Blood and Booze: A Drink With Italian Horror Comedy Director Michele Senesi
When booze is your muse, it’s hard not to be a rowdy nuisance. But tipsy delinquency was Italian director Michele Senesi’s very intention when he released 2008’s Bumba Atomika, a punch drunk necrophiliac horror flick where wine and blood flow in equal measure – maybe even in quantities large enough to quench Italy’s parched indie film scene.
The Beijing International Movie Center is gulping down Senesi’s spirit of intoxicated debauchery by serving up Bumba on March 25 at the China Museum of Digital Arts (CMoDA) as the first in a series of art house Sunday screenings that will run throughout the spring season. Senesi will be there in person to whet our appetites and field audience questions. Beforehand, he poured out a sample in an interview for TheBeijinger.com – dabbling in everything from which Monty Python alum he’s collaborating with, to why an Italian might call you “bumba” if you’re ill-behaved at the bar.
What kind of impact did Bumba Atomika have on Italy’s film scene?
Italian movies, cinemas and television are owned by the same persons, and most of the movies produced with big budgets or public funding are made only to be sold for television, digital channels, and sponsorships. So it's almost impossible to shoot movies, like Bumba, that are too violent to be shown on television. They usually use easy comedies or love stories for teenagers.
Bumba Atomika definitely didn’t reignite Italian cinema, because the mainstream film system did not give any feedback about this project. The biggest thing my movie accomplished was letting many crews and individual cinematographers meet up and follow the same ideal. Now all these people are currently working together for new interesting productions, far from the mainstream Italian scene.
What inspired the title Bumba Atomika?
It’s the title of a song and album of Kurnalcool, the Italian metal group whom the movie’s soundtrack is taken from. And the term "bumba" is a way, in my regional dialect, to describe both when you're too drunk or a really strong cocktail.
If I were your bartender, what would you order right now?
In recent years I've been more selective. I don't drink any more beer. Only good wine, good rum and local "grappa.” That's a strong Italian brandy distilled from wine.
I’ve read that Hong Kong horror movies were a huge inspiration for Bumba Atomika. Why?
Italian genres are very close to Hong Kong’s cinema of the 80s and 90s. They had a similar idea of action and choreography, and a common passion for food on screen.
What film project are you working on next, and what is inspiriting it?
I’m working on the production of a feature film directed by Federico Sfascia, a comic artist and independent director. The movie is called I.O.U., with the participation of the English director Terry Gilliam and the Japanese performer Cay Izumi. For this movie we're using classic camera trick special effects and also digital effects.
The CMoDA spring indie films series will begin with Bumba Atomika this Sunday, Mar 25 at 3pm. Screenings will be held at the venue every Sunday in April, for more details visit http://www.beijingfilmfest.org/schedule.