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    Mascarpone Is a Sweet Gay Romance

    By Gary M. Kramer–

    The fabulous Italian confection Mascarpone, now out on VOD and DVD, has Antonio (Giancarlo Commare), bereft after breaking up with Lorenzo (Carlo Calderone), his husband of 12 years. Antonio soon moves in with Denis (Eduardo Valdarnini), who helps him get a job in Luca’s (Gianmarco Saurino) bakery. When Antonio falls for another guy, Thomas (Lorenzo Adorni), he must determine what he wants from love and life.

    Co-writer/directors Alessandro Guida and Matteo Pilati have served up a charming romance that, like the title ingredient in tiramisu, is both sweet and comforting. Pilati spoke with me for the San Francisco Bay Times about making Mascarpone.

    Gary M. Kramer: What inspired you to put a gay spin on An Unmarried Woman?

    Matteo Pilati: There’s a reference to that film in the end. In Italy, only 70-year-old critics got the reference. An Unmarried Woman is a film we really love. While we were writing, it popped into our mind, and because it is so similar, why not make an homage to Paul Mazursky?

    Gary M. Kramer: Antonio is naïve and vulnerable, lacking confidence, but he is also passionate and headstrong. Can you talk about developing his character?

    Matteo Pilati: We tried to convey it from Giancarlo Commare’s performance. He worked hard, imagining Antonio’s life by writing his character’s diary before shooting. In the beginning, he clings to everyone he comes in touch with; he talks using words that his husband uses, or Denis or Luca uses once he knows them. He’s like a chameleon. It was a chance for Giancarlo to play many different characters throughout the movie. We see his character develop through meeting other people. He conveys not just through dialogue but his performance and the way he moves and looks. We really liked Giancarlo after seeing him in the series SKAM Italia. He played the bad boy one of the main girls falls for, but he had this quality that he was sympathetic. Although Antonio can be perceived as weak, or unsympathetic, we needed an actor to bring sympathy to his character.

    Gary M. Kramer: How did you collaborate on filming, given that Alessandro was a seasoned filmmaker, and this is your debut, Matteo?

    Matteo Pilati: That was interesting. This film was borne out of pure desire to do a film. Giuseppe [Paternò Raddusa] and I started writing it when I was working for Global TV. When we had the first script, I approached Alessandro who had done some videos and commercials; he had experience to produce things on small budget. He said if we found money, he would direct it with me. We tried pitching it, but everyone said, “The characters are gay, and this film would only appeal to LGBTQ viewers. It doesn’t make commercial sense. We applaud your idea, but we are going to pass.” We decided to go ahead anyway. We had a small budget and shot in three weeks. But we had complete freedom to do whatever we wanted. Everyone, the actors, the art director, the costume designer, all gave 200% because they believed in the project. When we started filming, we didn’t know if we’d finish the film or get distribution.

    Gary M. Kramer: How did that do-it-yourself approach impact your filmmaking?

    Matteo Pilati: When we scouted for locations, we wanted small spaces because they gave the film authenticity.

    We customized the script to the actors, writing dialogue to keep it as real as possible. Luca was supposed to be someone who never falls in love, but [actor] Gianmarco Saurino said, “I think Luca could fall for Antonio and it would be interesting for me explore that. Let me say the lines with that intention.” It added an extra layer to the story, and it worked perfectly. It made his character go from a slut to a romantic character. Luca’s jealousy and vulnerability [when Antonio falls for Thomas] is what Saurino brings to the film, and we were so thankful because the actors improved our film.

    Gary M. Kramer: What can you say about filming the food scenes, especially the sequence where Antonio, Denis, and Luca create quite a sexy mess?

    Matteo Pilati: I was commissioning editor for two global TV companies, and we did a lot of programs and reality shows about food. Flour and cakes needed to be prepared for every shot, but I knew how to make it work and help the set decorators; I kept it simple. It’s about the metaphor. I looked through blogs and recipes and found out that mascarpone can be made at home and not be bought. In the film, Antonio says that making mascarpone can be tricky, but it’s untrue; making mascarpone is very easy.

    Gary M. Kramer: What are your thoughts about mascarpone? Do you enjoy it? Do you make it? Or is it not to your taste?

    Matteo Pilati: I don’t make it. I love to eat tiramisu. I am good in the kitchen [but] I don’t make desserts. It’s not my thing. It’s better if I stick to making movies, not cooking.

    © 2022 Gary M. Kramer

    Gary M. Kramer is the author of “Independent Queer Cinema: Reviews and Interviews,” and the co-editor of “Directory of World Cinema: Argentina.” Follow him on Twitter @garymkramer

    Published on May 19, 2022