Chiara Clemente / Nowness / “Matteo Garrone: “The Player”

The Cannes Grand Prix-Winner Talks Love, Chance and Celluloid with Fellow Director Chiara Clemente

Touted as the pioneer of a renaissance in Italian cinema, director Matteo Garrone takes us through the shadowy streets of his native Rome and into an intimate card game in this new film by Chiara Clemente. Since his rise to prominence after winning the Sacher d’Oro award for the short Silhouette in 1996, Garrone has become known and feted internationally for the 2008 film Gomorrah, the nuanced chronicle of the Casalesi clan—a faction of Naples’ notorious Camorra—that earned him multiple Best Director awards while unveiling tensions and intimacies between the Italian government and the country’s organized crime syndicates. His latest work, Reality, takes on the world of the ubiquitous television genre. In anticipation of its release, Garrone opened up his life in the Italian capital to filmmaker Clemente, whose own acclaimed work includes the Sundance Channel’s Beginnings as well as the series Made Here: Performing Artists on Work and Life in New York City. Clemente was a fan of Garrone’s when she began working on today’s short, having been entranced and inspired after seeing The Embalmer as a recent film school grad, yet she quickly found they had more in common than their chosen profession. “I discovered shortly after we started talking that his mother took amazing photographs of my mother when she was very young and a theater actress,” muses the director. “Here I was doing a portrait of him, and his mother had done a similar thing with my mother more than 30 years before.” Interlacing the multicultural surrounds of Garrone’s city with his love of sensuality and the at times unpredictable game of poker, Clemente’s intimate portrait reveals that “the most exciting moments in a documentary happen by chance.”