Two months ago, a film team from 30 different countries came to Florence. This wasn’t a United Nations effort; it was the work of Bright Blue Gorilla. BBG is Robyn Rosenkrantz and Michael Glover, two American artists who started as musicians and have become established in the indie film scene. They came to Florence with their multinational crew to shoot Mr. Rudolpho’s Jubilee, their sixth feature film.
Mr. Rudolpho’s Jubilee is a romantic comedy in Italian, English and German. It stars Rome’s Francesco Mazzini as Mr. Rudolpho, a depressed Italian fashion designer, who, in spite of his wealth and fame, decides to end it all during Berlin Fashion Week. Fortunately, his suicide plan goes wrong and he is only slightly injured. He’s taken in by a group of Bohemian artists in Berlin (who think they injured him) while the world outside searches for the missing fashion icon. There’s a twist to the film: in a style reminiscent of a classic Greek chorus, Bright Blue Gorilla pops up throughout the movie commenting on the action through song. They sing directly to the audience and none of the characters in the film can see or hear them.
“The film opens at the villa of Mr. Rudolpho, in the hills of Tuscany,” said Michael Glover, director and screenwriter. “Rudolpho is sitting in the opulent gardens, surrounded by wealth and luxury, as miserable as can be. I love the tragi-comic irony in that.”
There are other local flavours to the film as well. Two musicians from Florence, Flavio Cucchi and Luigi Gagliardi, play Mr. Rudolpho’s security team in the film. Berlin radio personality Arianna Manetti, originally from Florence, plays a television reporter.
“We had an opportunity to shoot at Villa Barberino,” said Robyn Rosenkrantz, the film’s producer. “It was the perfect setting for the opening shot. We also liked it because it’s so near to Florence and was truly magical. The city has special meaning for Michael and I. Florence was one of the first cities we performed in as Bright Blue Gorilla.”
Bright Blue Gorilla has been touring the world, doing concerts and showing their films since 1990, when they quit their L.A. jobs, sold everything they had and bought one-way tickets to Europe. “We met on the Sunset Strip, back in ’89,” said Glover, “Robyn and I were both doing a music gig in an infamous club called the Coconut Teaser. She was on stage before me and she stayed to see my set. Two weeks later we got together to write a song and we fell in love. Just like a romantic comedy!”
You can help bring Mr. Rudolpho’s Jubilee to life by visiting the IndieGoGo campaign.