So, this lady is on a proper roll. What might first come to mind with the mention of Isabella Rossellini’s name is perhaps her 14 year modelling contract with Lancôme and the famous lawsuit that followed, or her amazingly eccentric film career (which includes masterpieces such as Blue Velvet, Death Becomes Her, Immortal Beloved, The Saddest Music on Earth), or the fact that she is the daughter of classic Hollywood actress Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini, the father of neorealist film, or for her participation in Madonna’s Sex Book. Maybe you don’t know her at all. Whatever does or does not come to mind with the mention of her name, this rockin’ 62 year old powerhouse of joy and creativity continues to surprise us and make us laugh.
In 2008 she was commissioned by Robert Redford at the Sundance Channel to create educational short films on the behaviors present in the animal kingdom. Having to choose which angle might be best suited to mainstream interests, Rossellini decided on sex and Green Porno was born.
Created on a shoestring budget, these films are something to experience. They are bizarre, funny, creative, educational and surprising. Even if you lead in Trivial Pursuit on animal facts, the aesthetic and comedic genius of these snippets will make you laugh out loud. The moment might start with a ‘wtf!’ but it will then quickly descend into laughter. They are brilliant.
Having always wanted to work for National Geographic and David Attenborough, Rossellini has now earned a Master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation and her childhood fascination has become one of her priorities.
‘Praying mantis, they eat their husbands while they’re mating, how do you like that?’
In one interview Rossellini explained how she approached a variety of actors and creators to work on Green Porno. Many turned her down and therefore she ended up writing, directing, and acting in these films herself while working with a very small team. If you want something done, do it yourself. She proves this over and over again.
Now living a charmed life between Paris and New York, she also runs her organic farm which works in collaboration with some Brooklyn restaurants and encourages the ‘farm to table’ approach.
‘It’s wonderful to eat the food that you know as a seed and then it grows and then you eat it and you have the chef that prepares it perfectly.’
Being a conservationist concerned with the treatment of animals, she admits to having old pigs and chickens because she can’t bring herself to slaughter them since she now ‘knows them personally’.
In 2014 Green Porno was brought to the stage and received much acclaim. The show toured the world with Rossellini performing a full length monologue in either English, French or Italian.
With a second and third season and a book to add to the list, Rossellini continues to explore the fascinating behaviours of creatures found on land and in the sea. Hope and change comes with education and understanding and therefore Green Porno could not be more pertinent today with an environment under attack and a variety of species disappearing everyday.
The more one watches and reads about Isabella Rossellini the more one falls in love with her. Her laugh is contagious and she carries a wonderful joie de vivre around with her. She’s just plain kick ass cool.
Some great quotes from Isabella
‘For a long time we wondered why homosexuality existed, why gay men and women exist. If the purpose of sexuality is to reproduce, why would same sex make love? So we thought it was unique to man, due to our culture, our brain, our society, and it was a deviation, it was against nature. But recent studies have found that a lot of animals are same sex animals. So now, how do you explain it? Well, very simple. We had the wrong definition of sexuality. […] [Mating] for sure is for reproduction but it’s for other things: bonding, hierarchy, sense of family and other reasons.’
‘I’m so surprised that the emphasis on aging here is on physical decay, when aging brings such incredible freedom. Now what I want most is laughs. I don’t want to hurt anybody by laughing—there is no meanness to it. I just want to laugh.’
On meeting Alfred Hitchcock for the first and only time.
‘I only met him once when he was very old and in fact I even thought he was unconscious because he was sitting on a chair, frozen, and everybody was talking and he didn’t react to anything and his eyes seemed lost and I felt really bad. And then we were leaving and we said goodbye and he said: ‘Kid, never get arrested. It’s terrible to get arrested. That’s what happened to me when I was a little boy. My father had me arrested for one day and since then it influenced my entire life.’ And in a flash I understood his films! So he was conscious and very funny.’
TimesTalks Luminato 2014
On the Strombo Show talking about working with Denis Villeneuve on his most recent film Enemy (2013).
For Season 2 & 3 of Green Porno visit http://www.sundance.tv/series/greenporno