Interview with writer/director Giuliano Tomassacci for ‘Three Mirrors Creatures’s Flashes of Flesh’

When a movie entitled ‘Three Mirrors Creatures’ s Flashes of Flesh’ comes to ones attention one quickly realises that it may not be a typical run-of-the-mill viewing experience. After watching the incredible trailer for this piece of work, well lets just say that the initial feeling was thankfully spot on.

One of the real joys of being in the situation I am (no not in custody….those charges were never proven) is that once in a while a project comes my way which completely turns any sense of cinematic expectation or familiarity on it’s head. And I simply love it when that happens.

So when 5DHQ received news this week that the first official trailer for Giuliano Tomassacci’s arthouse sci-fi/horror drama Three Mirrors Creatures’ s Flashes of Flesh had debuted on-line, well the title alone would have had enough to persuade me to take a look. Then I also saw that the film stars Michela Bruni, well wild horses wouldn’t have kept me from watching the trailer. If you need to know exactly what I mean, simply look up the words ‘talented’ and ‘gorgeous’ in the dictionary, there is a picture of Michela next to them…..

A little background…..

So before I go any further let me put your way a little synopsis and background to the film.


“Once you see the flashes, flesh doesn’t matter anymore.”

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Michela Bruni plays a ruthless and successful top-class manager who, in the aftermath of an emotional shock, becomes pervaded by a sensory spirit and undertakes a purifying – although grievous – voyage.

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Along with Bruni (who also contributed the script) the cast also features Samantha Abear, Claudio Losavio, Corinna Coroneo, Piervito Bonifacio, Federica Pocaterra, Giorgia Grillo, Fabio Gagliardi, Marina Lorè and Clarice Ching. The original score is by Stefano G. Falcone and production design by Cristiana Fasano. Giulia Stronati and Federica Salamone provided the special makeup effects.

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The film is also the feature-length debut for writer and cinematographer Giuliano Tomassacci – who previously directed the sci-fi short movie “Here We Go Again, Rubinot!”

The briefest of Trailer reviews….

Three Mirrors Creature’s Flashes of Flesh is billed as “an experimental drama, with visceral horror and sci-fi resonances. Dominated by music and a dense black and white effect” In truth, I don’t think I could say it any better than that. The experience of watching the trailer is to experience 6min 27secs of an auditory and visual assault on the senses – indeed there is a disclaimer at the beginning warning those who suffer from epilepsy etc may be best to avoid it.

The black and white visuals are stunning in their relentless assault, this is in part because of Tomassacci’s implementation of Split-Vision system, conceived by Tomassacci himself and based on an updating of multichannel video and multi-dynamic image technique to today’s daily-use video devices. It all serves to provide a visual experience that is difficult to grasp on first viewing, indeed the trailer requires a number or returns, each encouraging the viewer to see something missed before. Wonderful.

So intrigued was I after viewing the trailer I simply had to find out more and so promptly sent a begging email to the people at Split Vision with a few piercing questions that I hoped would be answered. Well not only were they answered, but it was the main man himself, Giuliano Tomassacci who responded in person with a series of beatifully detailed responses.

The Interview part……

Q) What/who are the filmmakers’ own cinematic inspirations?

This is always a difficult question for me to answer because my cinematic universe is so wide and variegated I hardly can properly sense what filmic suggestions influenced me more or less, directly or indirectly during the process.

Also this is such a personal and intimate narrative that every possible suggestion inevitably fails to be properly recognizable after being conceived and filmed so viscerally. Anyway as long as I proceed with the competition of the movie I’m increasingly understanding that, for each of its major acts, Zemeckis’ first short movie “The Lift” and Cassavetes’ “A Woman Under the Influence” probably had an important unconscious influence on me as well as maybe Zulawski’s “Possession”, Varda’s “Vagabond” and Viktorov’s “Per Aspera Ad Astra”.

Q) What was the inspiration for this particular story?

I believe it came out as remembering about a dream just after you woke up, the very rare moments you still can see it as a whole stand-alone image and sense the inner truth of the dreamlike experience. Maybe something originated from a very personal, liberating need and mood in this particular moment of my life.

Knowing Michela Bruni for many years, both as a terrific talented actress and as a wonderful, very sensitive human being, I always knew I wanted her in my first feature-length directorial debut. I immediately knew I was envisioning a character, a creature so complex and delicate, yet powerful, challenging and fascinating that was just impossible to me to commit the role to someone else. So Michela’s extraordinary soul and her outstanding acting skills were at the same time undoubtedly the main inspiration and influence for the movie, being it first of all and basically the repossession and rebirthing of a pure, cosmic soul doomed by too much deadly routine.

But I think years as a cinematographer and my burgeoning interest for visual experimentation, unconventional language paths and for alternative narrative set-ups contributed to the inspiration too.  

Q) Was the method of Split-Vision system in the film a result of the story, or visa versa?

In a sense, both. I’ve started developing Split-Vision multi-channel video system before entering in pre-production with “Three Mirrors Creature’s Flashes of Flesh” but during initial conceptualizing for the movie I soon realized it would have expressed itself best thought the experimental system.

With screenwriter Luca Persiani we have been developing over the last years a dedicated “scripting” method for Split-Vision that immediately looked to me suitable for the movie. That said, being the center of the movie the genuine portrait of a spirit, the final way of fruition is secondary and the film will be released also in a standard, one-screen version.

Q) How long has the film been in production from initial concept?

After a couple of month of initial development and pre-production, principal photography took almost a year, but not on an ongoing basis. This was not only due to the fact this is a totally independent feature. It was shot quite all in sequence, to better accomplish the character transformation/re-possession and to capture the passing of seasons we needed too.

Additionally we had the great opportunity to shoot various scenes of the second part of the movie in the stunning scenarios of SDM’s estate in Montelovesco, near Gubbio, and in the marvelous landscape of Cottanello, near Rieti. This further contributed to a wider schedule.  

Q) What was the filming experience like for cast & crew?

All in all it was a very intense experience. Definitely not the typical kind of set. The crew was skeleton and we had sometimes to perform guerrilla-filmmaking, but this was just right for the movie, in perfect tone with the mood and the general liquid language of the picture.

I must particularly acknowledge, in terms of managing, production coordinator Silvia Burla, without whom it would have been impossible to achieve some results in an indie production of this kind, as well as work by assistant director Giulio Ciancamerla and production assistants Francesca Cangini and Agnese Navoni.  Long-time collaborators production designer/sculpture artist Cristiana Fasano and still photographer Roberta Monaco have been invaluable much beyond their respective crafts.

It’s a great privilege to have the opportunity to work with such an inspired, experienced and determined troupe. The acting was for the most part in ‘controlled-improvisation’ and originated on a treatment, not on a detailed screenplay, particularly in the second act of the movie, when Michela is for the most part alone on the screen.

But this kind of approach presents its difficulties too, even in terms of blocking, staging and lensing as certain scenes – especially when the rest of the cast is also on screen- had to be previously rehearsed and shot with up to three hand-held cameras (with the fundamental support of skilled operators Giancarlo Lancioni and Fabrizio Fiore) and with ad-libbed lines, even if no dialogue are going to be featured in the final soundtrack. This called for all the tremendous dedication and competence of the rest of the cast, actors Samantha Abear, Claudio Losavio, Corinna Coroneo, Piervito Bonifacio, Federica Pocaterra, Giorgia Grillo, Fabio Gagliardi, Marina Lorè and Clarice Ching.

And they all delivered the best. Michela deeply understood the gentle complexity of Dangel/Angel and underwent a very intense development of the character during the entire narrative and this sometimes requested some incredible dramatic efforts, even in terms of physical endurance, let alone the keen level of pressure often requested by the shooting on a daily basis, including some binding special make-up effects provided by Giulia Stronati and Federica Salamone.

Michela also had to act the majority of the movie alone, a very hard commitment for an actor. Having already worked with her I already know how much she could reach in terms of performance quality and professionalism, but this time she overcame herself beyond all my expectations. I know the crew was also amazed by her work and dedication, this making for me again a rare honor to work with her. To me, this is probably an example in which an artist is acting and writing at the same time. She effectively wrote the film with me while playing her character.

Q) When will the film be released and where?

I’m now deep in the editing process and then we’re going to start the sound post-production, even if Stefano G. Falcone, the film composer, already worked on some advance cues mostly due to the fact I needed some original music ready on the set when we were shooting and for the preliminary editing – the trailer also features all original music by him.

So it’s premature now to talk about a release date…But we’ll keep you posted and thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about the movie on your site.

The Trailer

5D would like to extend our thanks to the good people at Split Vision Project, particularly Giuliano Tomassacci, for their time and effort in responding to our questions. You can see the first trailer for this quite remarkable piece of filmmaking RIGHT HERE.

More about the filmakers….

You can find out more about Three Mirrors Creatures’ s Flashes of Flesh and the company behind the movie at the following links;

Split Vision Project

IMDB page.

Split Vision Facebook

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