At the world premiere of “Into the Fire” at the Taormina Film Festival, director Conor Allyn and Italian actor Luca Calvani took a moment to discuss their experience working with Amber Heard and the underlying messages of the supernatural thriller. The film marked Heard’s return to the industry following her highly publicized defamation trial with ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Allyn expressed his admiration for Heard’s resilience, acknowledging the difficult time she had endured and how it hadn’t changed her as a person. He described her as a “shining light” and commended her ability to come out on the other side of such a terrible experience and remain whole.
Calvani, too, had nothing but praise for Heard, describing her as generous and encouraging on set. He spoke of her star power, her ability to captivate and connect with everyone around her, leaving a lasting impact even after the cameras stopped rolling. He recognized the incredible journey she had been through and the lessons of resilience and courage that could be learned from her.
“Into the Fire” revolves around an American psychiatrist, played by Heard, who travels to a remote plantation in Colombia during the 1890s to treat a disturbed boy. There, she becomes entangled in a clash between science and religion as she confronts a local priest who believes the child is possessed by the devil.
Allyn highlighted that the film explores the barriers that separate people from one another, emphasizing flaws, fears, and biases. The field of psychiatry is used as a means to break down these barriers and uncover human connections. Despite the setting being the genesis of the science of psychology, mental health remains a topic of daily discussion in modern society, yet it is still not fully understood.
The filmmakers acknowledged that while the story is set in the past, it addresses themes that resonate with today’s world, including increased polarization of beliefs and the resistance to accepting new ideas. They expressed the importance of bridging divides and communicating across different perspectives, emphasizing the power of cinema to bring people together in shared experiences.
Allyn highlighted the tendency in today’s society to speak in absolutes and the lack of significant communication and understanding across tribal lines. He expressed his love for cinema as a medium that unites diverse audiences in a shared experience, emphasizing the need to reach across those lines.
Calvani added that the film challenges absolutes and explores the complexities of human nature. As the audience is exposed to characters displaying a wide range of perspectives, they are prompted to question themselves and engage in meaningful conversations. It is through this process that walls crumble and true connections are forged.
The discussion delved deeper into the relevance of the film’s themes in today’s society. Allyn and Calvani emphasized the prevalent issue of people speaking in absolutes, sticking to their own beliefs, and failing to communicate meaningfully across different ideologies. They stressed the importance of breaking down those barriers and fostering dialogue and understanding.
They saw cinema as a powerful tool to facilitate this process. Sitting in a darkened theater, individuals from various backgrounds come together to experience the same story. In that shared space, walls can crumble, and connections can be formed as the audience grapples with the multifaceted aspects of the characters’ journeys.
Calvani pointed out that the exploration of absolutes in the film ultimately connects to the essence of humanity itself. By challenging the audience to question themselves and confront their own biases, the story ignites conversations rooted in our shared human experiences. It becomes a catalyst for dismantling rigid beliefs and fostering genuine connections among individuals.
As the interview came to a close, both Allyn and Calvani expressed their hope that “Into the Fire” would inspire audiences to reflect on the barriers that divide them and encourage them to engage in meaningful conversations. They believed that by embracing the complexities of human nature and opening themselves up to different perspectives, society could move towards a more empathetic and understanding future.
With Amber Heard’s triumphant return to the film industry through “Into the Fire,” the supernatural thriller not only promises to captivate audiences with its suspenseful story but also to ignite discussions about mental health, human connection, and the importance of breaking down barriers in an ever-polarized world.