Private Project

Caravaggio's Last Day

Caravaggio, a renowned 16th-century painter’s life, shatters the moment when he kills a pimp over a prostitute. Now in exile with his beautiful gay muse, Caravaggio abandons his true love in desperation to clear his name and returns to Rome, a choice that turns into a nightmare when he dies tragically on the treacherous race up the coast of Italy.

  • Paolina Weber
    BB Gun; In Real Life Wounds Heal
  • Paolina Weber
    BB Gun, Iron Chef
  • Paolina Clay
    For My People
  • Paolina DaSilva
    Key Cast
    The Equalizer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 23, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Blackmagic Pro 6K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Paolina Weber
Distribution Information
  • Paolina Weber
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Paolina Weber

Paolina Weber is an emerging American and Italian director, writer, and performer who earned her MFA at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Her short film BB Gun, about a boy with learning differences grappling with his father’s onset blindness, had its international premiere at Berlin Shorts and the New York Shorts International Film Festival. Her screenplay Iron Chef, about a crack addict who loses his young son, was a United States Script Competition semifinalist. A graduate of The University Of Chicago, in 2016, Paolina founded X-OUT, LLC, to tell stories of nonconformists. A former prestigious Independent Study Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art, she ties in art in her current limited series about the larger-than-life convicted murderer and the Renaissance pansexual artist Caravaggio, who died tragically.

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Director Statement

I was gripped by the story of the Renaissance character who is a non conformist, because my hope as an artist is to disrupt the canon of honoring European male figures. My aim was to uncover the psychological impact of mysogyny and entitlement on one of their own, giving life to their own internalized homophobia and self destruction. So in my short, Caravaggio’s Last Day, I used every opportunity to reach the audience’s emotions. To me that meant creating a visual poem, both in form and narrative. My goal was to capture Caravaggio’s sensuality with intimate framing, as well as recreating some of his paintings, so the viewer could see his talent for themselves. Then, to reveal the tragic final days of his life, July 16, 1610, when he raced seventy two miles on foot to save his life, I engulfed him in his surroundings. To make the viewer feel they were racing with him, I used perspective. So we could trace his stress, as he runs towards us, closer and closer in the frame. Then in the forests, I chose ultra wide lenses, to feel his world closing in, and soft focus in his POV's, to feel his disorientation. Then I lit the moment when his heart breaks, with chiaroscuro lighting, like his paintings, lighting his outlines, as he emerged in dark shadows, with different tones of black. Then, when he finally arrives at the beach and has this moment of transcendence I used a camera movement like tilting up and going handheld, when the angel lifts up his soul. For transitions, I shot them through a bucket I built myself, with a clear bottom, to shoot through murky, vibrant pigment, as if we are painting Caravaggio's life ourselves, a life that imitated art, in its purity and decay .
My challenge was that we weren’t filming in Italy, so as a crew, we discovered hidden treasures around New York, for example, using the basement in a house where George Washington retreated to, after losing the Battle Of Brooklyn! Or a decommissioned fortress from the war of 1812! As a small team, we were all very committed to honor the tragedy of another queer person dying before their time. We were fortunate to work with Italian talent, which gave credibility to the character of Caravaggio. Ultimately my goal is to bring Caravaggio's story to a contemporary ethos. Caravaggio can teach us that painting was the way Caravaggio rebelled against Religious Imperialism, and that a great artist, like Caravaggio, paid for his honesty with his life.