Interview Ruggero Deodato
at the "Offscreen Filmfestival" in Brussels 2012
"The most important thing in cinema should be always to be able to change so that nobody can really put a label on you."
At last years edition of the “Offscreen” film festival, we were lucky enough to get some time to talk to Ruggero Deodato. So it's past time this got posted on the site. The interview is slightly edited because of both Deodato's and to be fair my own English. There was also a translator at hand whose name I rudely forgot to take down but we wish to extend are thanks all the same. And of course the organisation of the “Offscreen” festival in Brussels as well.
We met up with Deodato at a hotel in Brussels and found him to be a very amicable man. He's the kind of director we at Razorreel adore. For his fantastic output for sure but also because he more than any director I know makes films for his audience. An example of this is that he calls “Cannibal Holocaust” his favourite picture because his fans like it the most.
Apart from “Cannibal Holocaust” his most popular picture Deodato has an impressive filmography. During post production on ““Cannibal Holocaust” Deodato started filming another shocker “House on the edge of the park” (1980), a film inspired by the Wes Craven's rape revenge flick “Last House on the left”. Never to be limited to one genre Deodato jumped on the post apocalyptic bandwagon with one of its most peculiar entries in the genre “The Raiders of Atlantis” (1983). With “The Barbarians” he entered onto Peplum territory and “Body Count was his stab at the slasher genre.
The director is also responsible for what is arguably one of the last Gialli of any importance with “The Washing Machine” (1993).
RR: You're in Brussels to show several of your pictures among which “Cannibal Holocaust” your most famous film which gave you several legal problems it got banned in Italy.
I've got only a few questions about cannibal holocaust (all the same we spent the better part of the interview talking about it) because you've done a lot of interviews about the movie.
Deodato: Too many
RR: When you were making cannibal holocaust were you expecting so much resistance so many problems?
Deodato: No, I don't imagine this problem because the movie is very simple to shoot, the atmosphere with the crew was fantastic, my idea was perfect for this type of movies no problem on set, nothing nothing I think is all normal. When I send the little piece of the movie to Milano (in miford) the producer said “aah fantastic fantastic, people want to buy you kill, you kill something because the movie is becoming very important” for that I was sure I don't have any problems.
RR: But you did try yourself to create some controversy when you told the actors to disappear a little bit.
Deodato: It was an idea but (laughs)
RR/Do you think now it was a bad idea?
Deodato: No but maybe I was joking.
RR: But you did ask them to disappear for a bit?
Deodato: I did ask, I did write it in the contract not to do a movie for one year to disappear. But I don't believe, because in this moment we didn't have internet we had nothing. I'm in a little town in Italy when I do this agreement, in New York I think but after realise this legal problem I call the actors “please come back”
RR: Do you think it was worth it, all the controversy?
Deodato: Maybe both because maybe now the fans, the audience look at the film, but movie like that normal but every idea they talking about they know what happened what we told the actors a lot of fans are curious about the film ask a lot of weird questions sometimes.
RR: It's unbelievable how the scene with the turtle is still discussed now and people have strong views on it.
Deodato: After 31 years the film has been shown in the UK they just cut the scene with the mouse but they didn't touch the scene with the turtle or the monkey. I wonder why they make such a difference between animal and the other, there's a bit of an inconsistency there.
It's very strange it seems that people are more interested in torture against animals because that really shocks them but the film contains a lot of other things that are much more important I saw another film about cannibals but there were no animals and the type of impact is definitely different but again if you see a scene where someone butchers a man and eats him but if you see a torture against an animal everybody is freaking out.
RR: But there is a difference where one is simply special effects the other is really a turtle getting killed.
No, because I ask the young people what do you think is more terrible to see cannibal holocaust or the television when they cut the head to the American in Irak and the people say “Cannnibal Holocaust”.
RR: Did you have any trouble with censors before with “Waves of lust” for instance?
RR: Was “Waves of Lust a difficult shoot because it was shot almost completely on the water?
Deodato: The problem because I remember the British captain said every time in ten minutes come stormy weather and we were all hahaha but sure enough after ten minutes arrive stormy weather and every day for for one month.
RR: So it was shot on open water not in the harbour
Deodato: Near Sicily we had no luck for this movie and the captain is very strong
RR: Because it took you a long time to revisit the genre of the giallo. Is there a reason you waited to make another giallo?
Deodato: The most important thing in cinema should be always to be able to change so that nobody can really put a label on you. You should try to experiment with as many genres as possible. I like to shoot even love stories make people cry and make people laugh. In a film I made a love story there's scene where a child swims in the water in Japan people were crying so much they started selling tickets together with handkerchiefs to wipe their eyes.
RR: Which movie was this?
Deodato: “last feeling” with music dadadadadida, L'ultimo sapore dell'aria.
RR: The last Giallo you did was “the washing machine” a movie you weren't very happy with was it difficult to shoot a movie in Hungary? Was it very different from Italy?
Deodato: No, fantastic because first the location is beautiful what is really beautiful is all the objects you can find in people's houses when you go inside you can see a lot of different styles from an aesthetic point of view it's really beautiful there were so many people in these lands you can really see a cross section of these styles.
RR: But when you made the movie you weren't very happy with the result
Deodato: No because I had some issues with some of the actresses because I wanted different actresses but the ones I wanted could not actually come so that was one of the problems. And then also I don't like too much sex in films although I know it sells well but it's not really what I like most.
RR: After Cannibal Holocaust you made “House on the edge of the park” which is particularly nasty and cruel to women was this a decision made for commercial reasons or just to piss everybody off even more?
Deodato: No laughs no, actually the idea came when I was still in New York and the producer called me and said look we sold the film so well we already have distribution. They asked to also produce another film so he sent me the script of the other film. And basically the deal was United Artist distributed that as well so I tried to film as quickly as possible and we could use the location in New York while we were still there to do the outside locations and then finish doing it in Rome. And it was also of interest to me because on the one hand it reminded me of clockwork orange there were some things there that were similar and on the other hand there was a crime in Rome when a girl was murdered in the eighties in a location on the coast so I wanted to film something on that theme.
RR: Is it true you are making a sequel?
Deodato: I would like to do a sequel and I was in contact with an British producer but he disappeared all of a sudden.
RR: Thank you for your time.
Item added : 6/4/2013