Michael Sturminger’s Casanova Variations, which was screened yesterday in the Official Section, aims to capture the myth of the legendary seducer by combining layers of film, opera and theater to reflect on the lastyears of Giacomo Casanova’s life. It not only features Malkovich as a character using his own name but also has him playing the famous seducer, and depicts the production of the stage play The Giacomo Variations, which Sturminger himself directed and Malkovich starred in.
Part of the film is set in the 18th century in a castle in Bohemia where Casanova is living in old age when he is visited by a writer name Elisa who tries to get hold of the manuscript with his memoirs. The right to privacy is one of the themes that the film tackles, and in this respect the actor said, “To a certain extent, there isn’t any privacy anymore. But on another level, I live in my own private world and no one can really do anything about that, although they have tried.” He added that, “public opinion constructs a figure that usually doesn’t have anything to do with that person. Casanova was really famous in his day and he became a legend, but that doesn’t mean that the real Casanova was like that.”