaking about cinema in a new way, dealing with industrial and political aspects with theoretical approach. I’m the deputy editor of it, the editor is the film critic and professor Gianni Canova.

Where would I most like to live? Six months in the seaside, in an island in Mediterranean Sea, and six months in a big town like Rome, London or Berlin, which is my favourite.

What is my most treasured possession? My sensitivity and the comprehension of other human beings. And all the papers I collect: my writings, the letters I received, the letters of my mother and my father, who passed away, my diaries.

What is my most marked characteristic? Empathy and understanding.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? My neighborhood, Montesacro, a location where I can feel the old spirit of Rome, which is in large part lost: openness and solidarity. The other location is Cinecittà, where I work every day: walking there is walking through the history of italian and international cinema under the quiet trees in the middle of the most chaotic place in Rome, Via Tuscolana. 

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Ops! a vegan restaurant in Via Bergamo 56, where I can eat what I want without feeling bad, because I’m allergic to lactose.

What books influenced my life and how? My inner self is totally made by books, I spent my childhood reading and writing. But the most important is A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf: “Intellectual freedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends upon intellectual freedom”. I understood, as a young girl, that independence was the main thing, especially for a woman.

Who are my favorite writers? Virginia Woolf, Elsa Morante, Gianna Manzini, Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Mozart, Don Giovanni, Dalla sua pace la mia dipende. And, obvious choice for a reformed like me: Amazing Grace.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Ada McGrath in The Piano by Jane Campion, the fight of a woman to gain her creativity.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My mother and all the women who combat gender violence and gain independence.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Roma città aperta (Rome, open city) by Roberto Rossellini. To understand the Resistenza against Nazism and the strenght of spiritual opposition. 

What role plays art in my life and work? A huge role. Art, in every form, is the nutrition of my soul. Together with religion and spirituality.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Guglielmo, my partner.  And Elena, a very good friend of mine.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? The same group as always, with the addition of one or two young people.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017? People from abroad to find new inspiration. Last march I was in the international jury in Tétouan Film Festival in Morocco: it was an amazing experience.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on?  I’m thinking about writing a book, an essay.  

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? On my websites, at the Venice Film Festival, in Cinecittà.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? I hope to be passionate, in life and work, until the last day of my life.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Matilde Passa (journalist and writer), Eleonora Mazzone (actress and writer), Elena Costa (screenwriter, filmmaker and writer), Ilaria Ravarino (journalist) (you can find them on facebook, amongst my friends)

How can you contact me?

My websites:

Some Articles of mine published in collected papers:

“Esordi italiani. Gli anni Dieci al cinema (2010-2015), a cura di Pedro Armocida, Marsilio, 2015”

“Nanni Moretti. Lo sguardo morale, a cura di Vito Zagarrio, Marsilio, 2012”

Istantanee sul cinema italiano. Film, volti, idee del nuovo millennio

La meglio gioventù. Nuovo cinema italiano 2000-2006

Movimenti di felicità. Storie, strutture e figure del desiderio




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