This month I was invited to the London preview of Padre, a new film by Italian director Giada Colagrande. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and a pleasure to spend it with so many likeminded film fans. The event took place at Regent Street Cinema, a venue I hadn’t been to before but look forward to visiting again soon.
Of course, a highlight of the evening for me was getting the opportunity to meet Hollywood legend Willem Dafoe. As Colagrande’s husband and Padre co-star, he was there with her and I loved seeing the chemistry between them. They were a delight to watch during both the film and the Q&A that followed, and it’s clear they both have so much admiration for each other’s work. Willem himself was lovely, very approachable and willing to take photos and answer any questions from fans. I was initially terrified to approach him but I’m so glad I did!
Pictured: myself, Willem Dafoe and complementary wine. Could it get better than that?
As for Padre, I thought it was a stunning and harrowing depiction of grief. Colagrande played the main character, coming to terms with the loss of her father. Through lots of symbolism and letters, she comes to terms with his death and helps herself to heal. Whilst I wouldn’t consider Padre to be my typical film, I found it fascinating to explore Italian cinema and Colagrande’s insights following the screening were very interesting. I loved how much research she’d put into this film, and how close to her heart it was. She’s a talented and unique director that I look forward to exploring more in the near future.
Dafoe’s performance was also brilliant, and it was particularly cool getting to see him speaking Italian! Interestingly, the character he played wasn’t romantically involved with Colagrande’s, and instead acted as a friend and mentor throughout the narrative and all the letters we get to explore. I must confess I didn’t fully understand all the symbolism in the film, but I can appreciate their beauty and significance anyway.
If you do get the opportunity to see Padre, I would certainly recommend it. It is always wonderful celebrating world cinema and how much it differs from the classic Hollywood codes and conventions. I’m not very familiar with Italian cinema but look forward to learning more about it following this screening.
Special shoutout to Sarah aka Caution Spoilers too, who hung out with me during the event and sat with me for the film. It was so lovely to meet you after speaking on Twitter regularly! Go and give Sarah a follow if you’re not already, she’s amazing.