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Amazing Trivia with Roberto I. Ercolalo (2020)

Updated: Jul 5, 2022


1 - The Madrid Film Awards has appointed you President of the Jury for the 2020 edition, congratulations!

Do you know that this is the first time that the position will be held by a person from another nation?

Yes, they had told me after some meetings.

What to say.. it honors me even more, if that is to be possible, the fact of the appointment is really significant for me, adding this moves me.

I think that multiculturalism is a great step towards growth and understanding of this art, since cinema does not understand borders or walls.

2 - What is your vision of cinema?

I have always seen it with great power, as it is an audio-visual medium, it directly impacts the way of seeing, thinking and even feeling, depending on how a story is told. It is that message behind it, that final reflection that it leaves us, the story behind the story.

I particularly differentiate between the concepts: "Movies" and "Cinema". In the first is the totality of the films, whatever they are. But in the second, only a very select group managed to integrate it.

Those achievements that after seeing them cannot continue the same, something changes you, be it a lot or a little, but it makes you reflect without doubts.

One cannot continue life the same, after seeing painted "The Creation" or "The Last Supper", something changes you. That is art, and cinema belongs to it. Not everyone who paints a picture makes art; not everyone who makes a movie makes Cinema.

3 - And according to this, what is your Top 3 movies?

Uff, it is very difficult to select only 3, many come to mind. I suppose it can vary depending on what time of year I also answer you, but of the ones that in general I keep in my top favorites, I would choose: “8 1/2” by Federico Fellini, “Cinema Paradiso” by Giuseppe Tornatore and “Candilejas” by the great Charles Chaplin.

4 - How many movies do you watch per year?

In general, I try to watch at least one movie every day; speaking of feature films, of course. One year I had counted them, on that occasion I got to pass 400.

But of course, later for reasons of judging films at festivals, that number has multiplied significantly when counting short films; perhaps that amount will pass in two months.

5 - What are your favorite directors?

Fellini is one without a doubt, I am fascinated by all his works, his vision, his narrative, the clean but complex structuring that he achieves, those very particular universes of his, impregnated with his stamp that truly do it unmistakable.

Tornatore would say that he is another, the ability he has to transmit deep emotions drives me crazy, to empathize in such a different way, as if the character became family, that magical connection that he achieves is amazing.

Kubrick also has to be on this list, a genius like few others. And if I can add two more, I would say Kurosawa and Aronofsky, great influences too.

6 - What other activities do you like to do?

I try to develop different hobbies from time to time, this year I am with card magic for example. Which I think is linked, in some way, in concept with the cinema

Although outside of that, I always liked soccer and the gym, I think it is key to have a mind-body balance. Also on my free afternoons I really enjoy going to a coffee shop with my notebook to write.

7 - How is this relationship that you see between card magic and the 7th art?

I have always said that from the way I see it, Cinema is the closest thing to magic in this world.

But for magic to exist, two parts are needed: one to do it and one to see and create it. That way it becomes magic.

Which part would you say is most important? One wouldn't do without the other, of course. But for which of both parties is it really magic, where does it come from concretely?

The filmmaker already knows the trick, but he is in his hands to do it in a thoughtful, clean and impressive way; It is then where the perplexity and amazement is generated in the other part, in which he does not know the trick and believes in what he is seeing as magic.

This is the moment, the second part is the one that really turns it, for her it is magic. With cinema I think it's the same, one part without the other would have no life or meaning.

8 - In general we know that the most weighted figure behind each work is the director. As such, what do you think about it?

There are two types of directors equally, those who make movies in general and those who make movies.

It is often thought that the director is "the one who signs the painting", but I see it differently. The director who actually makes cinema, if we take the analogy of a painter, does not even have contact with the painting, it is not necessary.

He sees the blank canvas and has a whole team of "painters" at his disposal, to whom he tells what will be inside. The characters (actors) within the work will interpret their idea, production will take care of the materials, it also has another very special painter who will come with another palette, make the shadows and create an environment (the director of photography), each brushstroke will be given by the cameraman an indication from the director, including his signature on the painting.

The director does not have "physical contact" with the work, it is not necessary, simply because the director is part of the work. By viewing and analyzing different paintings (films) by the same author, “the soul” and its identity can be seen.

But without the team, there is only the idea ... of course the director in these cases is the key, but without the entire team to support it. And best of all, that key doesn't open anything. Cinema is teamwork, everyone is equally valuable in each production.

9 - What is the best time of day to see a movie?

I think it depends a lot, it is not the same to see "Fast and Furious" than a Tarkovski film. The predisposition that is needed is another too. I particularly like to see them at night, I feel more concentrated.

Perhaps those that are purely for entertainment are more likely to be able to watch at any time, eating something, more relaxed.

But what is Cinema, requires another concentration and understanding in the plot it seems to me, it is not only to see what is shown.

There, the why of what is shown will be analyzed, why that way and not another, why that duration and with that movement, why the absence of sound, if any, why these types of shots, etc.

10 - What type of cinema is more suited to what you like?

If they are well done and you leave me a message or reflection, I enjoy it, whatever genre it is, it is indistinct. But speaking in general, very general terms, Italian cinema has always been one of my favorites, followed closely by French. Then, of course, there are specific exceptions from other nations such as Kurosawa, Kubrick, Chaplin, etc. already mentioned, of which I like practically all of his works and I see them again frequently.

- Thank you very much for your time and the best of successes for your new stage as President of the Madrid Film Awards Jury.

No, please, thank you. I really enjoyed these moments and your questions, it was a pleasure.


Interview by Carla Ledesma, Francisco Vallejos and Florencia Ponce

(Januray 2020, original interview in spanish here).

Photographs by Malena Mastrangelo.

For more information about the interviewee, visit the website:

Madrid Film Awards I Press Team



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