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Luca Ragazzi and Gustav Hofer romantically deromanticize Italy
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Italy: Love It or Leave It

Gay couple films road trip documentary in an Italian style

01.22.2013

What could be more romantic than watching a movie together? Making a movie together. In Italy. About Italy. Luca Ragazzi and  Gustav Hofer, a couple since 1999, did exactly that in 2011. Their film Italy: Love It or Leave It, a documentary meets road trip, attempts to answer one life-altering question: should they stay in Italy or leave?

Hofer and Ragazzi's autobiographical 2008 film Suddenly Last Winter won the Manfred Salzgeber Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and Italy: Love It or Leave It is garnering similar acclaim.

Brian Bantugan: You did a lot of travelling in Italy in the film. What do you do when you're not filming?
 
Luca and Gustav: For the past 18 months, since the film premiered at the Milan Film Festival, we have been touring around the world from festival to festival. Travelling that much made us homesick, but every time we get finally back to Italy, already after a few days -- especially now that we are in election campaign -- we want to catch the next cab back to the airport.


 
The Italian-made Fiat is a major star in your work. What's the most exciting thing you've done inside a Fiat?
 
If you have ever entered an old Fiat 500, you'll realize that there is not much that you can do -- apart from driving and feeling every single streethole in your butt.


 

We see a wall full of books and DVDs in your new home. Who's the bookworm and what books does he devour? Who's the film geek and what films inspire him?
 
We've lived together now for 14 years, and if we had The War of the Roses, it'd be a hard work for the judge to decide who's the owner of what. The movie collection is full of classics in black and white, slapstick comedies with Katharine Hepburn and Italian masterpieces, from Fellini to Visconti, from Rossellini to Scola.
 
Of the places you visited in Italy, which is the most memorable and why?
 
During our trip around Italy we discovered places we had not known before. It is incredible how many treasures this country has and how many of them are still totally underrated. Like Isola Capo Rizzuto, in Calabria: it was magical when we shot the scene of the castle as if it was floating on water with the sun rising behind it.

In Italy, some people rally against women wearing the skimpiest clothes on TV. Will they rally against men in thongs?
 
The way women are represented on Italian TV is like a permanent bunga-bunga party. There is no room for real-life women with more brain and less breasts. The men are always dressed in a suit, old and usually bad-looking. We don't even want to imagine them in thongs. 
 
Berlusconi: Love him or leave him? Why?
 
Leave him. He is one of the people responsible for the decline of this once beautiful country.
 
Mussolini: Love him or leave him? Why? 
 
He left already, thank god. And we don't need another one.
 
Clooney: Love him or leave him? Why?
 
Love him. Who doesn't? He has a nice house and we know the address.
 
Is Italy running out of gorgeous gay men? 
 
No worry, Italy is not running out of gorgeous guys. The only thing is that many are still in the closet, but with a friendly hand, they will come out.


Italy: Love It or Leave It screens Fri, Jan 25 to Thurs, Janu 31 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St W. bloorcinema.com

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