The actress and interstitial cystitis: “The acute phase lasted three years, I’m not out of it, it’s not cured”
He tells himself and reveals himself in a ruthlessly sincere way, with the courage of his lunar nature, his chiaroscuro. Like living flesh (Rizzoli) is Francesca’s self-portrait. Not of Francesca Neri which must please everyone. The actress remains in the background. In the foreground there is the devastating relationship with her mother and the disease that changed her life, forcing her to remain locked in a room of her house, blocked by that body of hers idolized by everyone.
Why do you call it an autogeography, is it a mapping of the mind and body?
«A mapping of the soul. It is not an autobiography. Something about the cinema, but not even everything, compared to an intimate story that I wanted to do was not significant ».
You have a chronic disease that causes you great pain, interstitial cystitis.
«The acute phase lasted three years, I am not out of it, it is not cured: you learn to manage it and not to provoke it so that it is not disabling. The first two years, I who do not believe in social media, have been in a chat of women suffering from this pathology. Kind of like alcoholics anonymous? Yes – he smiles – exactly ».
Was it difficult to be around her?
“It was impossible. I wanted to be left alone. I had to protect Claudio and Rocco, my son, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it either, as I’m the head of the family who takes care of everything. In fact, I was away for three years, but I was there, I was there in the house with them, and that’s the most terrible thing. I toyed with the idea of suicide. I spent months playing burraco online at night. My lockdown lasted three years. And when it came for everyone, with the pandemic, I was better off because I shared the situation of others. Claudio is my opposite, yet here we are again, I was seduced by his hidden feminine side. He wanted a story, I told him to go and see The waves of fate by Lars von Trier. Bess, the protagonist, is not crazy, she was just born in the wrong place and at the wrong time, like me. I was shocked. Claudio told me: I didn’t understand anything. We met in Love each other a little by Vanzina, my first time as an extra, he protagonist. We have been together for twenty-five years, if I hadn’t had this complicity and this affection I would not have made it. Rocco was around eighteen, he relied on his father and it was my big worry. The greatest pain was for my son, I wrote the book for him ».
What did Claudio tell you about his confession?
“She didn’t think I could be that honest. He says it’s on the verge of pornography, men who have read it have had a hard time, have had to stop, touch hard things to deal with. Another positive figure is Kadija, who supports us at home. Without having the tools, he supported me with boundless affection, dedication and an approach different from those who loved me and ended up suffering with me. He said that the body gives off heat which is life and if it is not channeled in the right way, inflammation is created; he said that everything that happens happens for a reason and you can’t not accept it, you have to go through it and ride it ”.
After she went to a thousand doctors …
«Urology, acupuncture, ayurveda, nutropuncture, ozone therapy. Up to the luminary who offered me an intravaginal massage. But what do I get penetrated by a stranger? ».
Forgive the question, and if you don’t want to, don’t answer: sex?
“You don’t think about it, but when you think about it, it’s a sign that you are alive. A new way of having intimacy with your partner is invented, you have to make do “.
When did you start getting better?
«I have found a balance, I have to learn to defend it. I began to deprive myself of things that could trigger a reaction. Air conditioning, heat, certain foods. The bladder is a wall and if it is injured, internal wounds are created. I know them well, I also have them in my soul ».
She tells of her mother’s total lack of affection.
“I wouldn’t have written the book if it wasn’t there anymore. It is the thing that marked me … I learned to live without a mother but with a mother present. She did not understand the disease, she said that when she was young she too suffered. She was a simple and humble woman, without curiosity, unable to express feelings. He has never paid me a compliment in his life, never squeezed in his arms, never buried his fingers in my hair. My terror was to become like her. ‘
Did the analysis help you?
“Of course. I’ve been doing it for twenty-five years, it’s a luxury, there’s a stage where you realize your limits. The first time I was a child, they sent me my parents when I said, without having any idea of my future: “When I grow up I will find infinity”. Today I have a deep knowledge of myself. I learned to listen to my body, which is not interested in the work I do and knows my unconscious better than me and the analysts, the emotions go from there. ”
In her feelings she was a serial traitor …
“When the emotions went beyond the guard level, I would either run away or betray. A defensive tactic. I am restless and the restless run away. I was cheating because I loved too much. Never having had the sex game disconnected from love, it was a way of hurting each other and me too. Now I’m afraid of getting old, not dying. The soul never fully heals, but where is it? There is always a tear ».
What do you miss from Francesca from before?
«I miss the playful part, the disguise that is playing dolls. I lack creativity. Before it was all a going, being there, appearing, feeling seen, recognized. Then there is the downside. Despite the covers and my face in the cinemas of half of Italy, I was still me, with my frailties. From that crazy period I remember, at an event, the glue stuck to Bulgari’s earrings. I was watched by the bodyguards, who knows, maybe they thought I would take them home ».
Did he physically like himself?
“I couldn’t stand the nose or Adam’s apple, too pronounced. I hated my forehead, too high and wide, at home we call it the airport. My delicate skin, a touch is enough for a mark to remain. It’s absurd to be praised for my skin. Do I get agitated? Herpes. Do I purify myself? Eczema. Do I suffer? Swelling. Do I get anxiety? Redness of all kinds, diffuse, in patches, spots. And then the mistake of the red lips, which I was able to remedy ».
How did the world of cinema, such a conformist and cynical environment, react to your illness and your farewell to the cinema?
«You said well, that’s right. On the one hand, there was disbelief. The actresses asked me, but how did you manage to disconnect? Others said I was so drugged that I couldn’t stand up. My friends are not part of the cinema. But I remember Massimo Troisi, a poet of life and love that I recognized similar to me. And Pupi Avati who described me in a few words: “His rare, profound gaze of someone who knows life. In fact, there is always tears in her smile ”. To recharge the batteries I’m on my own. I am not weak, I am fragile, unable to let things slip, I think too much, I abhor mediation. But I know how to love, to share. Those who don’t know me say I’m extravagant, haughty, depressed. I distrust those who have not been depressed at least once ».
Do you remember your arrival in Rome as an actress?
“I was a girl with a suitcase who doesn’t know why she came but knows why she went. I wanted to start a new adventure. As a girl I had enrolled in a theater class because I was convinced that I was out of my mind, not to become famous. I did everything, the black slave with Richard Gere and Hanna Schygulla’s stunt double. ‘
«The flesh trembles is the film in which he crystallized his style, he wanted me for a woman who represents the sense of guilt. Could I refuse? Here I am, it’s me, I told him. It was two months of friendship and complicity, Pedro used every word I spoke. Suddenly on the set I found myself alone. He had abandoned me for the film. One day I took courage and asked for an audience. He froze me: I don’t understand you. It’s his way of having control over the actors. The set is every time a chance to have a friend. It happened to me with the hairdresser, the costume designer … And with Pupi Avati. Most of the time you are betrayed. ‘
«The ages of Lulu it was a challenge with myself and with my mother. The audition was a monologue and me masturbating with a vibrator. My mother didn’t speak to me for months. Without social media, I suffered insults, anonymous phone calls, stalking … Later, in Italy they saw me as an intellectual and in Spain as an object of desire. Tragicomic fate. In that film I learned about my dark side ».
Is this book the elaboration of a bereavement?
«Of a mourning and an epiphany. I am trying to understand who I have become. I found myself in solitude, which was not isolation; in silence, which was not silence. This is me: if you criticize the book it means you don’t like me. I put my face on it. My ozone therapist told me: you are like Sacchi, the coach who at the height of his career chose to retire: he was too involved. Today I am free from the need to please everyone. I am more peaceful. I can’t wait to go to bookstores to talk about it ».
September 28, 2021 (change September 28, 2021 | 09:37)
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