Nostalgia for an unfamiliar state of being

What happens when the main character of a documentary plays the role of himself, investigating ambitious concepts of reality? Ettore brings us into a claustrophobic game of existential mirrors exploring the boundaries between reality and staging.

  • Andrea Grasselli
    Director
  • Chiara Budano
    Producer
  • Gianluca Ceresoli
    Producer
  • Graziano Chiscuzzu
    Producer
  • Pietro Comini
    Producer
  • Mauro Rodella
    Producer
  • Andrea Grasselli
    Producer
  • Giorgio Affanni
    Producer
  • Andrea Grasselli
    Writer
  • Ettore Giuradei
    Writer
  • Ettore Giuradei
    Key Cast
  • Mauro Rodella
    Editing
  • Maurizio Rinaldi
    Soundtrack
  • Giorgio Affanni
    Assistant Director
  • Alessio Zanardi
    Color Correction
  • Lorenzo Fantetti
    Graphic
  • Andrea Grasselli
    Camera
  • Ettore Giuradei
    Camera
  • Davide Daffini
    Camera
  • Emma Giuradei
    Camera
  • Alice Baini
    Subtitles
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 12 minutes 36 seconds
  • Country of Origin:
    Italy
  • Country of Filming:
    Italy
  • Language:
    Italian
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Torino Film Festival
Director Biography - Andrea Grasselli

(Brescia, Italy; 1986) Author, director and producer. Founders of the OmVideo collective.
Among his latest works, La nostalgia della condizione sconosciuta (2019), Il vortice fuori (2014) and Solenne triduo dei morti (2017).
His research is aimed at experimenting different ways of narrating the complex relationship between individuals and their communities.
He also creates and develops web-series (Zeus!) and web-docs (Babel) and he collaborates with artists, performers and sound artists.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I look at my documentary as a set of heterogeneous and disjointed fragments of life. Moving away from the logic of cause and effect, I wanted to construct the narrative following the emotional
transformations of the protagonist.
Ettore Giuradei is a songwriter born in 1981, someone I had known for years.
Before starting the film, I read Erving Goffman’s book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life; it is a 1956 essay defined as being pre- sociology; Goffman uses the metaphor of theater to investigate the importance of human and social action. What struck me was the clear demonstration that “our” world is shaped by “our” representation of ourselves and vice versa.
At that time, I was looking for an original personality who wanted to play with me through an unusual documentary about self-representation, challenging the existential paradoxes and rules of the classic documentary. When I met Ettore on stage during one of his concerts, I realized that he was the right person for this two-man challenge; I was attracted by his disruptive force on stage and by his personal fragility
in his daily life. I had the ambition to build a film that, through the protagonist, challenged the idea of the documentary itself.
I didn’t know how to undertake this tortuous path; it seemed to me that
I already had the film in mind, but I didn’t know how to start developing it. Therefore, I began to follow him during his concerts and tours, proposing to Ettore that he play in a documentary about him and his music. Ettore accepted, I think more out of curiosity than conviction.
I filmed his concerts, becoming a known and accepted presence, which allowed me to start following him at home during his daily life. While
I was collecting the first shots, I consciously focused on what attracted me, on what I had glimpsed in him.
Months passed before I realized that he was the right person at the
right time. Ettore was going through a crucial period in his personal
and artistic life. For some time he had been meditating on something that no one would have ever expected from him: to stop playing music. Despite his young age, he had been playing for more than twelve years and he had already recorded four albums and performed at thousands of concerts throughout Italy; but for him, it was still not enough. He would have played the last handful of booked concerts and then announced his decision. I was astonished and amazed when he told me.
After a few days, we found ourselves together to understand what to
do with the documentary. We discussed two possibilities: interrupting the film or reshaping it. The latter option was more demanding but
also stimulating. Ettore opened up to me and told me he was looking
for “something else” but he did not know what. It was this kind of complicity that I was looking for. And it was exactly that “something else” he was trying to identify to become the center of the documentary. Goffman’s book resurfaced. In one passage the sociologist suggests: «It may be true that backstage activity often takes the form of a council
of war; but when two teams meet on the field of interaction, it seems
that they generally do not meet for peace or for war. They meet under a temporary truce, a working consensus, in order to get their business done». The road ahead became more clear: the focus of the film would have been the exploration of the need to represent something that is missing and cannot be experienced, as well as the inability to stop that need.
From that moment onward, we started experimenting.
The documentary changed shape: from an observational perspective, the point of view became focused on participation. Ettore began to take possession of the documentary: he became the documentary
about himself.
We have pushed ourselves to the most delicate point in documentary filmmaking: staging. We wanted to represent Ettore’s emotions and moods, having him interpreting himself. Ultimately, we wanted to combine authenticity with creation, giving a coherent feeling to the whole. The documentary acquired an organic structure, gravitating towards a fixed point, the body of Ettore, and a surprising and mysterious element, his mind. By investigating the thin line between the social role and the dramaturgical role, we wanted to discover something more about the self.