An interview with MARIA RITA PANCI, director of “IL FUOCO (The fire and the previous lives)”

An interview with MARIA RITA PANCI, director of “IL FUOCO (The fire and the previous lives)”

                                                                                                 Maria Rita Panci

Cinema is a big screen where the director
manages to share pure emotions with the
I believe that the film being shot should never
be different from what the director would like to
go and see.
The idea of cinema is to involve the viewer in a
critical and emotional process, refining the
ability of the mind and heart. To do this you
need to learn a “feel” of people’s emotions and
a perception of needs and feelings, and a
sensitivity that leads us to see the world in a
grain of sand, to hold infinity in the palm of your
hand and eternity in one hour.”



My name is Maria Rita Panci, I’m born in Rome on 07/09/1963. With the theater I had the opportunity to express myself, and my intent was to give and receive emotions! Since I was a child I performed in the theater with the performances organized by the school! Becoming an adult I wanted to continue this magnificent journey in
depth, also taking care of the script, and the direction !!! I believe that art is a magnificent expression of one’s soul!

I have decades of experiences as theatrical actress, screenwriter, director. Indeed, since 2012 I’ve worked at “Il Teatro Civico di Rocca di Papa” appearing in a wide variety of roles: for example, I was the leading actress in the play “L’Eredità”, “48 ore per uccidere”, “La cena dei cretini” di Weber.




Your story is composed of a fascinating ambivalence: there is the village and its amplitude, anthropological and visual and there is the protagonist, whose drama takes place in the depths of his mind. Your film seems to be interested in both aspects so we would like to know more about how you designed this film. Did you already have in mind the main scenes and suggestions or did you let yourself be guided by the beauty of the places and the characters?

While my pen was writing I had in mind both the places where I would have shot the film and the scenes and landscapes that I would have filmed !!! In particular, my choice of landscapes fell on the magnificent beauty of Rocca di Papa, the place where I live and which is, for me, the most beautiful country of the Castelli Romani! Then there was Rome, the city where I was born, with the Teatro Arcobaleno, where the great Alberto Sordi shot scenes from the magnificent film “An American in Rome”, in fact I wanted the plaque dedicated to him to be taken up in the film. The Holistic Center belongs to my cousin and is the place where I took the Reiki levels. The house where we shot the initial scene is my dear friend’s mother’s house!





You trained artistically in theater as a director and screenwriter and this is your first (excellent) cinematographic test. What did you find in the cinema?


Theater and cinema are two different forms of art, with different languages, and the interpreter must adapt his acting skills to the expressive art he is facing, following the guide of the screenwriter and / or director. In this case, the screenwriter and the director were the same person! I, therefore, was lucky enough to be able to convey to each character the emotion and involvement that I felt while writing my screenplay! For this reason Cinematography and Theater are different and require different skills. However, they are not two areas so distinctly separate. Since its inception, cinema owes a lot to theater, which is a kind of noble father. Cinema from its origins had theater as its great reference point. Not only for the subjects, but also for the use of the usual spaces of the theater. The first cinema’s projections took place inside the theaters. And the same production of the first subjects took place on the stage of the theaters.






Is it a new form of expression that gives you something other than theater?

The theater is a direct relationship with the public, where an immediate giving and receiving of emotions is created and it is beautiful! The cinema, however, has an effect on me, as a spectator, much more engaging, because watching a film, when I like the story that is filmed, I identify myself so much that it is as if I were part of it too, that’s why I believe that cinema is a very fascinating sector! My desire was to leave an indelible mark in this life, to who will come after me! So I wanted to experience, in the school I attended, this magnificent life experience, writing this script that, in my opinion, should have gone straight to people’s hearts!



Your film seems to come from a personal vision, which has nothing in common with many other independent short films. Where did this mysterious and attractive story come from?


As I said, this story represents a cross-section of my life! After losing my husband, about 6 years ago, I approached the holistic sector and took III (third) level Reiki. Reiki helped me to accept my pain and to transform it into inner serenity! Unfortunately I was unable to convey this serenity to my 16 years old son who, after the loss of his father, suffered from panic attacks! He did not accept the passage of the father to another life, so I took him to sessions of NLP (neuro linguistic programming) through which he managed to find the strength he had inside him and to pull it out! In that period we both underwent regressive hypnosis sessions where we managed to get in touch with our deepest self! During the regressive hypnosis session, I had a view of a previous life! I am convinced that our mind can create phobias and fears even from a past life experience.


In your film, the abysses of the mind are at the center of the narrative. It is an intriguing world that you have been able to build with a suggestive and disturbing staging. Do you think that cinema can manage to represent everything?

I think so, you just have to be very careful with the choice of the locations and the dialogues that are written and made to act by the actors. When reading the script, you have to transmit all the emotions that you want to bring to the audience! For the success of a film, the editing and the music you choose are also very important. I think it is essential to be able to convey to the viewers the same emotion and the same pathos that the screenwriter felt when he wrote his story.


Do you think there is an image for every sensation, even unspeakable?


Yes, it’s fundamental to grasp its essence, because only in this way it will be possible to transmit to others any sensation, even unspeakable!