lucadipierroLuca Dipierro is visual artist, writer and filmmaker born in Italy and living in North Carolina.

His latest films are the documentary 60 Writers/60 Places, and the full length cut-out animation Dieci Teste.

His art has been exhibited in galleries in the USA and in Italy and appeared on CD and LP covers of bands he likes.

His animations have been called “a perfect balance between creepy and a charming” by the Huffington Post.

His short stories have been published in The New York Tyrant, Lamination Colony, Gigantic, Everyday Genius, No Colony, Harp & Altar and other publications.

His novel La cadenza will be published in Italy at the beginning of 2011.

Luca’s website is

His life is based on a true story.

Can you tell us the books you feel closest to?

The books that I feel closer to are the ones that are part of my existence in an almost biological way. The paper of their pages has become my flesh:

Lucian, Dialogues of the Dead: literature as a way to turn the world upside down.

Tommaso Landolfi, Le più belle pagine (a collection of his best stories): Italian literary language at the height of its possibilities, deep and stratified like Dante’s Inferno.

Italo Calvino, La giornata di uno scrutatore (The Watcher): my favorite Calvino. A philosophical novella full of question marks and parentheses.

Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone di pensieri: the most beautiful prose I have ever read.

Leon Zumierro, Il Libro di Dettagli (The Book of Details): apparently this obscure 17th Century philosopher and poet was one of my ancestors. Zumierro wrote that “in looking at a painting, the viewer should take at least the same time that the painter took in making it, and more.” and that “the beauty and meaning of art is in the details.”

Jakov Lind, Seele aus Holz (Soul of Wood): I consider Lind the literary equivalent of George Grosz. I love the agility and urgency and violence of his language, and that there is no trace of sentimentalism, only masks. Lind had to wear many masks during his own life.

James Purdy, The Nephew: Purdy writes like nobody else, using what other writers never use.

Pier Paolo Pasolini, Empirismo eretico (Eretical Empiricism): a book, like all of Pasolini’s life and work, against every form of aesthetical purity. Pasolini was a painter, a journalist, a filmmaker, a novelist, a filmmaker. He was interested in form, and at the same time never stopped thinking about the relation between life and art.

Beppe Fenoglio, La malora: Fenoglio wrote in an Italian influenced by English literature. On a language level, the most important writer for me.

Which film or films – and how does your passion for film differ from literature?

I love film in a different way than literature. Films are volatile, not objects like books, and that’s their beauty.

Here are five films that make me want to make films:

Charles and Ray Eames, Toccata for Toy Trains: you can film the smallest things and make them look big.

Ciprí e Maresco, Cinico TV: Their cinema is John Ford and Pasolini and Samuel Beckett and Roger Corman. Not for you if you don’t like farts and glossolalia.

Jacques Tourneur, The Leopard Man: you can film certain things without showing them.

Dario Argento, Profondo rosso: Films are not about seeing, but about making people see.

Robert Breer, A Man and His Dog Out for Air: Films can be paintings plus time.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. My idea of writer was different from what most writers are. I thought that writers not only put words together, I thought that they literally made their own books. That they painted the cover, and did all the illustrations and printed the books one by one and sold them to bookstores.

Michel Butor says that “painting is also something we read… literature is also something we look at.”

What are your favorite websites? Incredible online archive of avantgarde films and music Encyclopedia of freaks Best blog ever about giallos (one of the subgenres of Italian cinema of the 70s, the more experimental on a visual level) Great essays about films and filmmakers Virtual museum and database of European painting and sculpture from 11th to mid 19th centuries Why I like books made of paper

Can you tell us alittle about your experience in making your recent film, I Will Smash You? What was it like to work with Michael Kimball?

I Will Smash You was my first full-length film. When Michael Kimball and I made it, I had already shot several short films (documentaries, music videos, book trailers), but the longest was twenty-five minutes. As soon as we started to put I Will Smash You together, I learned that with a full-length you have more structural problems, and problems with what time does to the viewer. You also discover possibilities that you don’t have with the short film. I Will Smash You was kind of fun to shoot (I say “kind of” because filming is a lot of work, more than people think: it drains you), but extremely difficult to edit. We had hours and hours of footage. The editing took almost a year. Michael Kimball and I have different backgrounds, and we do different things, but in working on film we arrive at the same conclusions. We complement each other, and our work together is the result of a sort of alchemy.

Can you tell us also about your film, 60 Writers/60 Places? This is awesome work, and I would love to know about how this came about.

60 Writers/60 Places started as a series of formal constraints that Michael Kimball and I gave ourselves. We didn’t want to make just a film about a bunch of people reading. There are plenty of those on YouTube already. We had very specific ideas about how the film would look, its visual structure. It’s a more abstract film than it seems. It’s all built around lines and colors, the way these lines and colors construct each segment, and the way they run through the entire film and build connections. The decision not to move the camera multiplied exponentially the problems of composition and perception that we had with each frame. The fact that the viewer had the same frame under his eyes for one minute, which is a very long time, made all the elements of the frame much more important than if the camera were moving. The more we looked at each shot, the more things we started to see. Seeing is about the time you put into it.

60 Writers is definitely a film about reading, but what the authors read matters less than what you see. I mean, of course the readings matter, but the focus of the film is the interaction between the place and the writer. They are both dramatis personae, equally important. Both emit sounds. We worked on the sound design a lot more than we did in I Will Smash You . We wanted ambient noises to be extremely present. In some cases (subway, highway) they are overwhelming, but that’s what we wanted. I consider 60 Writers a very dramatic film. It can be funny at times, but the core of it is drama.

Where is home for you, Luca?

Home is never a place that I leave or I return to, and it’s not the place where I am either. Home is all the places where I’ve been and will be and that I carry with me.

The Fictionaut Five is our ongoing series of interviews with Fictionaut authors. Every Wednesday, Meg Pokrass asks a writer five (or more) questions. Meg is an editor at Smokelong Quarterly, and her stories and poems have been published widely. She blogs at

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