Lux award finalist: The EU needs to better protect its culture, cinema

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Culture, including cinema, is perhaps more central to the identity of Europeans than that of any other people, so the EU must do more to protect it, says Valeria Golino.

Valeria Golino is an Italian actress and director and a finalist - along with Felix Van Groeningen of Belgium (2012) and Clio Barnard of Britain - for the Lux Award with the film 'Honey'. The 'Rain Man' and 'Hot Shots' star spoke to EurActiv Italy's Viola De Sando.

What is the message you want to convey to the Italian and European public about your film 'Honey'?

I didn’t want to convey any message; more than anything else I wanted to ask intimate questions that relate to each of us more than political or existentialist questions.

The film was born of reading a book by a writer from Trieste, Mauro Covacich. Reading the book, I thought the topic tackled could have been told also in a personal way.* It seemed to me it was a fascinating story, good for a movie. I read the story for my team and we decided to write a screenplay.

The film tackles the issues of assisted suicide and euthanasia, a serious issue in Italy and the EU. What do you think about these issues and how does 'Honey' fit into an Italian and European context?

As a citizen, more than a director, I'm in favour of euthanasia. I think everyone should be able to decide what to do with his own body and his own life. I have even signed a petition to protect this right. I think every human being who makes a decision so painful and so extreme, perhaps the most serious in life, should not be marginalised or feel ashamed of their choice.

My film is political, even though I don't want it to be that, because in Italy if one wants to be helped in his efforts of dying, he can only do so illegally. It's outside of the law, with that kind of shame that you have when you do something illegal.

I think it's something inhuman, against the human being, not having a law that's fair and equitable.

What should the EU do for culture and cinema?

Europe should do more, even customising cultural aid for each country. Europe is its cultures. More than any other continent in the world our culture is what represents us. It's really mortifying the fact that in my country the culture at the moment is so little protected by the institutions.

Do you feel like a European citizen?

I feel like a European citizen even if I do not agree with everything that is happening in Europe, especially the economic policies of the recent years that have put us in serious difficulties. I am proud to be European, but not proud of belonging to a system that is mortifying my country and others, such as Greece and all the countries of Southern Europe.

*The book, 'I Forgive You', tells the story of a 30-year-old woman who assists the terminally ill to die.

Translation by Stefano Ciardi

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