Miele director Valeria Golino talks Miele with Film Society's Eugene Hernandez. Photo: Irene Cho

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Julie Taymor, Sean Penn and Barry Levinson. American filmmakers who influenced Valeria Golino, a woman known for acting roles in a number of movies over the years (The Indian Runner, Evita, Rain Man). Now she's switched to the other side of the camera for her directorial debut, Miele.

Golino, in a conversation with the Film Society's Daily Buzz over the weekend, explained that as an actress her point of view is not crucial to the director's vision, which is why she wanted to direct.

“That point of view is what I am interested in,” Golino said.

Her film, which is screening in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, is the story of an independent Italian woman who is helping terminally ill patients die.

“Miele (which means Honey in English) is a code name for a girl who has a double life,” Golino explained simply during our conversation. Her camera spends a lot of time observing Miele as she tries to protect her secrecy and maintain her dignity.

A scene from Miele

“I thought it was a very contemporary female character [who] also seems cinematographic to me,” Golino explained. “I wanted to [potray] her in images.” She continued, “What I am really curious about is the visuals of cinema… the form.”

Born in Naples, Golino has had a busy career in Italy, but she said she learned a lot from specific American filmmakers (in addition to directors back home).

“I was very young when I worked with [Barry Levinson] and he was very astonished by the lack of discipline that I had,” Golino admitted. “He taught me, during Rain Man, to become more displined. He was very severe in that way.” She continued, “I took a lot of things for granted. I thought my youth and beauty and talent was enough. Good actors don't have only that.”

Keep up with our Daily Buzz podcast interviews from Cannes here on FilmLinc Daily or on Fandor or iTunes.