09.04.2024 #cinema

Anita Pomario

On stage, I always feel safe: there, everything is permitted, even the most dangerous things.

«The essential thing is to remain intact as much as possible. How? By always respecting the characters I portray to the fullest extent»

She has a face you don’t easily forget. Marked and sensual features. Deep eyes, full lips, and three moles scattered across her face like distant stars in a constellation. She is Anita Pomario, a Sicilian actress who seems to have taken flight for quite some time now. Thanks to well-thought-out choices and a career without shortcuts. Born in 1997 in Noto, she has acted in significant films. She portrayed Pinuccia in Emma Dante’s “Le sorelle Macaluso,” presented in competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival. She played Giuseppina in the poignant “Stranizza d’amuri,” directed by Giuseppe Fiorello (nominated for the recent David di Donatello Awards in the “Best Debut Director” category), and she was Carmela in the TV series “L’arte della gioia,” directed by Valeria Golino. She studied contemporary dance, stage combat, and physical theater. Raised in the G.o.D.o.T. Company in Ragusa, she then flew to America, to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, one of the world’s most prestigious theater schools. She challenged herself in off-off Broadway, more than a theater, a school of life. Never a step backward. Always two steps forward. “The stage is where I feel most at home, it gives me vital energy,” she said some time ago. “A feeling that’s hard to explain to those who’ve never experienced it.” We met Anita in Milan during a break from filming the brand-new movie by Paolo Licata dedicated to Rosa Balistrieri, a beloved Sicilian singer-songwriter and storyteller.


How have you changed after working on the film “Le sorelle Macaluso”?

Anita Pomario :

«Before, I was more open to wonder. I had a lot of confidence in myself, in my abilities, and in others. I had less fear. In short, I was an Anita, certainly more naive but full of energy. Today, I am more cautious, aware of my limitations and needs. I feel more disillusioned about the future, and this, slowly, begins to free me from many anxieties»

Emma Dante is a tough director who demands 110% from actors, what was it like working with her?

Anita Pomario :

«With Emma it was my first time as a film actress: from her I sensed an almost carnal passion for art. Everything happened naturally. She overwhelms you, overwhelms you… you come out exhausted and worn out, breathless and sweaty but always ready to start again at any moment, with a smile. She asks you for 110% because she herself gives you 110%»

Do you remember the emotions you felt at the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival?

Anita Pomario :

«I remember them like they happened yesterday. I am an extremely sensitive person, I really like to be moved by the beautiful events in life and I am never ashamed of it. Being at the festival wouldn’t have made sense if my mother and brother hadn’t been there with me. Their looks at the end of the screening are engraved in my memory. Sometimes I think that these very dramatic occasions only serve to share joy with those who walked with you without wondering what the destination was…»

How did your love for acting begin?

Anita Pomario :

«It was born suddenly. I started attending a company in my city at the age of 10 and my teachers at the time, Federica Bisegna and Vittorio Bonaccorso, quickly introduced me to the theater of the absurd and to theatrical texts not exactly for children. I immediately fell in love with the worlds that could be created with theatre, with universes that had nothing to do with reality. I liked the idea that everything was allowed on stage, even the most distorted and dangerous things. I always felt safe there»

You said that “Stranizza d’amuri”, your second film, is a dedication to adolescence, to falling in love, to freedom. How much of you is there in that film?

Anita Pomario :

«Well, that romanticism and that deep trust in love is certainly very alive in me. Then obviously compared to my character in “Stranizza” I feel very different. Giuseppina was a girl who was a victim of her time and of that archaic village society. I would say my boundaries have expanded»

In 2022 you then played Carmela, another Sicilian, in “The Art of Joy”, a complex posthumous novel by Goliarda Sapienza, filmed in Catania by Valeria Golino: aren’t you afraid of being locked in boxes? Aren’t you tired of always playing Sicilian women?

Anita Pomario :

«I am an actress and above all in the cinema my work is always at the service of others: directors, screenwriters, production etc. We should then ask ourselves why making a film in Sicily means telling it by always following the same imagery. Or perhaps we should ask ourselves why the regionality of an actor is considered limiting in some cases and not in others. I’m only interested in doing beautiful things, putting myself out there and surprising myself. I’m in a phase where I want to raise the bar and take on roles that allow me to investigate new territories, metaphorically and geographically. For me the important thing is to remain intact as much as possible, and my responsibility is to respect the characters I play 110%. I am aware of the risk of being trapped in stereotypes, but I have a lot of confidence in my abilities as an actress and in the Italian film industry»

You studied acting in New York, you focused a lot on theatre, you always put yourself on the line, often choosing complex paths. Where do you want to go?

Anita Pomario :

«Getting there has never been a concern of mine. What do you do when you arrive? I have always liked departures. I tell myself that I might as well try the more difficult things right away, so if it goes badly I’ll go down a couple of steps and start from there again. I have too much respect for this profession to be content to do it by choosing the middle ways»

What are the films you watch over and over again without ever getting tired?

Anita Pomario :

«All films by Aldo Giovanni and Giacomo up to 2004»

Your favourite film?

Anita Pomario :

«There are too many of them and each one corresponds to a different moment in my journey. One that changed my way of perceiving cinema was “Mulholland Drive” by David Lynch: I was about 14 the first time I saw it and after that I saw it about 7-8 times over the years. Today I couldn’t watch it anymore. But it is definitely a heartfelt film»

Something unconventional in today’s world?

Anita Pomario :

«This is easy. “But the exceptional feat, believe me, is being normal…”»


What if you hadn’t been an actress?

Anita Pomario :

«I never thought about it, I was too busy trying to be an actress!!»

What’s next?

Anita Pomario :

«I’m proud to say that filming has just started on Paolo Licata’s new film in which I play one of the most amazing Sicilian women. Rosa Balistrieri is the most famous storyteller in Italy. I will play her in the 40s. It is the first time that she represents a character who really existed. I feel a great responsibility in giving body and voice to such a complex figure: a rare and pure animal, an old-time feminist who has become a spokesperson for minorities and a witness to injustices. We are approaching this project with great care. There is a beautiful cast and the artistic team that will also take care of the music is also made up of Carmen Consoli and Mario Incudine. Overall… I’m very happy»

Close your eyes. Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Anita Pomario :

«If I close my eyes I always see myself at the seaside»


Interview: Germano D’Acquisto

Photos: Ludovica Arcero

Special Thanks to Excelsior Hotel Gallia, Milano




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