The Casa Malaparte
After the last few months prepping and finally shooting ‘The Car Washer’, I took some time out in Italy last week with an old friend. I’ve always wanted to visit Naples, not only for the unrivalled espresso, gelato and pizza (all three of which they do undoubtedly have the best of) but to also pay homage to the Casa Malaparte, a villa located on the eastern side of Capri. I have been enamoured with Malaparte since seeing it for the first time in Godard’s masterpiece ‘Les Mepris’, starring, well…
After an unnerving crossing on a uncharacteristically choppy Med, we set off on foot eastwards from Capri’s central plaza, sandwiches and a large bottle of red wine in the rucksack. The walk, up down and around the cliffs of Capri is breathtaking. Every time the pathway arches around a bend another vista opens up, offering you views like no other.
The further we walked, the more I started to feel like we were going to stumble on to set and find Godard, Bardot and Piccoli all stood around, probably arguing. Maybe it was the sun (or the wine) but the February day started to feel like it could have been the summer of 1963. The longer we walked the excitement of seeing the villa grew, while an anxiety that we might have already missed it began to creep in sideways. But then, through the trees…
We desperately tried to get down to the villa but whoever the current owner is, they clearly don’t want guests. After risking death on some decaying steps we were met by a padlocked gate with a barbed wire perimeter. We tried a second path but were denied by yet another padlock.
It was disappointing not to have been able to walk up the Casa’s steps, share Godard’s unrestricted view of the Med and stand on the same roof Bardot did barefoot over fifty years ago. And yet even though I didn’t quite manage all this, and despite having seen the film countless times (once at the BFI on an original 35mm print), nothing could have prepared me for the impact Casa Malaparte was to have on me. It was a profound experience seeing it in real life and of all the Houses of the Holy I’ve visited in my time, none have come close to making me feel half as spiritual as I did sitting, staring at the Casa Malaparte and the Mediterranean sea beyond.
More about Casa Malaparte here.