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Articles by: Monica Straniero

  • Art & Culture

    American Stars Abound at the 14th Rome Film Fest

    “Racism, migration, and climate change are amongst the themes touched in the selected works,” according to Antonio Monda, the festival’s artistic director for the fifth year in a row. 

    Many titles, between films and documentaries, 33 are part of the Official Selection, 13 close encounters with directors and actors including Bill Murray, Benicio Del Toro, Ethan Coen, Ron Howard, John Travolta, Viola Davis, and Edward Norton. 25 countries are represented, 19 of the directors are women, and there are 37 world premieres. But the fest will expand beyond the Auditorium “because this year it will involve 18 locations across the city, including the neighborhood of Rebibbia and the Gemelli Hospital, while the red carpet will be roled out in 8 parts of the city,” Monda explains.

    Great anticipation for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, already presented at the New York Film Festival. A criminal saga narrating 40 years of American counter-history. Among others, the Downton Abbey movie based on the famed series, Honey Boy with Shia LaBeouf, the opening film Motherless Brooklyn by Ed Norton, Hustlers a film about the world of strippers with Jennifer Lopez, the Judy Garland biopic Judy, with Renée Zellweger, and Pavarotti, the documentary by Ron Howard.

    Three participating films are Italian, two are part of the Official Selection: Il ladro di Giorni (The Thief of Days) with Riccardo Scamarcio, and the documentary by Alessandro Piva, Santa Subito, while Cristina Comencini’s Tornare will be the closing film. 

     

    Lifetime achievement awards will go to Bill Murray, who will receive the prize from director Wes Anderson, and to Viola Davis, the only African American actress to have won a Tony, and Emmy and an Oscar.

    Interdependence is among the most anticipated special events. Every episode of the film is directed by independent directors from all five continents, who unite their strengths to sensitize public opinion to environmental issues and climate change: each one offers a unique perspective on the concept of interdependence. 

    Negramaro. L’anima vista da qui, a documentary about the band from Apuglia, who will then meet with the audience. More on music with the documentary about Kurt Cobain’s last concert and The Fanatic, a film with John Travolta, who played many roles tied to music and dance.

     

  • Arte e Cultura

    Tante le star americane alla 14esima Festa del Cinema di Roma

    Tanti i titoli, tra film e documentari, in totale 33, che fanno parte della Selezione Ufficiale, 13 gli incontri ravvicinati con registi ed attori, tra cui Bill Murray, Benicio Del Toro, Ethan Coen, Ron Howard, John Travolta, Viola Davis, Edward Norton. Mentre sono 25 i paesi rappresentati, con 19 registe donne e 37 prime mondiali. Ma la Festa non sarà solo all’Auditorium “perché quest’anno si articolerà in 18 luoghi della città, tra cui  Rebibbia e Policlinico Gemelli, mentre il red carpet sfilerà in 8 parti della città” dice ancora Monda.

    Grande attesa per The Irishman di Martin Scorsese, con Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci e Al Pacino, già presentato al Festival del Cinema di New York. Una saga criminale che racconta 40 anni di contro-storia americana. Tra gli altri film, Downton Abbey, tratto dalla celebre serie, Honey  Boy con Shia LaBeouf, il film di apertura Motherless Brooklyn di Ed Norton, Hustlers, film sul mondo delle spogliarelliste, con Jennifer Lopez, Judy sull’attrice Judy Garland, protagonista del film Il Mago di Oz, con Renée Zellweger e Pavarotti, il documentario di Ron Howard. 

    Tre i film italiani in concorso, due fanno parte della Selezione Ufficiale. Il ladro di Giorni con Riccardo Scamarcio, il documentario di Alessandro Piva, Santa Subito, mentre Tornare di Cristina Comencini, sarà il film di chiusura. Premi alla carriera a Bill Murray, che riceverà il premio dal regista Wes Anderson, e a Viola Davis, l’unica attrice afroamericana ad aver vinto, Tony, Emmy e Oscar.

    Interdependence è tra gli eventi speciali più attesi. Ogni episodio del film è diretto da registi indipendenti provenienti dai cinque continenti che uniscono le forze per sensibilizzare l'opinione pubblica sull'ambiente e i cambiamenti climatici: ognuno offre una prospettiva unica sul concetto di interdipendenza

    Negramaro. L’anima vista da qui, un documentario sulla band pugliese che poi incontrerà il pubblico. Ancora musica con un doc sull’ultimo concerto di Kurt Cobain dei Nirvana ed il film The Fanatic, con John Travolta, che ha interpretato molti ruoli legati alla musica ed il ballo.

  • Arte e Cultura

    La storia del cinema e la storia dello sviluppo tecnologico

    La storia del cinema va di pari passo con la storia dello sviluppo tecnologico. Eppure la rivoluzione digitale ha trasformato l'industria cinematografica e televisiva in modi imprevedibili. Autori e produttori sono stati costretti a trovare risposte creative all'incertezza indotta dalla popolarità di Internet e dal successo delle nuove piattaforme digitali, in particolare tra i giovani.

    Indipendentemente dal fatto che questi cambiamenti siano poco visibili o in modo schiacciante, la tecnologia digitale sta trasformando come sono i film, da quelli a budget modesto girati con fotocamere digitali ai blockbuster carichi di immagini generate al computer.  Dovremmo piangere, festeggiare o alzare le spalle?  Intorno a questo dilemma si è consumato l'incontro tra produttori e autori in occasione della tavola rotonda organizzata nell'ambito del Premio Solinas 2019, dal 2015 sotto la presidenza di Annamaria Granatello, che si è svolto a La Maddalena dal 19 al 22 settembre.

    Nato per rendere omaggio alla figura e all’opera di Franco Solinas, scrittore e sceneggiatore scomparso prematuramente nel 1982 autore del romanzo Squarciò, e di film come La battaglia di AlgeriKapò, il prenio Solinas, a 33 anni dalla nascita, si conferma una bottega creativa permanente, un riferimento essenziale per l'industria cinematografica italiana.

    Se nel corso della storia gli artisti hanno adattato le nuove tecnologie ai propri fini creativi, oggi autori e sceneggiatori devono confrontarsi con le nuove abitudini di consumo maggiormente orientate verso una cultura on demand dove codice e storia spesso si scontrano.

    YouTube incoraggia lo sviluppo di reti multicanale che tentano di sfornare contenuti, ingabbiando i talenti tra le righe di contratti restrittivi. Nel frattempo Netflix, Hulu e Amazon raddoppiano lo sviluppo di contenuti originali nel tentativo di aumentare la base degli abbonati per diventare il prossimo HBO. 

    Per autori e sceneggiatri se il digitale ha introdotto nuovi cliché visivi con il rischio di perpetuare la produzione di film mediocri, dall'altro aprono a nuove possibilità estetiche e di narrazione. La tecnologia quindi come partner creativo, in grado di plasmare il modo in cui le storie vengono trovate e raccontate.

    Tra i presenti alla tavola, il regista americano Michel Hoffman: "Per noi produttori piattaforme come YouTube ci offrono l'occasione di mostrare il nostro lavoro quando gli studios ci negano i fondi. Possiamo creare le nostre storie alle nostre condizioni senza essere censurati, il che è cruciale per l'espressione artistica".

    Il film vincitore dell'edizione 2019 del Premio Solinas, L’angelo Infelice‘ di Paolo Strippoli, Jacopo Del Giudice e Milo Tissone, riflette lo spirito del più importante e prestigioso premio nel panorama italiano e internazionale:, ovvero aiutare i nuovi narratori di creare un luogo sicuro in cui sperimentare nuove forme narrative,senza la pressione del mercato e con un vero spirito di scoperta. 

     

  • Facts & Stories

    Tony Driver And The Harsh Reality of Borders

    The incredible life of Pasquale Donatone could inspire entire debates and conferences on the topics of civil rights, human rights, and migration. Instead, to much more effect, it was taken up by the documentary film “Tony Driver.” Conceived and realized by director Ascanio Petrini, it is one of the seven debuts selected for the 34th International Film Critics’ Week of the 76th Venice Film Festival.

     

    Pasquale is the subject and real-life star of the film. After having worked on the story for two years, the director decided to entrust the role directly to the face and voice of the man who lived and is living it first-hand. 

     

    The film was shot between the United States, Mexico, and Puglia. It is the true story of Pasquale. Born in Bari, at 9 year-old he emigrated with his family to the US. There he grew up and became fully integrated, known to all as Tony. 

     

    A naturalized American by fact but not by right. Pasquale-Tony found that out when he was arrested at the wheel of his cab in Yuma for transporting illegal immigrants from Mexico into the United States. Despite all the years spent in America, Tony had not applied for citizenship. So he found himself having to choose between two options: go to jail in Arizona or spend ten years in exile in Italy. 

     

    And so he made his way back among us. Where does he live? He leads a distinguished life in a cave in Polignano a Mare. An Italian-American who doesn’t speak Italian, his face is like Travis' in Paris, Texas, and he wants nothing more than to go back to the States to have a word with Mr. Trump. Staying in Italy is not part of his plan, it’s a place “devoid of opportunity.”

     

    Ascanio Petrini

    “In Tony and in this story - director Petrini explains - I found a new character who was able to shift between Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle and Wile E. Coyote from the Road Runner cartoon: an antihero destined to fail but also to keep trying. When we met, Tony lived in a cave on the Mediterranean, in total reclusion, as if his spaceship had crashed onto another planet and he was stuck there, between rocks and water. I began filming it myself but I quickly realized that the deeply contradictory landscapes of his story deserved an appropriate visual rendition: it had to be set here in Italy but also there, in America.”

     

    According to the International Film Critic’s Week board: Tony Driver “is the reversed epic of an anti-Italian that could be the forgotten screenplay of Age & Scarpelli, an unrealized film by Dino Risi or Ettore Scola.” A film “out of the norm - says General Delegate of the Venice International Film Critics' Week Giona A. Nazzaro - of a foreigner in a foreign land. A film about the absurdity of borders, crucial for thinking about an issue that needs to be revisited.”

     

    The reactions to the film were polarized, as is often the case with documentaries, as the genre evolves in new directions. At times leaning towards animation, other times towards genre film, or historical documentary. We appreciate the “light-heartedness” with which the director chose to tackle the story and the “realness” that comes from entrusting to role of Pasquale to the man himself. The result is that, although we are not watching fiction, the confines between film and reality are blurred. And this is true cinema. A cinema that makes us think about borders, about the right to citizenship, about migration. It makes us think, not because it puts forward an argument, or delves deeper into the topic, but because it tells a story. 

     

  • Fatti e Storie

    Tony Driver e la dura legge dei confini

    Attorno all’incredibile vita di Pasquale Donatone si potrebbero organizzare convegni e dibattiti sui diritti civili, diritti umani, migrazioni. Invece, molto più efficacemente, è stato realizzato un film documentario “Tony Driver”. Pensato e diretto dal regista Ascanio Petrini, è uno dei sette esordi proposti dalla 34° Settimana Internazionale della Critica alla 76° Mostra del Cinema di Venezia.
     

    Pasquale è il soggetto e il reale protagonista del film. Dopo aver lavorato per due anni alla storia, il regista ha infatti deciso di affidarsi direttamente al volto e alla voce di chi l’ha vissuta e la sta vivendo di persona.

    Il film è stato girato tra gli Stati Uniti, il Messico e la Puglia.  E’ la storia vera di Pasquale. Nato a Bari e migrato bambino di 9 anni con la famiglia negli Stati Uniti. Lì è cresciuto, si è completamente inserito, tanto da farsi chiamare Tony.

    Americano naturalizzato di fatto, ma non di diritto. Questo lo scopre Pasquale-Tony quando, tassista di frontiera a Yuma, viene arrestato perché trasporta migranti illegali dal Messico agli Stati Uniti. Nonostante tutti gli anni vissuti in America, Tony non aveva fatto richiesta di cittadinanza. Si trova così a scegliere tra due pene: carcere in Arizona o espulsione per dieci anni in Italia.

    Ed eccolo qui, tra noi. E dove vive? Da distinto signore in una grotta di Polignano a Mare. Un italoamericano che l’italiano non lo parla, con la faccia di Travis in Paris, Texas, e che altro non aspetta che tornare negli States a dirne quattro a Mr Trump. Stare in Italia non rientra nei suoi orizzonti,  è un posto “privo di opportunità”.

    Ascanio Petrini

    “In Tony e in quella storia – racconta il regista Petrini – ho trovato un nuovo personaggio capace di muoversi tra il Trevis Bickle di Taxi Driver e Willy il Coyote di Road Runner: un antieroe destinato a perdere ma anche a provarci. Quando ci siamo incontrati Tony viveva in una grotta sul mar Mediterraneo, nel completo rifiuto di ogni cosa, come ‘se la sua astronave fosse precipitata su un altro pianeta e lui fosse bloccato li’, tra rocce e acqua. Ho cominciato a filmarlo per conto mio ma presto mi sono reso conto che i paesaggi profondamente contraddittori della sua storia meritavano una restituzione visiva: doveva essere ambientata qui in Italia ma anche lì, in America”.

    Per i selezionatori della Sic: Tony Driver “è l’epopea al contrario di un anti italiano che potrebbe essere una sceneggiatura dimenticata di Age e Scarpelli, un film mai fatto di Dino Risi o Ettore Scola”. Un film “fuori norma – dice il delegato generale della Sic Giona A. Nazzaro – su uno straniero in terra straniera. Un film sull’assurdità delle frontiere, cruciale per ragionare su una delle questioni che vanno rimesse in discussione”.

    Le reazioni al film sono state alterne, come accade di frequente verso le forme più diverse che sta assumendo il cinema documentaristico. A volte fumetto, a volte film di genere, a volte documento storico. Noi apprezziamo la “leggerezza” con cui il regista ha voluto affrontare la storia e affidandarsi alla “verità” di Pasquale nei panni di attore. Il risultato è che, pur se non assistiamo a una fiction,  sono incerti i confini tra cinema e finzione. E questo è il cinema. Un cinema che fa riflettere, sui confini, sul diritto di cittadinanza, sulle migrazioni. Fa riflettere non tanto perché argomenta un tema o affonda la ricerca, ma perché racconta.

  • Art & Culture

    Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, Tarantino’s Homage to Italian Cinema

    Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s new movie, which was presented in Cannes and came out on July 26 in the US, arrived in Rome for a big preview in anticipation of the September 18 Italian premiere with Sony Pictures. Along with the director, who wore a black t-shirt stamped with the word Brutalism, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie also attended the premiere. 

     

    According to Leonardo DiCaprio, 2016 Academy Award Winner for his performance in the Revenant, his character explores what it meant to be an actor at a time when Hollywood was being transformed. “The movie tells the story of two people who are trying to survive in a changing Hollywood. I play a bipolar man, distraught by how the film industry is moving on without him.”

     

    Beyond Margot Robbie, whom Tarantino chose to interpret Sharon Tate, whose assassination anniversary took place on August 9, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Zoe Bell, Dakota Fanning and even the late Luke Perry are also part of the cast. 

     

    For his ninth film, the director of Pulp Fiction casts aside his propensity towards splatter to create a nostalgic and humorous tribute, as an auteur in search of a lost era. One of the scenes that are sure to become cult classics is the one where Brad Pitt is challenged by Bruce Lee. “I don’t want to seem like the typical old guy who prefers the movies of the past, but back then we had artisans who were able to capture beautiful images without the use of digital. I remember the marvelous sets from back then. Everything was built from scratch. But it was also very expensive. Budgets that today are out of reach even for big productions.”

     

    Tarantino’s love of the seventh art is boundless. “I’m passionate about B movies and I always loved Italian ones, westerns, mysteries, and sexy comedies, even peplum films. Directors like Sergio Leone, Duccio Tessari, Sergio Sollima, Sergio Corbucci gave new life to these genres. An English critic, Laurence Staig, wrote a book years ago titled 'Italian Western. The Opera of violence' and actually it’s what I’m doing, at least with regards to violence, with all of my oeuvre.”

     

  • Arte e Cultura

    C'era una volta a....Hollywood, l'omaggio di Tarantino al cinema italiano

    Uscito negli Stati Uniti il 26 luglio, C'era una volta a.... Hollywood, il nuovo film di Quentin Tarantino, già' presentato a Cannes, arriva a Roma per una grande anteprima in attesa dell'uscita italiana con Sony Pictures il 18 settembre. Oltre al regista Quentin Tarantino, che indossava una t-shirt nera con la scritta Brutalism, a presentare il film anche Leonardo Di Caprio e Margot Robbie.

     
    "Non so se il cinema può' cambiare il corso degli eventi, ma può' certamente esercitare una certa influenza".  Dice il regista che con questo ultimo film chiude la trilogia della storia revisionista iniziata con "Bastardi senza gloria" e "Django unchained". Ambientato nel '69, è la storia dell’amicizia tra un attore, DiCaprio, attore di western tv di serie B ormai al tramonto, e il suo stunt-man (Brad Pitt), nel periodo in cui Charlie Manson e la sua “family” progettarono di uccidere l’attrice Sharon Tate, moglie di Roma Planski.
     
    C'era una volta a..... Hollywood è un film bizzarro, seducente, coloratissimo, mescola personaggi fittizi con celebrità reali, serie TV, scene da "film nel film" primo tra tutti "The Wrecking Crew" dove Sharon Tate recitava con Dean Martin. Ma sono tanti i tributi e le citazioni ad una Hollywood dei tempi d'oro magnificamente rappresentata. "The Wrecking Crew è Un film che ho adorato - rivela Tarantino - Sharon era molto brava e aveva tanto  talento. E grazie a lei che ho trovato ispirazione a scrivere gran parte del film".

    Per Leonardo Di Caprio, premio Oscar 2016 per The Revanant, il suo personaggio indaga la natura dell'attore in un periodo in cui Hollywood era in trasformazione. "Il film racconta la vita di due persone che cercano sopravvivere ad una Hollywood che cambia. Interpreto un uomo bipolare, angosciato per il fatto che il mondo del cinema continua ad andare avanti nonostante lui".

    Nel cast oltre a Margot Robbie alla quale Quentin Tarantino ha affidato l'interpretazione di Sharon Tate, il cui anniversario dell'assassinio ricorrerà' il 9 agosto, anche Al PacinoKurt RussellBruce DernZoe BellDakota Fanning e persino il compianto Luke Perry.

    Per il suo nono film, il regista di Pulp Fiction, mette da parte il lato splatter per abbandonarsi ad un tributo nostalgico e divertente, di un autore alla ricerca del tempo perduto. Tra le scene destinate a diventare cult quella in cui Brad viene sfidato da Bruce Lee. "Non voglio sembrare il vecchio rimbambito che preferisce il cinema del passato, ma a quell'epoca c'erano artigiani capaci di catturare immagini belle senza il digitale. Ricordo i set meravigliosi che c'erano allora. Tutto veniva costruito da zero.  Ma costava anche tanto. Budget che oggi sono fuori portato anche per le grandi produzioni".  

    E' un amore sconfinato quello che Tarantino nutre per la settima arte. "Sono un appassionato dei B movie e ho sempre amato quelli italiani, western, giallo e commedia sexy, persino il peplum. Registi come Sergio Leone , Duccio Tessari, Sergio Sollima, Sergio Corbucci hanno dato nuova linfa a questi generi. Un critico inglese, Laurence Staig, anni fa ha scritto il libro 'Italian Western. The Opera of violence' ed è in fondo, almeno per quanto riguarda la violenza, quello che sto facendo io con tutta la mia opera".

  • Art & Culture

    Milena Vukotic: Fellini Changed My Life

    An eclectic and versatile actress, Milena Vukotic, born in 1935, is amongst the most beloved stars of Italian cinema, theatre, and television. Her film debut took place in 1960 with Damiano Damiani’s Il Sicario. She has worked in over 120 films with masters such as Monicelli, Fellini, Lina Wertmüller, Lattuada, Lizzani, Dino Risi, Bertolucci, Tarkovskij, Oshima, Buñuel and in the popular Fantozzi film series alongside the iconic Paolo Villaggio. Throughout her extensive career, she made every character she portrayed her own. In theatre, she worked with the likes of Strehler, Zeffirelli, Enriquez, Paolo Poli and received the Eleonora Duse Prize in 2002 and the Flaiano Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. Memorable her performances in Lina Wertmüller’s Lasciami Andare Madre, Regina Madre with Antonello Avallone, and Sorelle Materassi by Geppy Gleijeses. Now, she wins yet another award in addition to the numerous ones conquered over the years. 

     

    Milena Vukotic received the Sangemini Special Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th edition of the Ortigia Film Festival in the town of Siracusa.

     

    You worked with the histrionic Federico Fellini, which had been a fundamental figure for you ever since you saw La Strada for the first time in Paris.

     

    I was studying dance and theatre in Paris when one day I saw La Strada by Fellini, and it’s that moment that sparked my interest for cinema. During that time, I was looking for fresh inspiration. That film was a sign of fate. And so I dropped everything and returned to Rome with the desire to meet him. Back then, I would’ve never imagined that Fellini would forever be a part of my life.  

     

    Can you tell us about your first encounter?

     

    In Rome, I took my first steps in TV with Lina Wertmüller’s Gian Burrasca. For my meeting with Fellini, I had a letter of introduction with me, which remained in my pocket because he immediately put me at ease. And then there was my first role in one of his films: the 1967 Giulietta degli Spiriti.

     

    What kind of relationship did you build over the years?

     

    Fellini was able to bring out parts of me I didn’t even know were there. And that’s also why we formed an authentic bond. With him and with Giulietta Masina. What united us wasn’t just artistic collaboration, but also a profound friendship which marked my life. I admired him immensely. One day I visited the set of Ginger and Fred and I was mesmerized by the magic of his direction. Federico was very joyous and funny. You laughed a lot around him. Our encounters were always a big party. 

     

    Do you see his heir in any American director?

     

    No. For now I can’t think of anyone with his talent and visionary ability to interpret reality. Fellini was unique and will remain so in the history of art. The emotions he made me feel are indescribable. Every time I watch his films I see in them the genius of global cinema. His masterpieces influenced entire generations of directors, and in the United States there are still many who take inspiration from his most iconic film, La Dolce Vita. 

     

    If you had been an American actress, who would you have wanted as a director?

     

    Woody Allen, definitely. Like Fellini, he is unique and inimitable. They have both been controversial figures but gifted with an extremely clear outlook on reality and a dissacrating voice.

     

    How has contemporary cinema changed?

     

    There is much talent in Italy but the economic and social problems and the presence of a  divided government unable to sustain cinema are keeping a resource such as the Italian film industry from becoming a driving force of the country’s economy. It’s not an easy time for Italy, in fact, I believe it might be one of the most disastrous, but the innate sense for art that has marked our culture for millennia will help our Bel Paese to regain its past glory. 

     

    The movie industry has been the scene of many scandals in the past years. The most infamous of which gave birth to the MeToo movement. What are your thoughts?

     

    The history of cinema is made of scandals. Situations such as the ones denounced by the movement have always existed and continue to take place. But it’s good that we are talking about this today and that certain facts have emerged. Yet, I don’t think it will cause the power dynamics between producers, directors, and actresses to change much. And there is also still much work to be done regarding the issue of equal pay, which in the United States is a hot source of debate amongst male and female colleagues. But I want to be optimistic and hope that the first victories will soon arrive. 

  • Art & Culture

    Mogol: A Classical Music Project With Berklee College

    Giulio Rapetti, in art Mogol, author of the most famous Italian songs, received the Special OFF11 Sangemini Lifetime Award at the Ortigia Film Festival in Siracusa. Just last year, the famous songwriter received a lifetime recognition from the Berklee College of Music. From there a partnership was born between the famed music school and the CET (European Center of Toscolano) - a citadel built by the artist in the Umbrian forest and in which he invested all the rights from his texts. A project aimed at spreading classical music on an international scale, especially amongst young people. 

     

    Mogol, the poet of Italian music, has worked with great singers such as Battisti, Mina, Riccardo Cocciante, Adriano Celentano, Mango, Gianni Morandi, and many others. His literary works embrace the notes, creating musical milestones that have topped the charts 121 times in his career. 

     

    And to think that in the beginning he didn’t like that name, “Mogol,” the pseudonym of the leader of the Junior Woodchucks (boy scouts in the Disney universe) “then, in time, it brought me luck.”

     

    What did you learn in your lifelong career?

    Absolute freedom. To live in the service of no one, to avoid seeking success at all cost, or trying to be liked by everyone. The freedom to transform music into words. My songs follow a path where music lightly spreads over the words to create the perfect melody. I take inspiration from my life, from the experiences that have marked my life. I give voice to my heart to talk about authenticity.

     

    What inspires you to write?

    I believe in God and I think that is a privileged source of inspiration. You still have to look at real life, the one we live every day. Often people create fictions to attract more listeners, but when you manage to produce real life, it has a different color, a different smell, and a different light. I write about situations and emotions in which people can recognize themselves. We all experience the same feelings. And you can tell if a text comes from life. 

     

    What song still moves you?

    There are many songs that I have written and then forgotten about. There are others that I listen to and always find myself proud to have been the one to write them.

     

    Your partnership with Battisti: how did it all begin?

    Lucio was introduced to me by a friend who wanted to promote him as a new singer on the Italian music scene. The first impression wasn’t too exciting but then we tried to make something. And that’s how it began on the 29th of September. Battisti had a vast musical culture and he absorbed everything. And he understood me immediately.

     

    Your songs are in 525 million CDs sold all around the world...

    It’s an incredible result that I never anticipated. There are certainly 121 songs that have reached the top of international charts. 

     

    You are a guest at the Ortigia Film Festival, what is your relationship to cinema?

    I like to watch films but I never thought about making one. Anyway, my songs are like little movies. My creativity is expressed through writing. 

     

  • Art & Culture

    Aspromonte, The Land of The Forgotten

    Presented at the Taormina Film Festival and premiering in Italian theatres on October 17th, Mimmo Caloprsti’s film is set in Africo, a small town in the heart of Aspromonte, where Pietro Criaco, the author of the novel that inspired the movie, (“Via dall’Aspromonte”, Rubbettino Editions) was born.

     

    The “ultimi” (which literally translates to 'last ones' though the title was translated into 'The Land of the Forgotten') mentioned in the title are the inhabitants of a town that has always lived in isolation. Old Africo, destroyed by the 1951 flood, today consists of a cluster of ruins gathered around the beautiful San Leo Monastery. “The South has always been a geographic and spiritual place. Heaven and Hell, fairy tale and tragedy,” director Mimmo Calopresti explains. “And so is this film.”

     

    The story is set in the 1950s, there is no electricity and not even one connecting road. In Africo, institutions are absent, here, everything feels suspended, in limbo. There is a complete lack of collective interest in a place that actually has a deep desire for redemption. In the film, we see inhabitants who are exasperated by the general indifference they face, and after yet another woman dies during childbirth because the doctor couldn’t make it in time, decide to pave the road their own hands and open up a path towards the future.  

     

    This journey also sees the involvement of elementary school children. Their teacher, Giulia, (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) wants to teach them Italian so that when the road will be complete they will be ready to enter the new world. 

     

    “I left my small Calabrian town when I was very young and now I need to go back to my origins,” continued the director, who is originally from Polistena, in the province of Reggio Calabria. “When I began filming I thought I was making a timeless film. Then I understood that Africo is the capital of the world, it is today.”

     

    The movie is a story of civil disobedience. The Africotans, lead by Peppe, (Francesco Colella) will have to face Don Totò, (Sergio Rubini) a sort of farmer/mafia boss, who makes the law and doesn’t let anything question his power over the community. 

     

    Historical shots recreate a universe that operated on the margins of the margins, detached, far from any axis, a town thought of a cursed, plagued by misery, and long-ruled by the ‘ndrangheta. (the Calabrian mafia, ed.) In one scene, the director recreates the arrival of journalists from the North sent down to document this complex and incomprehensible reality, the way of life of a long-forgotten people.

     

    After the floods of the 1950s, Africo was fully evacuated. Only later did they discover that the center could have been rebuilt where it once stood or in its immediate vicinity. The town became a symbol of civil and human abandonment by the national community. The same happens today.

     

    “Africo is in Europe and it reminds us of what, just one century ago, our country could be,” Calopresti explains, “but, the Italian South, its dreams and its defeats, more so than our continent, resembles all those places that are left to die in order to better pillage them of their natural resources. The “ultimi” today are numerous and they need to exist. They are alive, still present, still desperately in search of a future, at the doors of Europe.”

     

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