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Gary Oldman says he jumped at chance to be in Cannes drama 'Parthenope'

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Gary Oldman says he jumped at chance to be in Cannes drama ‘Parthenope’

The 77th Cannes Film Festival Photocall For The Film “parthenope” In Competition

    Gary Oldman jumped at the chance to be in Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s new coming-of-age drama, “Parthenope,” even if it was just a small role, the Oscar-winning actor told Reuters.

    “I was in anyway. I didn’t care what it would have been either,” said Oldman on Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival, where the competition film celebrated its premiere.

    Oldman has a bit part as melancholic American novelist John Cheever. The title character, a long-haired beauty played by newcomer Celeste Dalla Porta, is inexplicably drawn to him on vacation.

    Parthenope enchants the men in her life, and the film follows her from her birth in the waters of the Bay of Naples to her last day before retiring as a professor of anthropology.

    Sorrentino said his own life experience gave him the idea of ​​following a character through various ages.

    “Being in my 50s, well, actually more, I was very fascinated with the idea of ​​recounting the melancholy, sorrows, and hopes that revolve around the passing of time,” he said.

    “And so from there I came up with the idea of ​​doing a long tale of a woman from when she was born until today,” he added.

    Sorrentino noted that the heroine’s development also coincides with that of the city of Naples.

    “Parthenope, in the first part of the film, when she is young, coincides with the city, they are two mysteries,” said Sorrentino, a Cannes veteran who has brought seven films to compete for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.

    In the second part, she grows into a free and spontaneous woman who does not judge, which is also like the city, he added at a news conference in the French Riviera resort town.

    Naples is sometimes known as Parthenope in reference to the ancient Greek settlement established there, named after a siren who according to legend drowned herself after failing to bewitch Odysseus and whose body washed up on the shores of the city.


    Sorrentino won best foreign language film with 2013’s “The Great Beauty” and was nominated for an Oscar for 2021’s “The Hand of God,” a personal family tragedy set in 1980s Naples. That film first put Dalla Porta, 26, on the director’s radar.

    “The casting agents who chose me as an extra (in “The Hand of God”) called me to do Paolo Sorrentino’s Bulgari commercial,” she told Reuters. After a year or two, she said, she started auditioning several times for the starring role of Parthenope.

    For Dalla Porta, the film not only is an allegory for Naples, but also for her own life.< /p>

    “Before we started shooting the film I was still in a youthful, carefree phase of my life, where work was still something of a dream and being an actor somewhat an abstract idea,” she said at a news conference alongside Sorrentino.

    “But during the process of making the film, it was as if I had to let go of the little girl in me,” she added.

    The film’s reception was tepid at best, with The Guardian newspaper calling it a “facile” film and saying it comes close to self-parody. Trade publication IndieWire called it “a superficial meditation on the relationship between youth and beauty.”


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