Matilde Gioli will be Fernanda Wittgens, the first director of the Brera Art Gallery. In prime time on Rai1

Tuesday, Jan. 31, Rai1 will air Fernanda, the film that Rai Fiction is dedicating to the story of Fernanda Wittgens, the first director of the Brera Art Gallery during the World War II era. Playing her is Matilde Gioli.

Tuesday, Jan. 31 in prime time on Rai1 will air Fernanda, a TV film co-produced by Rai Fiction and Red Film, directed by Maurizio Zaccaro, dedicated to Fernanda Wittgens, the first woman to direct the Pinacoteca di Brera, as well as a great critic and art historian, during the period of World War II. A female figure who was important to the society and culture of the time, as she personally and physically saved many works of art from the destruction of war and bombing, and who also personally saved Jewish families from Nazi persecution.

Playing this important role will be Matilde Gioli. The cast includes Eduardo Valdarnini, Maurizio Marchetti, Valeria Cavalli, Francesca Beggio and Lavinia Guglielman.

“Fernanda, played masterfully by Matilde Gioli, is the symbol of Rai today to remember Remembrance Day,” said Maria Pia Ammirati, director of Rai Fiction, during the presentation of the film. “In Fernanda there was so much good, a true heroine of yesteryear, an extraordinary woman who thought not only about saving art, but also about saving a world that was in pure catastrophe, a world that ended in darkness and that will never have to return to darkness. Fernanda helps us to think that the memory of humanity must always think that man is the same in all situations. Fernanda is the first woman in a series of films that Rai Fiction has decided to prepare to celebrate great female figures and to make them known, especially to the younger generations, and which will feature three other female protagonists: Margherita Hack, Alda Merini and Tina Anselmi. Fernanda was a heroine because she saved art, she saved Jews from Nazi-Fascist persecution. She was a great scholar and the first director of the Brera Art Gallery. I’m very happy with the film and happy that Matilde accepted the challenge of reintroducing herself as such a special character, bringing freshness, novelty, youth. the film is not just a biopic, but there is the setting behind a changing world. There is the big Story behind it.”

Indeed, the film is a dive into the History of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. It tells the story of a young woman superintendent, almost unknown to the public. A story that it is important to make known especially to young people.

“It was a remarkable job of approaching the character of Fernanda,” explained director Marizio Zaccaro. “We tried to work on situations that we did not know: intimacy, feelings, we know everything about her in terms of her work at the Brera Art Gallery, her help to Jewish families, but we never knew anything about what happened before. We know that since she was a child her father took her to the Brera Picture Gallery, so it was nice to start from childhood: to tell about a family that was not well off, with more than seven siblings. in the writing stage we therefore built the story by supporting the various weights of the dramaturgy. There is a lot of art in the film; it is a tribute to Fernanda’s Milaneseness. We also did a lot of special effects work because we brought Brera back to the look of the time.”

Matilde Gioli "It was a challenging job. It was the first time for me both to play such an important character, so present, and to give life, voice and body to a woman who really existed. I immediately began my own imaginary dialogue with Fernanda, in which I promised to remain as close to reality as possible and not to offend her in any way, to respect what she was with the tools I had. The biographies we relied on, especially The Lark by Giovanna Ginex (who was also present on the set), were crucial, as was information about who Fernanda really was: how she spoke, what tone of voice, what expressions she made, how she walked, how she combed her hair. There was an incredible amount of work behind it to really become Fernanda.

Also in the cast is Eduardo Valdarnini, who plays Giovanni, a worker at the Brera Art Gallery, initially without any interest because he does not understand what he has around him, but seeing Fernanda’s courage he understands the value of beauty and art. Fernanda is central to Giovanni’s character in this sense. Someone like Giovanni will surely have existed but he is actually an archetypal character. The message surely to be conveyed is that through courage one can arrive at beauty.

Matilde Gioli will be Fernanda Wittgens, the first director of the Brera Art Gallery. In prime time on Rai1
Matilde Gioli will be Fernanda Wittgens, the first director of the Brera Art Gallery. In prime time on Rai1

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