The movie field is a tricky one. It is difficult to become a famous director, only depicting stories about your city, you nation or your nearby social reality. Often the nationalism that influences your movie style, will make it difficult to be appreciated abroad.
When two world collapse one into the other, like the American big industry of movie and the little local influenced Italian movies, the result will be often bad. I said “often”, because Gabriele Muccino was able to mix these two genres and create something who took the best from anyone.
The story of a single man and his difficult relationship with past and present, mixed with a gigantic metropolitan context. This is the key of the success for his two last films: “The pursuit of happiness (2007) and Seven pounds (2009). In both he directed the famous American actor Will Smith under an American film production.
In order to arrive into the “Temple of the Movie”, as Hollywood as often been called, Muccino passed through all the basic steps to become a 360° director. He collaborated in short films (Intolerance -1997), directed tv series (the Italian “Under the sun”- 1996) and music videoclip (the Italian song “I return to you” by Laura Pausini). We don’t have to forget also his only experience as actor into the mini series “It’s forbidden to dance”, directed by Pupi avati, and his multiple collaborations as writer (“Remember me -2003- or The last kiss -2006). They were only Italian productions. This scenery is normal for the majority of the Italian directors, so their fame cannot overcome the national borders.
The ability of Muccino to describe, into his stories, the inner self of every character, was the reason why Will Smith chose him as his director for “The pursuit of Happiness”. The film depicts the life of Chris Gardner, a man who, after having suddenly lost his work, divorced from his wife and was left without a house. He had to restart his career from nothing in order to give to his son, who decided to leave home with him after the divorce, a good future. That’s the happiness described in the title.
The sense of reality that spreads from the figure of Chris Gardner is what makes the viewer passionate about the story. It makes him cry when the main character would cry; it is something that is deeply concerned in the way Muccino makes films.
The movie has collected 304.000.000 $ worldwide, a record for any Italian-directed film. He is one of the most important italian director because of the capacity he had to inherit the idea of “Portraiting a character” into the film, taught by the great italian tradition: Fellini, Mastroianni and De Sica. Their works are the columns of the Italian Neorealistic wave, that meant to depict the normal life of the italian worker, with his struggle to survive. Muccino took their knowledge and added his personal point of view: that’s the beginning of a masterpiece.