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Italian star praises Australia’s multicultural mix

2 October 20140 comments
Nadir Caselli (left) in a scene from University: More Than Friends. Picture: Supplied

Nadir Caselli (left) in a scene from University: More Than Friends. Picture: Supplied

Rising star of Italian cinema Nadir Caselli says that for her Australia means multiculturalism and ‘curious’ animals. “I wanted to see a kangaroo, I haven’t seen it yet … they’re curious, I have to see one,” she said.

Ms Caselli said Australia was also recognised internationally for its multicultural characteristics.
“There are many cultural differences and … if a country can have this faculty of sharing different traditions, cultures, mentalities, that’s a great thing,” she said.

Cultural acceptance is something Ms Caselli is well versed in having studied languages at Rome’s Roma Tre University.

She explored ‘linguistic mediation’ which she said involved the study of languages “with some point of mediation in the sense of creating communications and peaceful relationships between countries”.

To that end, Ms Caselli said Italy was lagging behind on the asylum seeker issue. Like Australia, it had come under fire from the United Nations for its “unacceptable” treatment of refugees that have washed up on its shores.

“I think we have to improve this aspect because Italy is often separate, has separate views of this [issue] and I hope we will go on to host needy people,” Ms Caselli said.

“We have to help them, it’s our duty. We cannot pretend they are not there. They are in need, they came from Africa or South Asia, they are escaping from their country not for vacation [but] because they really need … we must help them,” she said.

A message from Nadir to Australian Italians

The 25-year-old beauty, who began her career as a model, said she fell into acting by accident. “I grew up in Tuscany where the [hub of Italian cinema] is a little bit far because we have it in Rome. “We are far from that environment.”

She said her modelling agency put her forward for some castings “and after two or three I had been picked up so I took the chance of being an actress”.

Ms Caselli made her screen debut at the age of 18 in director Matteo Rovere’s 2008 drama Bad Girls (Un Gioco Da Ragazze). Since then she has successfully straddled the world of the big and small screens having appeared in seven feature films, eight TV series and a telemovie.

The Italian starlet, who has worked alongside spaghetti western legend Terrence Hill, was in Melbourne to present her film University: More Than Friends at the opening night of the Italian Film Festival.

The comedy sees the testosteronic harmony of an all-male share house disrupted when three women move in. Six disparate characters – Carlo (Simone Riccioni), Georgia (Nadir Caselli), Faraz (Brice Martinet), Alessandro (Primo Reggiani), Francesca (Sara Cardinaletti) and Emma (Maria Chiara Centorami) – are forced to find common ground amid the chaos of their daily existence. They eventually come to realise that they have become more than just friends. They have found in each other what they lacked – an extended family.

Ms Caselli said she drew from her own experiences for her character Georgia.

“My character is this girl, a little bit insecure and she feels lonely because … she grew up in this family with this father working as a diplomat. So they travelled all around the world and she never put down roots. Once she grew up she wanted to settle down in the city and she decided to go to Rome and attend a university of fashion in order to become someone … building her new, better life with her independence and autonomy,” she said.

Film magazine Fabrique du Cinema recently named her as one of Italy’s six most promising actors but Ms Caselli said she had a long way to go in terms of perfecting her art. She names Aussie Anna Torv who is known for her role as FBI agent Olivia Dunham in the US TV series Fringe as the actress she most admires.

Born and bred in Pisa, Ms Caselli is proud of her city’s world famous landmark.  The leaning tower of Pisa may be perceived as the only international drawcard but she said the picture perfect town offers so much more.

Along with churches and monuments it is also a great place to live Ms Caselli said.

“Of course for tourists if you have just one day to spend there you have to see the leaning tower,” she said.

But, according to the actress, a comparatively little-known annual festival should also be on the traveller’s must-do list.

La Luminara or “festival of lights” is a traditional annual event (June 16) commemorating the city’s patron saint San Ranieri. Ms Caselli said artificial lights were switched off in favour of illuminating the city centre and banks of the Arno River with thousands of wax candles.

“You can see in the evening just the light of these little candles and [there’s] fireworks and music, it’s great,” she said.

The festival has been included among Italy’s candidates seeking ‘intangible heritage’ status in UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This list protects and promotes cultural expressions and practices for generations to come.

The 2014 Lavazza Italian Film Festival screens nationally at Palace cinemas from 17 September in Victoria, ending on 22 October in Tasmania.

Cesira Colleluori
AMES Staff Writer