Interview: Ferzan Ozpetek, director Fasten your seatbelts

An all-consuming and forbidden love. Years that go by, illness and equilibrium disruption. The journey towards being cured emotionally and physically. With Fasten Your Seatbelts, his tenth feature length film, Ferzan Ozpetek returns to his favourite themes: love, friendship, and the way in which one reacts to unexpected events. The film, which is part of the Unexpected Love Stories collection, will be available on video on demand from 27 June.


Why the title? Fasten Your Seatbelts?
Ferzan Ozpetek: The title refers to the fact that sometimes in life, sooner or later, everything happens turbulently, exactly like in an airplane: a big moment touches you and you need to fasten your seatbelt. Here, I tell the story of a couple (Elena, played by Kasia Smutniak and Antonia, played Francesco Arca) facing a number of difficult challenges over the course of thirteen years. But the film speaks especially of time, friendship and illness through the lenses of a great love story. Now that I am 55, I know that what remains strongly with me is love, friendship and solidarity between people.

What inspired you for this film?
A couple of friends. One evening, about six years ago, I organised a dinner party for a friend of mine who had not been well and had changed a great deal physically. I asked her, perhaps indelicately, whether her husband and her were still sleeping together. And she said, “not only we also still desire each other! Little turns men off.” This sentence made me laugh but also touched me. I felt the love between them despite the challenges and changes over time.

The film leaves little to the imagination in terms of illness: chemotherapy, hair loss, love making in a hospital…
One always speaks about illness with trepidation. Nowadays, people want to laugh when they go to the cinema, but in this film, there are tears as well as laughter, there is emotion. The story first of all seems light, then after thirteen years, things go in a different direction: all the characters are going through significant changes, and their certainties are put into question. As for the love scene in the hospital, the consultants we had read our script told us it was exactly like this: in 90% of cases, nurses will leave husbands and wives together for a while and they make love, or at least they try to. But it is not difficult to find space for laughter through this pain: my friend told me how much her wig was on her mind – even when she was traveling around the world. So we thought of an eccentric hairdresser character played by Luisa Ranieri.

To learn more about Fasten Your Seatbelts:

25 June 2016, by Cineuropa