admin On giugno - 8 - 2013

by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi


Film-maker Maria Sole Tognazzi – daughter of an icon of Italian cinema, Ugo Toganzzi – has brought her latest film to the Open Roads: New Italian Cinema Film Festival at Lincoln Center in New York. ‘I Travel Alone’ is the story of single, middle-aged and beautiful Irene (Margherita Buy), who is devoted to her job as an inspector of luxury hotels. Constantly on the road, she indulges in expensive pleasures at impeccable resorts, but when her best friend and ex Andrea (Stefano Accorsi), suddenly becomes unavailable, Irene is thrown into a deep existential crisis. “Luxury is a form of deceit,” she is told by a fellow traveller (Lesley Manville) in the fog of a steam room, and thus begins Irene's quest to bring more meaning into her life.

Here is the exclusive interview with Maria Sole Tognazzi:

How did you conceive the story of this solitary traveller?


The movie wanted to portray a contemporary woman. Nowadays modern single females are always shown as troubled. I wanted to reverse this negative representation and show a woman who leads a life with no strings attached who is all-content, with a job that allows her to travel around the globe. And along with this aspect I wanted to unveil a job that often is unknown: the incognito inspector. This profession truly exists in all luxury hotels and is called “Surprise Guest,” and since other movies never portrayed it, my co-writers – Ivan Cotroneo and Francesca Marciano – and I, thought it was a good idea to let a woman disclose this mysterious job.


Did you do a lot of research on incognito inspectors?


We read many interviews made with real inspectors and spoke to several hotel managers. I also went to London to make a scrutiny with a real inspector, for two days, and I asked him if all the things we had put in the screenplay were correct.


Was Margherita Buy your first choice for Irene?


It was ten years I wanted to work with Margherita. I had shot my first film in 2003, after which I wrote another script – of a movie I didn’t make – that I submitted to Margherita, but she declined. After several years I asked her to star in ‘I Travel Alone’ and said I wouldn’t take no for an answer. She is an actress with whom I wanted to work with for a very long time. Margherita has the great skill of switching pitches very naturally. She is always authentic. She makes you smile one minute and the next she makes your eyes water, she is a great performer.


What about the amazing Lesley Manville, how was she involved?


Her character embodies the vestal of freedom and independence, and it was inspired by a real anthropologist who travels the world holding lectures. For this role we needed an Anglo-Saxon woman who would not be dubbed. When I was working with the incognito inspector in London, Francesca (Marciano) came along. She called her friend Phyllida Lloyd (director of The Iron Lady and Mamma Mia) with whom she had worked. Phyllida invited us to dinner and when we asked her who she thought might be fit for the role of the anthropologist she immediately brought Lesley’s name up. Lesley was amazing since she was about to shoot a film with Angelina Jolie but managed to squeeze the time to act in ‘I Travel Alone.’


What is your relationship with the female gender?


I have great respect and love for the feminine world. It’s part of my upbringing. Despite I was the only female amongst four brothers, my mother’s family was made up of many women. I strongly feel girl power, it’s something I understand. I also like the male perspective. But since my previous film was totally focused on a man’s sensitivity for his love pains, this time I wanted to focus on a woman. And I did it as a female director.



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.