There he was. Italian writer, professor, translator etc., Claudio Magris from Trieste. In Copenhagen to present his new book that comes out September 20 in a Danish translation: “I blinde”, original title: “Alla Cieca”. A gentle, smiling and passionate man who talked to us for 2 hours about his new book and his way of working.
What has that to do with film? Nothing… but for a documentarian it was an enormous inspiration to hear Magris tell about his way of working and his way of talking about reality.
“I am obsessed with exactitude”, he said and explained that he does a huge amount of research before he starts writing a book. His interest in history, and especially in the history of the so-called Mitteleurope, is well known for all who has read his “Danube”. This part of the world, or maybe a bit further to the South to ex-Yugoslavia is very present in the new book. The horrors of the 20th century is what occupies the writer more and more. he said.
“Human reality is more original than invention”, Magris said, and explained that when he writes, he tries to write linear but always ends up with a mosaic of what he called “objective reality”, into which he introduces one or more imaginary characters.
“I am constantly building up a structure through contrasts”, he said, and I was thinking about documentary dramaturgical principles of contrast and drama.
Back to the exactitudes… and the research that Magris does to be – my words – precise, exact, objective, true. To be in control, and from there let the story unfold. The same kind of obsession that Luchino Visconti had when he made “Death in Venice” and “The Leopard” where the scenography had to be exact.
Magris books has these many layers that make them fascinating to read. About “the unbelievable originality of reality”. Isn’t that what all documentary people are searching to capture? Why not do like Magris – mix the essay, the fiction and the non-fiction?
PS. Hello, Italian production companies… we still miss a film about this big European writer! Make it, please.
PPS. For TV. The reason why I put this in the section of TV.