Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sergio Leone: my films, my life

Among the books that can be downloaded for free today on the website of the publishing house Il Saggiatore , which has joined the Digital Solidarity initiative by publishing on its website, on a regular basis, e-books to download, the beautiful volume C'era una volta il cinema, an interview book with Sergio Leone created by Noël Simsolo  the result of fifteen years of uninterrupted dialogue.

“At the base of this book of interviews there are fifteen years of friendship - writes Noël Simsolo in the preface - fifteen years of continuous dialogue between Paris, Cannes and Rome. Fifteen years of film festivals in Roman trattorias or in small Marais bistros, in haute cuisine restaurants or in friends' homes. Fifteen years of walks at the Montreuil flea market, animated discussions and crazy laughter in the buildings of Paris or the French Riviera; fifteen years of telephone conversations to talk about cinema or to make appointments with potential financiers. Fifteen years of coexistence that have resulted in this book, as a sort of marriage of convenience."

Once upon a time there was cinema is the text to which Leone entrusted the story of his life and all the films he made. The frames of his memories carry the hat of Clint Eastwood and the badly shaved beard of Gian Maria Volonté, the melodies of Ennio Morricone, the look of Claudia Cardinale and the blurred smile of Robert De Niro, the meetings with  Pier Paolo Pasolini, Klaus Kinski and Orson Welles.

Reading this memoir-interview, published in Italy in 2018, is like finding a voice that was believed to be lost in an old cassette. A high-pitched, amused, ferociously unconventional voice, which between an anecdote of life on set and a reflection on cinema ends up revealing the secrets of a director who has managed to transform the years of prohibition into the poignant novel of betrayed friendships, revenge and love lost.

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