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Love Letter to Roberto Rossellini



Roberto Rossellini




November 12, 2012



Caro Maestro,


Come stai?


Sorry I haven’t written in a while.  15 years?  20?  One works and plays, and digresses and lingers, and … time passes.  You are still my Greatest Love, however.  Bresson was a genius and Godard a radical, but you gave me the key to approaching cinema in a more open, mysterious and tender way.  You gave me the strength to make any film I wanted to.  You moved through cinema and its genres, and out the other side, to its rejection.  And out again, to its acceptance.  That in itself taught me something.  But your films were the greatest teacher, how they searched without finding, how they looked with inquisitive eyes, how they danced in the strangest ways.  Convention?  You taught me that true cinema has nothing to do with convention.  Appeal?  You taught me that true cinema is not “appealing”.  You taught me a lot … a lot …


Maestro, I must confess.  In recent times you are far from my thoughts.  I work without you.  But maybe you taught me that too.  At the turn of the millennium, Europa ’51 was only a memory for me.  The Children of the Revolution banged their drums: Garrel, Kiarostami, Wong, Denis.  And now, I have undergone my own Viaggio in Italia e Grecia.  Is this only a superficial movement, though?  No, I am Greek, of Socrates and his visions.  I wonder what you make of Australia, its barrenness and freshness.  Please, tell me.


Maestro, the world changes, and the more it changes, the more it stays the same.  Wars and reconstructions, lies and optimism, fascism and love, greed and regeneration.  Europa ’12 is a volcano about to explode, and the tears will run down our face.  Will it be Greece Year Zero soon?  Will we be able to fight the powers that be?  Can we learn, adjust, grow?  What do you think?


I still love you.  I always will.  I’ll never forget the day I met you, how I didn’t think much of you at first, and how you then surprised me.  I looked at Ingrid looking at the world, and I was transported to another sphere: the world still, but the world “with a view”, from and to it.  “That’s the cinema”, you say.  “That’s life”, I have learnt.  To be aware of life, to believe in it, to exalt it, cherish it, and, yes, frame it.  That’s what you have taught me, and I will always love you for that.


Your disciple,


Bill Mousoulis




© Bill Mousoulis November 2012
This letter first appeared in La Furia Umana, 2013.