On the occasion of the preview to the Italian press of his last film, The Post, the director Steven Spielberg arrived in Milan together with the two protagonists of the film, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep . All three attended the press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan. Here is the record of the meeting with journalists.
Q: Did you choose to shoot this film because you believe that press freedom is threatened?
Steven Spielberg : "I believe that Freedom of the press is a right that allows journalists to be the true guardians of democracy.This is what I was taught when I was young and remains an incontrovertible truth.When Nixon tried to deny this right to publish and make known the Pentagon Papers and even it took a Supreme Court ruling, as the Court of Appeal had effectively prevented the New York Times from continuing with the publication, it was truly an unprecedented act and it was the first time it happened American Civil War Today we find ourselves once again observing the real threat to freedom of the press and this means that there is an absolute relevance of those facts of 1971. I have the story discovered thanks to the screenplay by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. "
Q: What were the reactions of the American press?
Steven Spielberg : "From the American press we have had a lot of support and demonstrations to support the film, a press that has to repulse every day the attacks that the administration has to fight against misinformation, and too often sees using very easy labels like fake news, when a story that is published does not appeal to the president.The film has met with much support beyond the political message and the defense of freedom of the press. for the figure of Katharine Graham, for this woman who was so beautifully interpreted by Meryl Streep, she found herself at the top of her profession with a great difficulty in finding a voice that would allow her to assert herself, in a world ruled by men, both in the profession and in the society itself.
At such a crucial time this voice found it putting everyone to their I believe that the emotional core of the story of my film concerns precisely this figure of a woman who manages to be herself and find a voice. And for the first time in my career I found myself portraying a complex human relationship like the one that existed between Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee. I had a huge fortune to be able to work with two great actors like Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. "
Q: Meryl Streep, what can a figure like Katharine Graham teach today's women?
Meryl Streep : "The screenplay was written by Liz Hannah and was purchased by Amy Pascal six days before the election. We all thought it would be a look back a bit 'nostalgic and that would have been a very interesting screenplay in view of a woman president, because it was something that everyone took for granted. Instead, the day of the election came, and then an increase in hostility to freedom of the press, an increase in attacks on women. Something that was shown right at the top, at the height of our government. In a certain sense it was a bit of a reflection on what we have not done and how much work we still need to do. "
Q: Is courage to be learned or is it necessarily something innate?
Meryl Streep : "First of all we can say that the courage we are talking about in this film originated from Daniel Ellsberg, a person in a certain sense close enough to the institutions. He had worked for the government, for the RAND Corporation, for the State Department, and had been a journalist soldier who had decided to challenge the law against espionage and to steal the documents to get them to New York Times' Neil Sheehan. With this publication the American people have come to know something terrible.
Four administrations had lied to the people and President Nixon was doing everything to suppress freedom of the press. It was an act of great courage on the part of this woman, head of this newspaper. A woman who almost felt she was not in her place. Courage can be learned. I think Katharine Graham has learned it but we do not teach her enough to our girls. Ben Bradlee, so beautifully portrayed by Tom Hanks, was a man of great courage. He decided and agreed to put everything at risk, just to tell the truth. I believe we should teach it to our young people. Learn Courage. "
Tom Hanks : " The great Ben Bradlee was a very competitive man. A beast. He had a great passion, a great determination to have a story in his hands. Not just any story but History. In June 1971, the Washington Post was in competition with the Washington Star, which at the time was the number one newspaper in Washington DC
And the idea that the NYT could have a story that the Post did not have, kept Ben awake Bradlee the night, because this made him mad. "
Q: Meryl, you're one of the most active Hollywood stars in the fight against violence against women Why did it take so long?
Meryl Streep : "Because human beings are beings that learn very slowly. But it is certainly not a new battle. I can not say the reason why it took so long, but one thing I know: I know that the air has changed. It's changing. And this is not happening only in Hollywood, but in the military, in various sectors, in every workplace. The situation is changing, it is changing. There was this great openness because the names that are written in large letters in Hollywood have come out thanks to the rebellion of these women. People felt brave, they felt able to do something. I predict that there will perhaps be a few steps back but then we will continue to move forward. "
D: Steven Spielberg, what do you think is the current state of things in the relationship between man and woman?  Steven Spielberg : "To answer your question I should probably be the greatest novelist, I should be a qualified sociologist or the host of an important talk show on American broadcasters that also broadcast in Italy. I should be the classic person to whom everyone is asking for advice and has no problem giving advice to anyone. But let's talk about an absolutely archaic theme, which dates back to the dawn of time. It has so many centuries of history behind it, on which rivers of ink have truly been written in the form of novels, books and essays. Movies were made, series and mini-television series were made. Women have shown throughout the story that they have the strength to break the mold in which men force them to be and try to make them stay. I certainly do not have the right competence to be able to provide exhaustive and correct answers but I think that precisely because of the examples that the story reports on the ability of women to find their place, to be leaders and to have a say, I think that the problem is mainly for men.
They are the men who have not yet learned, they have not yet shown the will to be able to control themselves, to behave in an absolutely adequate way, to accept a 'no' as an answer. As long as men are unable to accept a 'no' as a response from a woman, this struggle for power will continue. I hope that the film we have shown can inspire many women. Women who like Kay Graham, have difficulty in having their voice. Women who can finally find the courage to impose themselves. "