Movie changes my life: Italian film star Agnese Nano

15:43, March 04, 2010      

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Agnese Nano, a 44-year-old Italian film and theater star, is famous for her role as the young "Elena" in Giuseppe Tornatore's 1988 masterpiece "Cinema Paradiso."

"Cinema Paradiso," the Academy Award winner for best foreign language film in 1989, represented a turning point in her career and greatly changed her life, Nano said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"I still remember that feeling; I was really young and so scared of going on stage," Nano said, recalling her unique experience as the movie's leading actress.

"I felt embarrassed and kept trembling all over. The film's auditions were the longest of my life, they lasted one whole day. It's incredible," she said.

Nano used to be shy and did not enjoy being the center of attention. But one day, her life changed completely.

While studying veterinary medicine in Perugia, she worked part-time as a waitress in a restaurant. One day, she met a star agent who advised her to audition for some television spots in Rome.

"Advertisement wasn't for me, but there I had the chance to meet a famous movie director who made me play my first role as an actress, and the same year I took part in the auditions for 'Cinema Paradiso'."

Tornatore was looking for a young woman to play the part of Elena. She had to resemble the girl in another iconic Italian movie, "La Dolce Vita" directed by Federico Fellini.

"Apparently I looked very much like her so I got the role," she said, adding that opposed to her colleagues, she had never studied acting. "All of a sudden, when I was on stage, it just came all by itself."

"I always had a great passion for the cinema, but that was it. Playing Elena's role made me understand that what's important is what you learn on the stage," Nano said.

"Once I realized that acting could actually be a real job, which you could get paid for doing something fun, I thought it was the most beautiful profession in the world because you end up using all parts of yourself: body, imagination, emotions," she said.

According to Nano, "Cinema Paradiso" is one of the best movies ever made. "It's a beautiful story with a universal, transcultural appeal and archetypal characters. Elena represents infancy's lost love, and the entire movie talks about man and life. It was made in the best way possible by a team of professionals."

For Nano, playing Elena was a deeply nurturing experience, crucial for the development of her future career as "Cinema Paradiso" soon became a fountainhead for all Italian cinema directors.

"Giuseppe Tornatore is one of the few who have a complete vision and exploit all image characteristics to create a new dimension: words, sounds, feelings. He knows exactly what he wants from the beginning; the film is already there in his mind. He's a real master," she said.

After starring in Tornatore's masterpiece, Nano also played in several Italian movies and television soap operas.

Nano is currently starring in a French film production.

Source: Xinhua
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