May 27, 2024

hollywood authentic, cannes dispatch, cannes film festival, greg williams, hollywood authentic
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando

‘This movie is the celebration of the journey of my life,’ Neapolitan writer-director Paolo Sorrentino told the audience at the Cannes premiere of his latest, Parthenope, as he recalled the reception he’d had at the Riviera festival two decades earlier. In fact, his first time at the festival was 20 years to the day: The Consequences of Love premiered at Cannes in 2004 on 21 May, catapulting Sorrentino in cinema’s consciousness as a unique artist, and his career has been hand-in-hand with the festival ever since. 

He won jury prizes in 2008 for Il Divo and 2011 for This Must Be the Place, as well as having seven of his works compete for the Palme d’Or and many play in competition. What better place then, to showcase his second love/hate letter to his hometown (after 2021’s Hand Of God) in Parthenope, the coming-of-age story of a beautiful young woman (Celeste Dalla Porta) finding her agency in 70s and 80s Capri and Naples?

Though the film focuses, in every way, on Porta’s Parthenope, Gary Oldman makes a powerful and haunting cameo as author John Cheever – a melancholic alcoholic who provides a salient chapter in the young woman’s life. Oldman makes no pretence of having ‘manifested’ the role, having been a fan of Sorrentino’s work and putting him at the top of his wish list to collaborate with. 

‘When I heard about [Oldman being a fan] I immediately called him up,’ Sorrentino says. ‘I consider him a great actor so I was truly flattered.’ Oldman worked a handful of days on Capri essaying Cheever, and was joined on set by Greg Williams who captured photos of the production, including the film’s dreamlike poster image of Porta swimming like a mermaid through the azure waters surrounding the island. He also shot the cast and crew at the pre-premiere cocktails, red carpet and after party at Picasso’s former villa in Cannes – travelling with Sorrentino by car as his two-decade anniversary in the city unspooled in suitably celebratory fashion.

‘I’m very grateful and very excited to be here,’ he told Greg in his hotel room before his premiere. ‘For me, Cannes is cinema!’

parthenope, paolo sorrentino, celeste dalla porte, gary oldman, silvio orlando, daniele rienzo
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando
paolo sorrentino, parthenope, celeste dalla porta, daniele rienzo, gary oldman, silvio orlando

Acquired by A24 before it premiered in Cannes, Parthenope is slated for a cinema release later this year when audiences off the Croisette will get a taste of Sorrentino’s latest intoxicating fever dream, a movie that is the closest thing to stepping into the crumbling alleys of Naples and perching on the sheer cliffs of Capri you can get without journeying there yourself… 

Watch Travel with Sorrentino video here
Read our review of Parthenope here

May 22, 2024

parthenope, paolo sorrentino, celeste dalla porte, gary oldman, silvio orlando, daniele rienzo
parthenope, paolo sorrentino, celeste dalla porte, gary oldman, silvio orlando, daniele rienzo

Words by JANE CROWTHER


Parthenope is the occasional moniker of Naples after the same-named siren in Greek mythology threw herself in the sea to drown to stop herself from luring Ulysses, and washed up on the shores of the city – beloved home of Paolo Sorrentino. It’s also the name given to the protagonist of his latest love letter to his hometown, a girl born in Neopolitan waters who grows to be such a beauty that no man is immune to her, including her brother (Chalamet-esqe Daniele Rienzo). Charting her education – romantic, sexual and academic – from bikini-clad teen ingénue in 1968 to her retirement as a beloved colleague and mentor in 2023, Parthenope explores ideas of the burden of beauty, male entitlement, female empowerment and well, just how damn gorgeous Naples and Capri are. Along the way, ‘Parthé’ experiences different types of male attention; lethally enmeshed, lecherous, worshipful, possessive, nurturing, transgressive, as well as various versions of female agency and disenfranchisement. 

parthenope, paolo sorrentino, celeste dalla porte, gary oldman, silvio orlando, daniele rienzo

Sorrentino has always created beautiful tableaux and his lens makes both the azure seas and faded splendour of Naples and Celeste Dalla Porta as Parthenope a visual treat. Fully embracing the power of her attractiveness, the 18-year-old emerges from the sea to smoke a cigarette and bats away suitors with her wit. She is, after all, not just a pretty face. A straight-A student in anthropology, Parthenope meets two formative men during her late teens – alcoholic, melancholic novelist, John Cheever, who cries for the beauty in the world and gently rebuffs her (Gary Oldman, wonderful in a matter of minutes); and her grumpy uni professor (Silvio Orlando) who only ever engages with her brain. But a family tragedy sends her spiralling, making her unsure of how to direct the power she holds…

parthenope, paolo sorrentino, celeste dalla porte, gary oldman, silvio orlando, daniele rienzo


Sorrentino has great fun unpicking the dirty-gorgeous character of Naples (football, religion, a superstar actress based on Sophia Loren) as well as the directionlessness of girlhood. And though some of Parthenope’s decisions seem to play into the very male gaze and misogyny the director initially appears to be examining (a church-set sex scene featuring speedos and religious treasures may test some viewers), Parthenope, with some fourth wall breaking, ultimately asks audiences to question their own relationship to aesthetics and youth. The question she asks a perving older family friend at the start of the film is silently asked again by the end; would Parthenope still be so attractive to men if she were 40 years older? And speaking of aesthetics, be warned, it’s impossible to watch and not want to immediately book a plane to Naples…


Paolo Sorrentino’s Parthenope starring Celeste Dalla Porta, Gary Oldman, Silvio Orlando and Daniele Rienzo is screening at the 77th Cannes Film Festival and will release in cinemas TBC

November 24, 2023

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta

Paolo Sorrentino, director of an as yet untitled love letter to his native city, heads back to Naples.

I have photographed Paolo Sorrentino a number of times over the past five years, getting to know him better as his awards campaign for The Hand of God ramped up from Venice through to the Oscars. But I truly connected with him when he was kind enough to request me to do the print element of a Dolce & Gabbana fragrance campaign he was directing, starring Katy Perry, in Capri last summer.

So when I got a call this August from Paolo saying, ‘I’m shooting this feature film, would you like to come and visit the set in Capri?’, I jumped at the opportunity. I said I’d volunteer my services if they’d put me up in my favourite hotel!

I journeyed from the Venice Film Festival to Capri, accompanied by Paolo’s wife Daniela D’Antonio, the most lovely, warm person. I had very little information about the project, apart from what I had read in Paolo’s director’s statement where he talked in typically poetic terms of a film about ‘youth’s lightheartedness and its demise, classical beauty and its inexorable permutations, pointless and impossible loves, stale flirtations and dizzying passion, night-time kisses on Capri, flashes of joy and persistent suffering… endings, and new beginnings.’

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta
Celeste Dalla Porta and Gary Oldman

[Paolo] talked in typically poetic terms of… ‘youth’s lightheartedness and its demise, classical beauty and its inexorable permutations, pointless and impossible loves, stale flirtations and dizzying passion, night-time kisses on Capri, flashes of joy and persistent suffering… endings, and new beginnings’

The gateway to what would turn out to be Paolo’s world was Naples itself, his hometown and the location for much of the film. Naples is also where Daniela was brought up – she explained that she came from ‘the very rough side’, and the city is a paradox, both dangerous in some parts and incredibly cultured in others. Driving from the airport, Naples feels exciting and absolutely authentically itself. It’s not like anywhere else in Italy; an entirely unique place; its own country nearly. And it explains a lot about Paolo’s vision, which is deeply suffused in romance and myth. In fact, in his director’s statement Paolo says the film’s action is ‘accompanied… by Naples, who charms and enchants…and who knows just how to hurt you.’

So we boarded a boat to Capri. In its centre you have to walk everywhere, so the journey to the set from the hotel was a leisurely 25-minute stroll. And unlike most film sets, it was incredibly relaxed. In part, this is because as the roads are four feet wide there isn’t the usual circus of trucks parked at the location. Everything was carried in.

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta
Daniele Rienzo, Celeste Dalla Porta and Dario Aita

The place was just so calm. I don’t mean to suggest that people were not working hard, more that you got the feeling that everybody involved was doing what they were born to do. Paolo was incredibly warm, greeting me as a friend and saying, ‘Do whatever you want, just don’t walk in front of
my camera.’

Another treat was to see my friends Gary Oldman and his wife Gisele Schmidt. Their interest in photography has brought us close in recent years, so I couldn’t have felt more at home. 

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta
Gary Oldman

The first day we were shooting in a beautiful house absolutely steeped in history. Apparently Fitzgerald finished The Great Gatsby there and it has been a place where many renowned artists lived and worked. I found myself sat on the terrace looking over at the famous Faraglioni rocks – one of which has the distinctive hole in it – sipping gin and tonics and hearing about the history of the house from its graceful owners and feeling like a house guest.

Then over the following days we moved on to doing night shoots, and during the day we’d rent a boat and go riding round the island. At one time I took Celeste Dalla Porta, who plays the lead, and shot her underwater.

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta
Celeste Dalla Porta

When I think of my time on the set there is one image that I always return to. It was at the beginning of the first night shoot, and there is Paolo, deep in thought, everyone giving him space. He’s walking around, blocking the scene in his mind, a glass of red wine in one hand and a cigar in the other. We are about to start work and have just enjoyed the set catering, which here in Capri is a 15-minute walk down the mountain to a great three-course dinner at a waterside restaurant with unforgettable views.

This is not how things are usually done in cinema nowadays. It was a flashback to another era of filmmaking and to me felt deeply romantic, timeless and nostalgic.


Photographs and words by Greg Williams
The feature is a Fremantle film produced by Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle company; Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent; Paolo Sorrentino for Numero 10 and Ardavan Safaee for Pathé. Starring, in alphabetical order, Celeste Dalla Porta, Silvia Degrandi, Isabella Ferrari, Lorenzo Gleijeses, Biagio Izzo, Peppe Lanzetta, Nello Mascia, Gary Oldman, Silvio Orlando, Luisa Ranieri, Stefania Sandrelli and Alfonso Santagata. Starring, in alphabetical order, Celeste Dalla Porta, Silvia Degrandi, Isabella Ferrari, Lorenzo Gleijeses, Biagio Izzo, Peppe Lanzetta, Nello Mascia, Gary Oldman, Silvio Orlando, Luisa Ranieri, Stefania Sandrelli and Alfonso Santagata.

hollywood authentic, greg williams, hollywood authentic magazine

November 24, 2023

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta

Paolo Sorrentino, director of an as yet untitled love letter to his native city, heads back to Naples.

I have photographed Paolo Sorrentino a number of times over the past five years, getting to know him better as his awards campaign for The Hand of God ramped up from Venice through to the Oscars. But I truly connected with him when he was kind enough to request me to do the print element of a Dolce & Gabbana fragrance campaign he was directing, starring Katy Perry, in Capri last summer.

So when I got a call this August from Paolo saying, ‘I’m shooting this feature film, would you like to come and visit the set in Capri?’, I jumped at the opportunity. I said I’d volunteer my services if they’d put me up in my favourite hotel!

I journeyed from the Venice Film Festival to Capri, accompanied by Paolo’s wife Daniela D’Antonio, the most lovely, warm person. I had very little information about the project, apart from what I had read in Paolo’s director’s statement where he talked in typically poetic terms of a film about ‘youth’s lightheartedness and its demise, classical beauty and its inexorable permutations, pointless and impossible loves, stale flirtations and dizzying passion, night-time kisses on Capri, flashes of joy and persistent suffering… endings, and new beginnings.’

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta
Celeste Dalla Porta and Gary Oldman

[Paolo] talked in typically poetic terms of… ‘youth’s lightheartedness and its demise, classical beauty and its inexorable permutations, pointless and impossible loves, stale flirtations and dizzying passion, night-time kisses on Capri, flashes of joy and persistent suffering… endings, and new beginnings’

The gateway to what would turn out to be Paolo’s world was Naples itself, his hometown and the location for much of the film. Naples is also where Daniela was brought up – she explained that she came from ‘the very rough side’, and the city is a paradox, both dangerous in some parts and incredibly cultured in others. Driving from the airport, Naples feels exciting and absolutely authentically itself. It’s not like anywhere else in Italy; an entirely unique place; its own country nearly. And it explains a lot about Paolo’s vision, which is deeply suffused in romance and myth. In fact, in his director’s statement Paolo says the film’s action is ‘accompanied… by Naples, who charms and enchants…and who knows just how to hurt you.’

So we boarded a boat to Capri. In its centre you have to walk everywhere, so the journey to the set from the hotel was a leisurely 25-minute stroll. And unlike most film sets, it was incredibly relaxed. In part, this is because as the roads are four feet wide there isn’t the usual circus of trucks parked at the location. Everything was carried in.

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta
Daniele Rienzo, Celeste Dalla Porta and Dario Aita

The place was just so calm. I don’t mean to suggest that people were not working hard, more that you got the feeling that everybody involved was doing what they were born to do. Paolo was incredibly warm, greeting me as a friend and saying, ‘Do whatever you want, just don’t walk in front of
my camera.’

Another treat was to see my friends Gary Oldman and his wife Gisele Schmidt. Their interest in photography has brought us close in recent years, so I couldn’t have felt more at home. 

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta
Gary Oldman

The first day we were shooting in a beautiful house absolutely steeped in history. Apparently Fitzgerald finished The Great Gatsby there and it has been a place where many renowned artists lived and worked. I found myself sat on the terrace looking over at the famous Faraglioni rocks – one of which has the distinctive hole in it – sipping gin and tonics and hearing about the history of the house from its graceful owners and feeling like a house guest.

Then over the following days we moved on to doing night shoots, and during the day we’d rent a boat and go riding round the island. At one time I took Celeste Dalla Porta, who plays the lead, and shot her underwater.

paolo sorrentino, the hand of god, gary oldman, celeste dalla porta
Celeste Dalla Porta

When I think of my time on the set there is one image that I always return to. It was at the beginning of the first night shoot, and there is Paolo, deep in thought, everyone giving him space. He’s walking around, blocking the scene in his mind, a glass of red wine in one hand and a cigar in the other. We are about to start work and have just enjoyed the set catering, which here in Capri is a 15-minute walk down the mountain to a great three-course dinner at a waterside restaurant with unforgettable views.

This is not how things are usually done in cinema nowadays. It was a flashback to another era of filmmaking and to me felt deeply romantic, timeless and nostalgic.


Photographs and words by Greg Williams
The feature is a Fremantle film produced by Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle company; Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent; Paolo Sorrentino for Numero 10 and Ardavan Safaee for Pathé. Starring, in alphabetical order, Celeste Dalla Porta, Silvia Degrandi, Isabella Ferrari, Lorenzo Gleijeses, Biagio Izzo, Peppe Lanzetta, Nello Mascia, Gary Oldman, Silvio Orlando, Luisa Ranieri, Stefania Sandrelli and Alfonso Santagata. Starring, in alphabetical order, Celeste Dalla Porta, Silvia Degrandi, Isabella Ferrari, Lorenzo Gleijeses, Biagio Izzo, Peppe Lanzetta, Nello Mascia, Gary Oldman, Silvio Orlando, Luisa Ranieri, Stefania Sandrelli and Alfonso Santagata.

hollywood authentic, greg williams, hollywood authentic magazine