A newly released TV documentary, The Rooftops of Rome, features the work of AUR Professor Dr. Catherine Cornet who interviewed the Italian jewelry designer of Game of Thrones, among other personalities.
The film, produced by the French/German cultural television network, ARTE, is part of the series, “The Rooftops of the World,” featuring people who are living or working in extraordinary ways in unique, rooftop locations.
The 45-minute Rome episode aired in September in French and makes compelling viewing, even for non-French speakers, because of its beautiful aerial imagery of the city. The French version can be seen online at Vimeo: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6ss1u8
In Rome, one of the most interesting people Cornet interviewed was artist Luca Giampaoli, who makes the jewelry and helmets for the TV show, Game of Thrones. Others included: Rosella Sleiter, a journalist and author who writes about gardens; Lorenzo Grassi of Palazzo Brancaccio; Chef Silvia Portentosa; and snipers for the Vatican. The rooftops of Rome are linked to history or give inspiration to the people who live there. Giampaoli creates his Hollywood accessories (such as Brad Pitt’s helmet in Troy) from his studio atop a real Medieval tower in Rome’s historic center. Chef Portentosa caters dinner parties on a fantastic terrace which, like many in the past, could have been used for drying pasta, Cornet noted.
“Finding these locations was not easy,” said Cornet, who has worked as a freelance reporter and researcher for French television channels, especially ARTE programs, for over 15 years. “I was lucky enough to meet watercolor painter Franco Bevilacqua, who had done a book on Rome’s rooftops (These included bell towers, church domes, and his friends’ secret verandas and attic homes.) Sadly, many of the locations in his book have since been turned into AirBnB’s or privatized with mass tourism.”
Another challenge was finding interesting topics which had not been covered in other cities. For example, she considered filming the student yoga classes on AUR’s terrace (with its commanding view from Rome’s Gianicolo Hill). But yoga had already been featured in Japan.
The documentary took three months of research and preparation and 10 days to shoot, she said. But she doesn’t make an appearance – no journalist does -- only the people interviewed. Filming involved riding in a helicopter over Rome, which was an amazing experience, she said, adding, “From up there, you realize how green the city of Rome can be!”
ARTE has been co-financed by the European Union since 2015 “to foster EU integration through culture by providing new subtitled versions of selected programs across Europe.”
Dr. Cornet teaches in the Bachelor degree in International Relations and Global Politics and in the Master’s in Peace Studies. Her research focuses on International Relations, Mediterranean Studies and Middle Eastern politics and cultures. Professor Cornet is also an Arabist and journalist covering the Middle East and North Africa and has an extensive experience of European research projects on the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern issues.