By Roberto Mignucci and Agnieszka Flak
VENICE (Reuters) – Italian director Sebastiano Riso said he chose to make it a gay couple who refuse to adopt a terminally ill child in his new film to show how a person can commit good or terrible deeds, regardless of sexual orientation.
Riso premiered “Una Famiglia” (A Family), at the Venice film festival, a morbid tale about the black market for babies in Italy, where legal adoption is a right reserved to the selected few.
“As a gay author, I felt like having a gay couple do such a terrible thing because it’s unbearable that in Italy homosexuality is represented in such a bourgeois and sugar-coated manner,” the Italian director told Reuters in an interview.
“Homosexuals as much as heterosexuals are people, regardless of their sexual orientation. We can be good, kind, terrible … like everyone else.”
“Una Famiglia” is one of 21 U.S. and international films vying for the Golden Lion which will be awarded on Saturday.
The movie tells the story of a passionate but toxic relationship between Maria, played by Micaela Ramazzotti, and her French boyfriend Vincenzo, portrayed by Patrick Bruel.
The two hold hands while riding the metro, make passionate love at home, but behind the facade dependency and abuse thrive. Vincenzo uses Maria to conceive and sell babies to those who could not have them otherwise, be it gay couples or those who cannot afford or are not seen as fit for legal adoption.
“This business exists because the demand is huge. And the people who buy (the babies) are not monsters, but more often people who want to live their right to be parents,” Riso said .
The story starts as Maria begins to rebel against the baby-selling ring, yearning for the babies she’s lost already and hoping her and Vincenzo can finally start a family of their own.
Rather than giving answers, Riso sought to raise questions.
“Being parents is much easier abroad, so once again it is the (Italian) state that is to blame for this black market,” he said.
Ramazzotti said this role was her most difficult to date.
“This is a woman who in reality is a prisoner, she doesn’t know how to free herself of this man, this dependency, this unhealthy love, this passion,” the 38-year-old actress said.
“I like being the spokeswoman for women in difficulty, those who have been abused or live on the margins of society.”
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak)