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At the age of thirty, he radically changed course. As a documentary maker, he lived by turns in Milan and New York, but his films only reached a small audience. He retreated to a mountain village in the Italian Alps and, from that moment on, dedicated himself entirely to writing. The rest is history. He made his global breakthrough with De acht bergen [The Eight Mountains], which sold 150,000 copies in the Netherlands alone. At the ILFU, we will be talking to Cognetti about the city and the mountains, his films, books and his overwhelming success.

De acht bergen [The Eight Mountains] is a novel about a unique friendship between silent men, loneliness and how nature can be all-encompassing. Besides being an author, Paolo Cognetti is also a documentary maker. For the first time in the Netherlands, we will be screening his documentary The Wrong Side of the Bridge: a film in which four writers from Brooklyn (Jonathan Letehem, Rick Moody, Colson Whitehead and Shelley Jackson) discuss how their writing is determined by the diversity of the neighbourhood, far from the centre of Manhattan, far from the dominant culture.

‘In the film industry, I have learnt to describe only what you can see. This rule is also reflected in American literature, which is actually entirely cinematographic: the authors often only write down what is visible. As a result, lots of things remain hidden. In this way, the characters maintain a sense of mystery. Furthermore, while making documentaries I have developed the art of listening to others. That’s also crucial in literature; otherwise, books become too narcissistic. And another thing that’s important: love. You need to love the people about whom you are making a documentary or writing; that’s the only way.’ Paolo Cognetti in Trouw.

The Wrong Side of the Bridge film screening: English language

Conversation with Paolo Cognetti: English language


Monday 17 September

Time: 20:00 - 22:00 Hour
Admission fees: €15
Admission fees friends: €10
Category: ,
Language: Engels

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