Home Art & StyleCinema & Theatre Claudia Pandolfi: Life is a comedy written by a sadist
Claudia Pandolfi

Claudia Pandolfi: Life is a comedy written by a sadist

by Monica Camozzi

Written by Monica Camozzi
Photos by Fabio Lovino

Behind the lovable smile, Claudia Pandolfi hides a deep awareness and a character that has never been sidetracked by the sirens of aesthetics as an end in itself, despite her second place in Miss Italy at only seventeen. Her pragmatic light-heartedness, her endemic aptitude for living in the here and now, has led her to two David di Donatello nominations, to playing the role of the teacher in I Liceali and the deputy detective in Distretto di Polizia, and to playing drums with Afterhours.

It sounds like the title of a Woody Allen film, the plot of which you might guess. On the contrary, it is a phrase that fully represents Claudia Pandolfi’s sense of humour, which Ionesco would love when describing the grotesque and tragic vicissitudes of Victor Hugo. Claudia, as a good Scorpio, hides behind her amiable smile a profound awareness and a character that has never let the sirens of aesthetics fool her, despite her second place at Miss Italia at only seventeen. Her pragmatic light-heartedness, her endemic aptitude for living in the here and now, have led her naturally from her first film with Michele Placido to two nominations for the David di Donatello, (with two films by Paolo Virzì, including Siccità, in 2022), to playing the role of the teacher in I Liceali and the vice-police officer in Distretto di Polizia, and to playing drums with Afterhours.

Do you really think so? Is life a play written by a sadist?
I think so! Sometimes life throws up surreal surprises, for better or for worse. There is little need to strategise. It happens that the timing and the way things happen make everything take on a grotesque aspect, so it is better to take the path of humour.

to apply the right amount of comedy in order not to be overwhelmed by pain, feelings of inadequacy, melancholy.

It helps not to take oneself too seriously, which is a good thing.

I know you love Battiato. Which song from Fleurs do you prefer? Which one represents you the most?
Fleurs is an incredibly beautiful and original record where all the tracks have a dominant theme: love. Of all of them, ‘the song of the old lovers’ (which is actually by Jacques Brel) is the one that tears me apart: within a chilling melody, a man and a woman have loved and hurt each other. They suffered in their struggles but always managed to find shelter in their secure love, which changed over time but remained free and sincere, thanks to their ability to ‘grow old without becoming adults’. It does not represent me but it is powerful.

You are a beauty who makes people like you, what is your relationship with your attractiveness?
Thank you for the compliment… for the niceness I mean. Because the aesthetic issue is something I came to terms with early on. I was born cute and then became a beautiful girl, but it seemed to be more important to others than to me. At times it was binding: depending on appearance things happened (my accidental participation in Miss Italy at the age of 17 for example).

But I always had other priorities, I preferred to be agile rather than graceful, in short, I always found myself stimulating my human, character, professional growth.

And then the body undergoes constant transformations, slow in time, sometimes sudden, it is good to accept this soon. Beauty is changeable and definitely subjective.

What do you regret and what would you no longer do
I regret nothing and I would do it all again, mistakes included. Everything that has happened so far is what has made me the woman I am. And all in all I am fine with that.

Plato said that Eros is a bridge to love, do you agree? What is love to you?
Love is the cure (… talking about Battiato)

Everything, if done with protection, respect, foresight, honesty, makes us put love on the line

An absolute feeling within which many things move. And eros is one of them, nothing so central.

Compared to the years when you were at Miss Italy, how do you see the image of women now? What has changed?
In 30 years, many habits have changed, famous habits and customs have been transformed. Women have always been considered something to be managed and repressed when they were carrying heavy burdens, but with time and struggle we have taken what was previously granted to us by right. Now there is a different awareness. But there is something that has not changed, and perhaps unfortunately never will: the chilling capacity that a violent gesture has to undo everything.

Every time a feminicide happens I feel the achievements made by our contradictory society crumble..

If you had to choose a photographic style for posing nude, which photographer would you want? And what kind of image would you choose?
I have to confess: I don’t like being photographed. It is very different from being in front of the camera: the camera, as well as the actors and the whole crew, are elements of a puzzle that will become the film you are working on.

Instead, when pictures are taken of me, I feel a vacuum around me. A direct relationship between me and the photographer, without a character to protect me. This makes me feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, naked.

So it is fundamental that with the person who photographs me there is empathy, I have to trust. Fabio Lovino is the only person who has been able to make me forget all this for 30 years, the only one with whom I have such and so much confidence. With him working has always been play and freedom, he has made me stick to something that did not belong to me. I care about him and have a deep respect for him, both human and professional. Regarding more strictly the relationship with my body, I necessarily had to resolve the decency issue when I started working as an actress. I am discreet but I can become uninhibited if I need to. So: posing nude? I would rather not. With Fabio maybe yes.

Which real woman who existed in history would you like to portray on the set?
Julia Margaret Cameron, one of the first female photographers. In late 19th century London, Julia took up photography out of boredom but it became almost an obsession for her. The granddaughter of Virginia Woolf, she was eccentric, funny, deeply creative and impulsive.

She set up her workshop in the chicken shed and, always ready to capture the perfect shot, made blurring her art. Very interesting story.

When you think about the future, which feeling prevails? Fear, favourable expectation, desire to create…
I am not a person who projects too much into the future, at the same time I only refer to the past when it is really needed.

I prefer, also because I work better, to stick to what is happening to me today, trying to keep myself optimistic and confident.

There is no point in making too many plans or worrying anyway: life is surprising and beautiful because of that.

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