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Lotterywest Festival Films Blog

Director Piero Messina at UWA Somerville

Monday 25 January 2016

  • Feature
  • Interview

On Monday 1, Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 February, Italian director, Piero Messina, will be at UWA Somerville for the Australian premiere of his film, The Wait. The film stars Oscar-winner, Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Three Colours: Blue; Certified Copy, 2011 PIAF), as Anna, a French woman who was ‘the first woman in this part of Sicily to divorce her husband’. Anna is holding on to a secret which she refuses to share with younger woman, Jeanne, played by Lou de Laâge (Jappeloup, 2014 PIAF; Breathe, 2015 PIAF).

Messina (35) is one of the most exciting talents in Italian cinema right now. After securing slots at the Cannes and Rome film festivals for his short films, Terra and La prima legge di Newton (both 2012), he worked as assistant director on Paolo Sorrentino’s exquisite, Oscar-winning hit, The Great Beauty, in 2013.

The Wait is Messina’s first feature film and was adapted from his own screenplay after he waited for exactly the right conditions to move ahead with production:

        'It took a long time, and a lot of work. It took us nearly four years of writing before I gave the first draft of the script to (producer) Nicola Giuliano ... previously, I had done plenty of shorts and I’d had several earlier opportunities to debut with different producers, but I’d always refused, saying, ‘When I do it, I want it to be my ideal debut’. I waited a long time for the ideal conditions to come about.' 

After shooting on location in Sicily, the film was completed in time for its world premiere in a prestigious competition slot at the Venice Film Festival in September; there, it garnered strong reviews with Variety calling it a ‘cinematically dazzling debut’. The Wait is a masterclass in complex, atmospheric screen acting by Juliette Binoche and co-star Lou de Laâge. It contains a heady mix of extraordinary Sicilian ceremony and a spine-tingling soundtrack featuring The XX and Leonard Cohen, as mentioned in a previous blog post.

Messina will be on stage at UWA Somerville to introduce The Wait and participate in a Q&A following the screenings on Monday 1, Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 February. These sessions will be a great opportunity for Perth audiences to glean insights, from one of the finest young talents in European cinema, into writing and adapting an original screenplay, and working with two of the finest actresses working today.

        'I’m delighted to join the Perth International Arts Festival, and so excited that The Wait will be part of the PIAF program. I admit to be curious to discover if my work will be appreciated so far from my country. See you all soon.'

See below for details of Messina’s appearances at Somerville:

Monday 1 February Q&A with Piero Messina
Hosted by Mark Naglazas, film editor and critic at The West Australian

Tuesday 2 February Q&A with Piero Messina
Hosted by Geoff Hutchison, presenter of Mornings on 720 ABC Perth 

Wednesday 3 February Q&A with Piero Messina
Hosted by Tom Vincent, film program manager at Perth International Arts Festival

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