Old Women, New Romanticism // An Exhibition by Federico Peltretti
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I met Federico Peltretti a couple of days after the opening of his exhibition ‘Old Women, New Romanticism’ in Bologna, Italy: 3 8mm short-movies in-camera edit on 3 different interpretations of Romanticism. Federico is a very talented Italian photographer, with many years of experience in the fashion system in New York. During our chat he told me a bit about himself, his work, his approach to photography, how much he enjoys listening to old movies and falling asleep with Paris, Texas of Ry Cooder.
Federico, can you tell me how this idea came up in the first place, I mean why Romanticism as theme for your first video work?
I think it was really because of the absence of poetry around me. When I thought for the first time about doing these videos I had been living in NY for about 4 years. During that time one thing that I really missed was to have some poetry in my life, like for example the possibility to watch movies d’essay. I am someone who loves watching, but even just listening to old movies. Just the voices of those actors make me relax and feel good. And the stories…those movies really had a story, something to tell you.
I think this lack of poetry made me suffer in some way, and this sufference was the trigger, what inspired me to make these videos.To give myself some poetry. I think that through sufference you really see what is important for you.
How did you transform this idea into a movie?
Well, I did pretty much everything and with very limited budget and resources. I chose the models, the customs, the music and I did the lights. The rest we can safely say that is the result of casualty…also because I think that fundamentally nothing happens just by chance.
In terms of reference and inspiration, the first movies is inspired by François Truffeau. I made the model wear the wedge shoes on the beach because I wanted her to express a sense of imperfect gracefulness. The second movie is a hipnotic gipsy loop. I feel like a gipsy, in the sense that for me home is wherever you feel good and it doesn’t have to be always the same place. Then the third and last one (also my favourite one) is a reference to Fritz Lang’s cinema, made of long aching movies, the kind that I love. The three of them really represent a path for me along the idea of Romanticism and what is left today of it.
So, is Romanticism still alive?
Yes, Romanticism is alive, but today to be a romantic you need to be classy even more than before. I think that women should feel the need themselves to have class and not only to be object, even if beautiful one. For me Romanticism comes from that, the ability to seduce someone with something more that just beauty, even something hardly perceptible like a the way of walking or a gesture. But for many nowadays Romanticism is just like pornography.
Here is the teaser of Federico Peltretti’s video project:
How is Federico Peltretti as a photographer? What does he like?
I love to be free and I love to leave some casualty in my photos. I am not someone that takes many photos. I know, you feel when you got the right one. Then the rest are just images, reproductions of the photography. Images are like clichè, they lack of ideas and poetry. Then I also think that is very important to contaminate yourself, with people, places, cultures to get inspired. But you need to be careful and understand who are the right people to have around, the ones that do you good and sometimes this might mean that is better to be just by yourself.
You said that you’ve always used to watch (and listen to) a lot of movies. Can you suggest me some?
Mmmh, well, first of all I should say that I only watch certain movies at certain times of the day or when there is a specific weather. I think that when you screen a movie you fill the room and create a certain atmosphere so it’s very important to take in consideration also the external elements.
For example, a movie that you should absolutely watch when it rains in the afternoon is “L’homme et la Femme” of De Luc. Or a movies for the morning is “À bout de souffle” of Jean-Luc Godard. And the movie that I would take with me on the moon is “Blade Runner” of Ridley Scott.
You can see Federico Peltretti’s work on his website. Here are some of my favourite. Thank you very much, Federico!
[Images courtesy by Federico Peltretti]