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Look out for more coverage of
Puccini for Beginners in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Puccini for Beginners

Justin Kirk • Gretchen Mol • Elizabeth Reaser
DIRECTOR: Maria Maggenti

Elizabeth Reaser and Gretchen Mol THE CONCEPT:
Allegra (Reaser), who loves opera, is unable to make a commitment and breaks up with her lesbian lover Samantha. At a party, Allegra meets Philip (Kirk), who also loves opera, and against her better judgment begins an affair with him. Philip has just broken up with his girlfriend Grace (Mol), whom Allegra coincidentally meets and begins to date at the same time she’s dating Philip. Juggling both relationships results in a love triangle of operatic proportions.

U.S. RELEASE: February 9 2007 • Rated: tba


“I think I’m playing a version of Maria (Maggenti, the writer/director). I think she would describe herself as a hasbien, which means she was a ‘lesbian,’ but now she’s with men. I think she thinks Allegra is the man’s part, which is something I really loved about it.”

“I was looking for something fun to do. It was the middle of the summer and I just thought this would be a ball. Then I met Maria and she’s so full of life, and it rubs off on you. I think the dialogue was really punchy and it seemed like the thing carried itself, all you had to do was show up and do it.”

“If Maria was here you would see her persona sets the tone for a really good time at work, particularly something like this that has a light-heartedness to it. I was freaked out by doing the movie Angels in America, so that was a pain in my ass. It took a year and a lot of torture. After that I decided not to have a bad time at work ever again. I don’t mean to say that I’m not glad I did that job. I am, but I wouldn’t say it was fun to go to work like this was.”

“There are moments in the script where there is emotion. Because it was an independent movie and we shot it in 18 days, in all of these fantastic iconic locations in the west village, it was like ready, set, go. You’re just on this ride, there wasn’t time to stop and think about the panic that you get when you have a little time in your trailer. It had a summer camp aspect to it.

“Maria asked us to all watch My Man Godfrey, which she’s so inspired by, and all those screwball comedies.

“There was always a comedy element to it in every scene, even the loves scenes, so the only pressure I felt was (giving) it that sort of quality.”

“We didn’t have a title for this movie when we were making it. What makes this movie pop is in the editing. After we were long done, they made it into three acts, and they put the climatic scene at the beginning – which I think was key to it. And when we went to the Sundance Film Festival, they had to come up with a title and I think Puccini for Beginners is a pretty good one.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Images above © Strand Releasing
Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #680, March 2007 cover

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