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Screenwriter Alessandra Piccione explains failing relationships and the influence of Italian cinema in her latest film in a one-on-one interview at the Whistler Film Festival.

Interview with Alessandra Piccione: ‘The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship’

Alessandra Piccione is a co-owner and screenwriter at Platinum Image Film in Toronto, Canada. Her feature film, The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship, recently had its Western Canada Premiere at the Whistler Film Festival. The comedy stars Krista Bridges (Heroes Reborn), Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars), David Cubitt (Medium), and Brooke Palsson (Less Than Kind).

Krista Bridges and Enrico Colantoni
Krista Bridges and Enrico Colantoni in ‘The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship.’ Courtesy of the Whistler Film Festival

It’s great to be interviewing you today about your film.

Thank you! It’s a pleasure to be interviewed.

Your film company is based in Toronto. Have you been to the Whistler Film Festival before?

No, actually this is our first time. I’ve heard wonderful things about it so I’m really excited about going.

You penned the script for The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship, a film which took about two years to complete with director Sergio Navarretta.

From the first moment we thought of it – It was a fairly quick process in a way because we had projects that were in development and held for so long. We thought, you know what, let’s do something that’s fun and won’t take forever. It’ll be a little simpler. It took about two years from start to finish.

I notice you drew a lot from Italian cinema for this film. For me when I view those films, the quiet moments are so beautifully done. That quality also comes through in Colossal.

It was pretty amazing. I’m so happy that you said that it reminds you of Italian cinema. That really was a huge inspiration for us, particularly for Sergio. He grew up watching Italian films that he absolutely loved: Neorealist movies and the “slice-of-life.”

There’s this luncheon scene with the wine tasting. I remember the way that scene together: the camera is sort of peeking through behind people’s shoulders. It’s always fluttering around and it’s almost like you’re a fly on the wall while watching this conversation happening. I know that’s what Sergio really wanted there to convey that feeling. When I see it, I think it’s so magical how it all came together. You’re peeking through people speaking as you’re behind their heads and getting a sense of the conversation and what’s going on. It makes it more like you’re right in the scene more than a traditionally shot scene.

There’s another quiet scene early on, where Cat (Krista Bridges) is waiting for Freddy (Enrico Colantoni) to come home. It’s a missed opportunity for them to reconnect.

The whole idea behind that scene was to give the viewer a sense of her sadness and her loneliness in the relationship. It was amazing to have that come together. A lot of that happened in the editing room, using some jump cuts there. Sergio really worked with Jane MacRae, our editor, to give that sense of time passing but also this disconnected feeling that Cat was having at that moment.

The film is set in wine country. The line that stuck out in my mind was “the secret of good food is honesty.” Tell us more about relationships, perhaps in relation to this picturesque setting, and why they fail.

I love your question. They’re not your traditional questions, so it’s making me think more deeply about the film. The whole idea of the movie is about people not being entirely honest with themselves and with each other. They’re in the wine capital of the world and everything falls apart. There’s this dichotomy between how things appear and how they really are.

There’s [Freddy’s] line in the film about the colossal failure of the modern relationship: “It’s not my fault.” Truly, we all have a role to play in things not working out, failing, and our lives being where they are. The failure is not something outside of us. It’s our own inability to be true to the people around us. It’s the same in anything that we do. Our creativity is all based on honesty. Cooking is one of those expressions. The more you can be honest about what you’re doing, the better food will turn out.

There are so many ironic and comedic parts in the story. Freddy is a food critic with food allergies and his trip puts Cat in close proximity with her paramour. I love the part where the older lady at the inn tells her husband, “0-0-7, stop spying.”

Creating the characters came naturally as I worked. It’s funny you mention the “007” moment. There are not a lot of improvised moments in the film. It’s all very close to the script. That little moment was improvised between the two [actors]. I’d love to but I can’t even take credit for that one. They were just so in sync with each other and they were such a great team. They were so funny! That line stayed in the film.

I’d like to wish you all the best in Whistler with your Western Canada premiere.

Thank you.

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About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros is a young professional aspiring toward a career in media. In addition to film and television reviews, she focuses primarily on events in Washington, D.C. Highlights in Pat’s blogging adventures include meeting Peter Capaldi and Stan Lee, as well as interviews with Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Carlyle. In 2017, she made her debut as an Awesome Con moderator, managing a Q&A for voice actors Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat. Pat earned a B.A. in Art History on a full scholarship at the University of Virginia.

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