Tahar Rahim: a major talent of French cinema



Tahar Rahim is a French actor of Algerian origin. He is living a golden moment in his artistic career. He was recently nominated by the international press for a Golden Globe for his role in “The Mauritian”, a true story taken from the book “Guantanámo Diary”. He played in the movie with Jodie Foster. So he told us the emotion of being on set with an Oscar & Golden Globe winner. The film will be soon released also in Italy. On Netflix, he is at the top with “The Serpent”, a miniseries that talks about the daring adventures of Charles Sobhraj, a serial killer who operated in the ’70s in the golden triangle of drugs and crossroads of hippies.

His transformation to put himself in the shoes of the character is amazing and outstanding. 

How do you feel about being nominated for the Golden Globe as the best actor for “The Mauritian”, a movie with Jodie Foster?

Well, I am over the moon, it is incredible. If you are an actor of my generation and you grew up with her movies, it is almost a dream. I have vivid memories from when I went to the cinema to watch “Contact” or “The silence of the lambs”. She is a legend. I don’t deny that I was almost scared the first time I was in front of her. However, Jodie can make you feel so at ease and relaxed that you almost forget who she is. 

“The Mauritian” has not come out in Italy yet. Why do you suggest watching this movie? 

It is a very important story that needs to be told because it talks about freedom, harsh laws, and humanity. It is the story of a man imprisoned in Guantanámo Bay for 14 long years without even a charge against him. Mohamedou Ould Slah had been through a living hell in jail. When he got out of prison, he wanted to forgive everyone: that means achieving a level of forgiveness that goes beyond any imagination, a real demonstration of a pure and beautiful soul. 

How did you learn English? It is impeccable and without a French accent. 

The truth? I had to work very hard. I have always loved English since I was a child, but when they offered me the role of Ali Soufan in “The Looming Tower”, I knew I had to interpret an American citizen, so I knew I should make no mistakes, even small ones that would not convince the producers or the public. 

So, I practiced with a coach for four hours a day for three months. When I started shooting in New York, I requested a coach on set to be always 100% sure. Even now I have two lessons per week. 

Oliver Stone dedicated a post on Instagram to you and he pointed the finger at the Academy Awards for mentioning not even a category of your movie for the Oscars, meaning that probably it would not have been good publicity for the USA. 

Honestly, when I was told it, I could not believe that Mr. Stone had done a post about me and the movie. Of course, we can’t say that American cinema is not able to criticize its society, this is Oliver Stone’s vision. I am just finding out how things go in the USA. 

Did you already know the story of “The Serpent” before playing the lead role of the Netflix miniseries? It was not very well-known in Italy, probably because it is French. 

I knew it but not because it is French, none of my friends remembered it. But since I have two elder brothers, I found the book about the story of Charles Sobhraj in the bedroom and I was fascinated by the synopsis. I was 16 years old and I already wanted to be an actor. But at that time, I could not understand the real horror behind that man, yet I imagined playing that role. When I discovered that Benicio Del Toro was about to start the film shooting in 2001, I was disappointed, but then they did not do it anymore. Exactly 20 years later, I got an email from my agent saying that I would play the role of a serial killer and then I realized it was him. Life is incredible. It’s almost as if fate gave me this role. 

Do you think when cinemas reopen in France, people will buy tickets like before or will stay true to the streaming? 

There will be a good season since we are getting closer to summer and probably people want to stay outside, but if I can say it, we humans tend to forget things. When this is over, we will just want to go back to normal life, like going to the cinema. 

Curated by Francesca Romana Riggio

At the cinema with Maurizio Lombardi

Whilst the Italian actor, Maurizio Lombardi, was born in Florence, it is not a simple task identifying him geographically because of a very international profile and a high demand from directors of the same caliber as Paolo Sorrentino.

From January 10th we will see him starring in “The New Pope”, alongside Jude Law and John Malkovich, as well as the third season of “Riviera” – all on SKY.

You are used to working with large productions, how was working on the new Pope Set?

I don’t want to use too pompous terms, but there is little to do, Paolo is truly a champion in all respects. It is astonishing how much control he has on the set, and more over the trust and esteem he places towards his team who is better oiled than a Swiss watch. He speaks very little and does not impose anything upon the actors, instead, it is as if he knows that whoever orbits him can do their job adequately and therefore further instruction would be superfluous.

How did Sorrentino choose you?

It is all thanks to Annamaria Sambucco, a phenomenal Italian casting director who has great taste and above all, is extremely prepared. She had already proposed me to Paolo for “The great beauty” but for unknown reasons, I was not chosen. Maybe because on that occasion I had been more concerned with interviewing him as I was so mesmerized and curious to know about him!

What evolution of your character we must expect?

I was surprised by my ambiguous character because he is a cardinal, but at the same time in love, and as we all know love can lead to dangerous borders. We will have to see if this love will lead to something or not, but I cannot reveal any more otherwise the viewers have too much information in their hands.

The third season of “Riviera” always on sky is also arriving, tell me something about this project.

I can tell you that it was an incredible personal and emotional journey since the shooting took place in Venice in parallel with the presentation of “The new pope” at the Venice Film Festival. Going from the red carpet with Sorrentino, and then being picked up by a taxi to shoot with another international cast inside a crazy palace in Venice, to then return to the Lido for interviews, made it really hard to stay calm. The beauty of it is that I didn’t know Riviera therefore it was fantastic to be amazed by the glamor and the fashion side of the series.

© All Rights Reserved

Getting married in Umbria: the best destinations

Umbria, with its castles, has fascinated for centuries: nobles, intellectuals and of course tourists from all over the world. Writers of old Europe found refuge to be able to enjoy peace, serenity and creativity to write new pages of literature.

Among these, Lord Byron, the English romantic poet, known for his adventurous and stormy love life, undertook a long journey in Italy in 1816. It was above all the landscape of Umbria, the green heart of the country that caught his attention. Wonders like Lake Trasimeno, the Clitunno springs and the Marmore waterfalls enchanted his senses and captivated his imagination.

Now, in addition to the traditional cuisine and their black truffle, of which they are the undisputed homeland, they are also the enchanting locations with their esteemed estates. Among these, we can see the Petrata Castle, an ancient fortress of the XIV century. expertly restored, with a unique view of Assisi and Perugia.

The enchanting village of Castello di Gallano, where the fun cooking classes are set, allowing you to learn how to make delicious potato gnocchi according to the castle’s secret recipe. The Tenuta di San Masseo, immersed in a park of 20,000 square meters that integrates beautiful art and design elements.

A unique and exclusive environment in which enjoy an incredible view, the magical scenery of the city of Assisi within an oasis of absolute spiritual relaxation, in direct contact with nature and the territory. And finally, the twelfth-century Castle of Ramazzano, restored several times over the centuries, offers various frescoed rooms and preserves a precious wall development, Guelph crenelated with a square tower.

The property belongs to an Apulian DOC family, which retains all the essence of the territory and adds Umbrian-Apulian cuisine commanded by Ms. Angela Aliani, Americans are at home here. In short, all these are the real new “wedding destinations” of luxury that bring customers from all over the world, and this is well known by Daniela Corti, in fact, with the new edition of “The Italian Wedding Stars” to be held on the 29th November in Rome she will also award the location.

© All Rights Reserved