Crime Novel, an Italian film that had its North American premiere recently at the Tribeca Film Festival, is an epic, in-depth look at the rise and fall of a real-life Roman crime syndicate. Taking just a few central figures as its focus, the movie covers nearly 20 years of the group's history, and, along with Nanni Moretti's Cannes-bound The Caiman, was the big winner at this year's Italian Oscars (properly called the David di Donatello Awards). Though the film's eight awards were primarily for things like design and cinematography, Pierfrancesco Favino, who plays Lebanese -- the gang's driving force, and easily the best thing in the film -- was named the year's best supporting actor.

Favino sat down with Cinematical on the morning before Crime Novel's premiere, and proved to have a tremendous passion for film, acting, and European culture. In Part One of the interview, he addresses the film and its historical and culture contexts (beware of spoilers!), as well as the effect it's had on his life. In Part Two, coming soon, he'll talk in more general terms about acting, as well as his career and Italian cinema as a whole.

Finally, a note: Favino's English is fantastic for communicating, but transfered to the page, it can be bit a bit difficult to sort out if you've not heard him speaking. To that end, I've done more editing than usual -- all changes to his words (noted, of course, by ellipses or brackets) were done only for the sake of clarity; his meaning and intent are never adjusted.