The film faithfully follows (except for the inevitable cuts) the Sophoclean text that the director has preceded by a “prologue” that introduces and recalls the events that are at the origin of the tragedy.
The film was set in Casalborgone, a small town in the province of Turin, and thus placed in a peasant world that through landscapes, faces, gestures, the sound of voices, ancient customs, was ideally connected but without forcing with the Greek myth of Electra, which is indeed of peasant origin.
The choice of the interpreters also goes in this sense: they are locals who had no previous experience as actors. The choice of costumes wanted to underline the continuity over time of the dramatic story, and therefore she basically kept the clothes of today with some light touch of dating only for older women.
The character of Elettra is played by three different interpreters, to underline the psychological and dramatic evolution of the protagonist, while the use of music, never in the background but always with the performers on stage, recalls its weight and specific use in the classical tragic theater.
Filming was carried out with technical crew and artistic collaborators (director of photography, costume designer, set designer) all from the Piedmontese Rai headquarters.
“Every film for me is born from an act of love, or from the crossing of many loves, and each one has roots that are lost far away. I love Greece (it is my second country, if I can ever say I have a first one) and I like to look for signs of what has been in her people. This is how Electra began for me, a certain summer (filming with my Super8, in Amarinthos …). I love and study myths, but I like to connect them to us, feel them alive, think that life and all of us who struggle to live are ancient, we repeat ourselves, we have already been, the cycles repeat themselves, close and then reopen once more.
I love the word, but only that of those who are narrators and tellers and the other very high word of poets and delusional or visionaries: I like to listen to those who speak about themselves, those who tell what happens to them, as a child I listened with my mouth open, pretending to nothing about my mother’s friends talking and talking (I then filmed people talking and telling about themselves for years). Sophocles, on the other hand, is the word ‘high’ and allows me to make a clear leap, to detach myself suddenly from the conventions of spoken language …
I love the image as a vision, precise, rich, my making cinema also comes from my need for images (it will also be that I do not dream or I do not remember dreams and then it will be that I need to replace all that black that comes from night with the visions I don’t have, so I create them with the cinema: it is no coincidence that Elettra begins with the darkness of the night and in the end returns to the dark). Why the Greek theater? I have already said a little. Sacrality and ritual. Rite and sacredness. To rediscover the sacred and rituality, therefore. And also to make my first “narrative” film according to certain conventions, that is, with plot, characters, etc. And for the sake of contamination and reinvention (I don’t believe in genres, I don’t know what theater is today, what cinema is today).
Why Elettra? and why Sophocles? because it belongs to the history of a family, and what’s more grim (strangely, only when we were shooting the various scenes did I fully realize how sad and terrible the story was). In addition, it is a tragedy, in my opinion, in the feminine where women however fight with the masculine that is in them (and I am interested in exploring the masculine and feminine that are in us).