Pluto Film has boarded Giovanni Bucchieri’s debut feature “100 Seasons,” set to world premiere in Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam’s coveted Tiger Competition later this month.
“The film immediately caught us with its honesty, originality, and sensitivity. It offers a colorful mix of passion, tenderness and romance,” Daniela Cölle, CEO and acquisitions head, says.
Produced by Sweden’s French Quarter Film – also behind Anna Odell’s “The Reunion” and Levan Akin’s “And Then We Danced” – and co-produced by RMV Film, it sees Bucchieri playing with reality and fiction, as well as his own 30-year-old video recordings, in a tale dedicated to his first love, Louise Peterhoff.
Peterhoff, now an established actor seen in such shows as “Peacemaker” and “The Truth Will Out,” as well as Ari Aster’s “Midsommar,” is more than just a memory. Credited as a co-creator, she comes back into Giovanni’s life – as an entirely new character.
“I see this film as a fictional drama. I don’t even call it a hybrid,” Bucchieri tells Variety. Stressing that despite their shared past, immortalized on these grainy VHS tapes, “Giovanni” and “Louise” differ from their real-life counterparts.
“He is much more extreme. He is much sicker, too. I am bipolar as well, but he experiences it in a whole different way,” Bucchieri says about his struggling protagonist.
His ex-partner fared better, it seems, but she is still “looking for something she can’t find,” directing a modern take on “Romeo and Juliet” without realizing she has actually lived it.
“In real life, Louise has a beautiful career, wonderful children and a husband she loves. Me? I live in the exact same place, I have no children, I struggle financially. Things have played out differently for us.”
After their break up in 1998, they went their separate ways, running into each other at a theater school in Stockholm before losing touch once again. But Bucchieri found it hard to let go.
“When our relationship ended, I just sat by myself for a year, looking at these recordings. I was maybe 18 years old. But even later, I would still show them to other girls who were in love with me. What an asshole,” he deadpans.
“We were so young, but there was another reason I kept filming: I was suicidal and Louise didn’t know that. I thought: ‘I have to film this so that my grandchildren can see it when they grow up.’ Which was, obviously, quite stupid. If I killed myself, I wouldn’t have any kids!”
It was “weird” to reunite in front of the camera, he admits. It was also a long time in the making.
“I think I first approached Louise 15 years ago. I was super drunk and called her quite late, mumbling [adopts drunken voice]: ‘It’s Giovanni. I want to make a movie about our love.’ I think she was worried,” he laughs.
As the story progressed, dance also became a big part of the film, with both classically trained Bucchieri and Peterhoff – fellow Royal Swedish Ballet School alumni – getting to express their emotions through movement.
“It’s such an extreme artform, with strict rules, almost sadomasochistic. Still, when you see her dance, there is something so liberating about it,” he notes, with his own character mirroring the steps of his younger self or even Michael Jackson’s moonwalk before his disease brings him back to his knees.
“I wanted to show the other side of the artist. I was like: ‘Oh fuck, let’s just do this. Let’s do everything.’ I don’t care what people think anymore. Giovanni doesn’t have anything, but he has his ups and downs. And when he is up, life is fantastic and magical.”
But ultimately, Bucchieri had one goal when making the film: to finally close that chapter of his life.
“For me, it’s a proper goodbye. The kind I never had with anyone I have loved, not even my own mother,” he says.
“[At the end of the film] we are just sitting there on the train, calm, looking at each other. As if saying: ‘Hey, we did our best. I have always loved you, but we will never be together.’ That’s the most beautiful way to part ways. Now, I finally have that chance.”