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Italy in a Day, the Life of Italians by Gabriele Salvatores

Natasha Lardera (August 30, 2014)
Italy in a Day is Oscar winning director Grabriele Salavtores' latest endeavor. The collective/social film portrays a day, a day only (October 26, 2013), in the life of Italians – there are those who are happy, those who are sad, those who are in jail or simply having meal with their family. Life can be so many different things...




“I'm always looking for new projects. I search the web, I ask around; but this one basically fell onto my lap. I went to my usual Buddhist temple and I was talking to this Italian guy who's an actor. He told me he was acting in a video for a friend of his... it was a video about Italians.”


Silvia Forni is an Italian photographer and videographer based in NYC, one of many who participated in Oscar winning director Grabriele Salavtores' latest endeavor: Italy in a Day. The collective/social film portrays a day, a day only (October 26, 2013), in the life of Italians – there are those who are happy, those who are sad, those who are in jail or simply having meal with their family. Life can be so many different things...


Choosing among 44.000 submissions was no easy feat, but that did not scare Salvatores, the team of Indiana Productions and Rai Cinema. Producer Lorenzo Gangarossa adapted a concept developed by Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions that released the film Life in a Day in 2011. The documentary “shot by film-makers all over the world, serves as a time capsule to show future generations what it was like to be alive on the twenty-fourth of July, 2010.”  Italy in a Day's concept is basically very similar but it concentrates on the condition of Italy and its inhabitants.


Producer Lorenzo Gangarossa, whose collaborators were, Fabrizio Donvito, Marco Cohen and Benedetto Habib, told the press: “The film is a sort of first ever audio-visual census. We were stunned by the amount of people who told us about their day and I must say that the material has moved us. The film will be presented at the Mostra di Venezia, on September 2nd.. During those 76 minutes audiences will witness the emotional state of a country.” Gangarossa told that a mixed multitude of people have been captured answering questions such as “how's Italy?” “what scares you?” “are you happy?” The social aspect of the project leads to believe that it was mostly young people who participated but surprisingly there were plenty of older Italians telling their stories, including several octogenarians.


“The question I asked the people I filmed,” Silvia Forni tells of her experience, “was 'are you happy?' because I was interested in knowing that. I hear of so many people who are unhappy and I wanted to collect their stories.” Silvia submitted several clips but the one selected to be in a mosaic of images, portrays a friend of hers in a coffee shop telling us that she is happy.


“There are moving but also funny stories,” Gangarossa has said, “the film is a sort of emotional journal that has brought us all together. We didn't know what to expect, and we were a bit surprised by the beauty of these 2200 hours of images that our team, coordinated by editors Massimo Fiocchi e Chiara Griziotti, had to go through.”


Salvatores himself has said, “This experiment has been emotional, instructive and interesting. It was made possible only thanks to the technology we have today. It is a sort of modern version of the “message in a bottle” custom, and thousands of people decided to send their message to me. I was careful, respectful.”


The realities are many: there is an astronaut, Luca Parmitano, a careful doctor and even images shot at the maximum security prison of Bollate. “We talked to the Ministry of Justice and we came to an agreement. We went to the prison and showed some of the prisoners how to use the camera. We left some cameras behind to let them tell their stories. I think it was important to hear their voices too,” Gangarossa added.


How were the videos selected? Co-producer Danvito told the press; “We tagged each video by subject. Then we knew we wanted to cover the entire day, so all different hours, and most cities, from Pantelleria to Bolzano. We also kept in mind the questions we had offered as options and important life events. We made it to 76 minutes but Italy in a Day is an open project, ever growing, and we are planning to develop it further.”


So what about the Italy captured in the film? “It's suffering but it's creative and full of energy,” Gangarossa concluded.




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