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Articles by: Monica Straniero

  • Art & Culture

    Pietro Bartolo’s Lampedusa at The Torino Film Festival

    “It’s not a movie about a hero but a true story on a topic that concerns us all.” With Nour, Maurizio Zaccaro brings today’s biggest humanitarian crisis to the Torino Film Festival. “Over 20 thousand people are dying in the Mediterranean and nobody is moving a finger to identify them. They die without an identity.”

    Inspired by the book “Lacrime di Sale” (salt tears) by Pietro Bartolo and Lidia Tilotta, the films integrates the story of the doctor from Lampedusa who welcomes and treats the migrants landing on the island, with that of Nour, a 12-year-old Sirian girl who journeys from Libya to Lampedusa without her mother. “I tried,” says the director “to work on the line between the lived truth, as described by Pietro Bartolo in his book, and the narrated truth, that of Sergio Castellito - the actor who plays him - in order to make everyone feel close to this complex story.”

    The film takes place entirely in Lampedusa, between the emergency room in which the doctor takes care of the refugees, the pier on which the boats arrive, a makeshift radio station, and the welcome center. “I spent 30 years in Lampedusa, I had a mission, a responsibility as a doctor which I could not ignore,” says the doctor who became a symbol of solidarity for his role on the island that has become the door into Europe. Now a member of the European Parliament in Brussels, he also appeared as himself in Gianfranco Rosi’s Fuocoammare, which won the Golden Bear at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.

    How has the phenomenon of immigration changed since Fuocoammare?

    Pietro Bartolo: Not much. People are now accustumed, indifferent to tragedy. They turn away from the umpteenth shipwreck. But they aren’t evil, they just aren’t informed correctly. I wrote books to tell the truth in a time in which we are bombarded by fake news that spread hate. But I am convinced that we mustn’t give up. Film continues to be a very powerful tool and I hope that Nour will contribute to the diffusion of values that give our life meaning. 

    You are known as the doctor from Lampedusa who saved and cured many human lives.

    Pietro Bartolo: I am not a hero, I am a doctor. Saving human lives is not a heroic act, it’s a duty. I treated 350 thousand people and I listened to them. I saw hundreds of dead bodies. There have been times in which I felt discouraged and wondered why I had to bear all of this. The biggest pain comes from seeing that the years pass and Europe still has not found valid solutions to avoid the deaths in the Mediterranean. But there have also been good moments, which gave me the strength to go on, such as helping to deliver a baby or giving hope to those who thought they had lost it forever. And I want to thank the film and the director for giving me the chance to share my experience and show the way that we have unfortunately lost, that of solidarity. 

    But movies alone are not enough. What can we do to bring about a true change?

    Changing the narrative, the way we talk about migrants is essential. We are facing an issue that is at the same time political, philosophical, legal, and athropological. I travel across Europe to assert the right to life, which these people have been denied. Migrants are human beings, not “invadors.” They are wealth, they are culture, they are a source of growth for our country, and they should be treated as such. They have the right to look for a better life. They are fleeing war, hunger, violence, and we are the ones who put them in the condition of leaving because we took away their resources, we colonized them. The film’s message is clear: today we have the duty to help them. We have to take down the physical walls, which like the one between Mexico and Arizona stops those who flee, and the mental ones which are even more dangerous!

  • Arte e Cultura

    La Lampedusa di Pietro Bartolo al Torino Film Festival

    “Non è un film su un eroe ma su una storia vera, su un tema che riguarda tutti noi”. Con Nour, Maurizio Zaccaro porta al Torino Film Festival la più grande emergenza umanitaria dei nostri giorni: “Abbiamo più di ventimila morti nel Mediterraneo e nessuno muove un dito per identificarli. Sono morti senza identità”.

    Tratto dal libro “Lacrime di sale” di Pietro Bartolo e Lidia Tilotta, il film intreccia la storia del medico di Lampedusa che accoglie e cura i migranti che sbarcano sulla sua isola, con quella di Nour, una piccola siriana di 12 anni arrivata dalla Libia a Lampedusa, senza la sua mamma. “Ho cercato – dice il regista  - di lavorare sul confine tra il vero vissuto, quello che Pietro Bartolo descrive nel suo libro, e il vero narrato, quello di Sergio Castellitto che lo interpreta sullo schermo, in modo da rendere una storia, pur complessa che sia, vicina a tutti”.

    Il film è interamente ambientato a Lampedusa, tra il pronto soccorso dove il medico si prende cura dei rifugiati, la banchina dove toccano terra le carrette del mare, una radio artigianale, il centro di accoglienza. “Ho trascorso trent’anni a Lampedusa, avevo una missione, una responsabilità da medico che non potevo ignorare”, dice il dottore diventato il simbolo della solidarietà per il ruolo svolto nell'isola diventata la porta d'Europa, e oggi eurodeputato a Bruxelles. E' apparso anche in Fuocammare di Gianfranco Rosi, Orso d’oro al Festival di Berlino nel 2016, dove interpreta se stesso.

    Come è cambiato il fenomeno dell’immigrazione da Fuocoammare?

    Pietro Bartolo: Non molto. La gente ormai si è assuefatta alle disgrazie. Si gira dall’altra parte davanti all’ennesimo naufragio. Ma non è cattiva, non viene informata correttamente. Ho scritto libri per raccontare la verità in tempi in cui siamo bersagliati da false notizie che seminano odio. Ma sono convinto che non bisogna arrendersi. Il cinema continua ad essere un mezzo molto potente e spero che Nour contribuisca a diffondere valori che danno senso alla nostra vita.

    E’ conosciuto come il medico di Lampedusa che tante vite umane ha salvato e altrettante ne ha curate.

    Pietro Bartolo: Non un eroe, sono un medico, salvare vite umane non è un atto eroico ma un obbligo. Ho curato 350 mila persone e le ho ascoltate. Ho visto centinaia di cadaveri. Ci sono stati moli momenti di sconforto e mi sono chiesto perché dovevo subire tutto questo. Il dolore più grande è vedere che gli anni passano e l’Europa non ha ancora soluzioni valide per evitare il dramma delle morti nel Mediterraneo. Ma ci sono stati anche momenti belli che mi hanno dato la forza di andare avanti, come far nascere un bambino o riuscire a dare speranza a chi era convinto di averla persa per sempre. E ringrazio il film e il regista per avermi permesso di raccontare la mia esperienza e indicare la strada maestra che abbiamo purtroppo smarrito, quella della solidarietà

    Ma il cinema da solo non basta. Cosa si può fare per avviare un vero cambiamento?

    È necessario infatti cambiare la narrazione sui migranti. Siamo di fronte a una questione che riguarda allo stesso tempo la politica e la filosofia, il diritto e l’antropologia. Viaggio attraverso l’Europa per rivendicare il diritto alla vita che abbiamo negato a queste persone. I migranti sono essere umani non “invasori”. Sono ricchezza, sono cultura, sono una fonte di crescita per il nostro Paese, e devono essere considerati tali. Hanno il diritto di cercare una soluzione migliore alla loro vita. Fuggono da guerra, fame e violenza e siamo stati noi stessi che li abbiamo messi nelle condizioni ad andare via perché gli abbiamo tolto le risorse, li abbiamo colonizzati. Il messaggio del film è chiaro: ora abbiamo il dovere di aiutarli. Dobbiamo abbattere i muri materiali che come quello al confine tra Messico e Arizona ferma chi scappa e quelli mentali che sono i più pericolosi!

  • Art & Culture

    Woody Allen's Latest, a Jewel of Auteur Cinema

    After Cafè Society (2016) and Wonder Wheel (2017), Woody Allen puts together an all-star cast in a film that marks the return to his origins.

     

    A Rainy Day in New York, produced by Amazon Studios, which following the controversy that emerged with the MeToo movement, chose not to distribute in the US, will come to Italian theatres with Lucky Red starting November 28. Through young talents Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning, the movie accompanies us through the adventures and misadventures of a loving couple during a weekend in the Big Apple.

     

    Chalamet plays Gatsby - a clear homage to the 1925 literary masterpiece by Francis Scott Fitzgerald - the offspring of a wealthy New York family. Gatsby belongs to a past era. He prefers Hollywood classics and the music of Gershwin, to anything contemporary. He wants to detach from the lifestyle dictated by his social status. Fanning plays Ashleigh, an aspiring reporter who writes for her college newspaper and has the opportunity to get her name out by interviewing independent film director Roland Pollard (played by Liev Schreiber). Chalamet and Fanning are joined by other known faces such as Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Diego Luna, and Rebecca Hall.

     

    As previously mentioned, Allen is a seasoned director, who relies on mundane aspects of everyday life to create captivating narratives. His usual themes are present in this latest work: love stories, the search for life’s meaning, identity crises, and family dynamics. The director doesn’t spare a few pokes at the golden world of today’s film industry, short on ideas and overun by big egos and playboys. 

     

    And let’s not forget the film’s other protagonist, New York itself, masterfully captured by the Italian master Vittorio Storaro. The city, as well as the weather, plays a key role in the development of the story. Allen carries us through the trees of Central Park, he tours us around the Met, and brings us inside the most exclusive locales such as the Carlyle Hotel or the duplex apartements of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The characters mix with these environments and seem to fuse with them, because the connection between character and place fills the life of this film. It makes it real and palpable. The rain hints at the different ways in which Gatsby and Ashleigh see life. Ashleigh thinks that the rain is sad, while Gatsby finds it romantic.

     

    Woody Allen brings, as always, parts of himself to the screen, in an attempt to exorcise fears and psychoses by showing characters torn between making the choices imposed by social circumstance and convenience and following their dreams.

     

    Yet, A Rainy Day in New York reveals to be much more optimistic than the majority of his works. “My intention was to make a positive film,” says Allen, “we are all fighting to find our place in this society. And my protagonist manages to do so in the end.” 

     

    The result is a film that reveals itself to be a jewel of auteur cinema, an homage to the old romantic comedies of Hollywood’s golden age. 

  • Art & Culture

    Frida Kahlo, Beyond the Myth

    After the success of the exhibition in honor of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo held at the Brooklyn Museum - the first one in the United States - Giovanni Troli’s documentary comes to the Torino Film Festival. “Frida, Viva la Vida” tells the story of a style icon, a symbol for a way of affirming femininity, beyond traditional canons.

     

    “There are many Fridas,” the director says, “with the writers we asked ourselves how we could add something new to such a well-known artist. In the end, we decided to focus on two aspects of Frida, who is on one side a symbol of modern femminism, and on the other a free artist despite the constrictions of her mutilated body.”

     

    Hit by polio when she was 6, and involved in a devastating accident at 18, Frida spent her entire life battling with intense pain. She developed a personal pictorial style, as a form of self-analysis and a way to witness her own existence. The result is a descriptive style, a combination of symbols, which, in time, became a reference model for artists, musicians, designers.

     

    And it’s Asia Argento who leads the audience in the discovery of the real Frida, her physical and emotional hardships, her destructive and totalizing relationship with Diego Rivera. “I feel very close to her because I too was the victim of a patriarchal system, which tends to silence and shut down women.” The Italian actress, among the first to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, and one of the key figures in the #MeToo movement, emphasizes Frida’s courage in rebelling to the traditional mysogynistic treatment of women as nothing more than objects of male desire. “A freedom that women have always had to learn to strive for, without always obtaining it.”

     

    The documentary, divided into six chapters, managed to do justice to an artist consumed by hardship. A long journey told through exclusive interviews, documentary footage, home videos and Kahlo’s own artworks, to try and paint an image of who Frida Kahlo really was: a figure or a person?

  • Arte e Cultura

    Un gioiello del cinema d'autore, l'ultimo di Woody Allen

    Dopo Cafè Society (2016),  La ruota delle meraviglie (2017), Woody Allen mette insieme un cast d'eccellenza per un film che segna il suo ritorno alle origini. 
     
    Un giorno di pioggia a New York, prodotto da Amazon Studios, che a seguito delle polemiche emerse col MeToo, non ha voluto distribuire, arriverà nelle sale italiane con Lucky Red, dal 28 novembre. Attraverso i giovani talenti Timothée Chalamet ed Elle Fanning, il film ci accompagna attraverso le avventure e le disavventure di una  coppia profondamente innamorata durante un weekend nella Grande Mela.

     

    Chalamet interpreta Gatsby, un chiaro omaggio al capolavoro letterario omonimo del 1925 di Francis Scott Fitzgerald, un rampollo di una ricca famiglia di New York. Gatsby appartiene ad un'epoca passata. Preferisce i film classici hollywoodiani e la musica di Gershwin a qualsiasi cosa contemporanea. Vuole staccarsi dallo stile di vita che gli impone il suo status sociale. Fanning è Ashleigh, un aspirante reporter che scrive per il giornale del college e ha l'opportunità di iniziare a farsi un nome con il suo prossimo incarico, intervistando il regista indipendente Roland Pollard (interpretato da Liev Schreiber). A Chalamet e Fanning si uniscono altri volti di talento come Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Diego Luna e Rebecca Hall.

     

    Come accennato in precedenza, Allen è un regista esperto che si affida alla quotidianità per creare narrazioni avvincenti. Il leitmotiv dei temi del suo cinema sono presenti anche in questo ultimo lavoro: relazioni amorose, ricerca del senso della vita, crisi di identità e le dinamiche familiari.  Il regista non rispamia frecciatine al mondo dorato del cinema di Hollywood di oggi ormai a corto di idee e popolata da mitomani e playboy.

     

    Non possiamo dimenticare l'altro personaggio principale di questo film, la stessa New York City, magnificamente fotografata dal maestro italiano Vittorio Storaro. La città, così come il tempo, svolge un ruolo chiave nello sviluppo della storia. Allen ci trascina tra gli alberi di Central Park, ci fa fare un giro al Met e nei luoghi più esclusivi come il Carlyle Hotel o l'appartamento duplex di importanti star del cinema. I protagonisti si mescolano con questi luoghi e sembrano fondersi con essi, perchè la connessione tra personaggio e luogo riempie la vita di questo film. Lo rende più reale e palpabile. La pioggia suggerisce anche il modo diverso in cui Gatsby e Ashleigh vedono la vita. Ashleigh pensa che la pioggia sia triste, mentre Gatsby la trova romantica.

     

    Woody Allen porta in scena ancora una volta  parti di se stessi tentando di esorcizzare paure e psicosi con personaggi sempre in bilico tra le scelte che il retaggio sociale e le convenienze impongono e i propri sogni.

     

    Eppure Un giorno di pioggia a New York  si rivela molto più ottimista della maggior parte dei suoi lavori precendenti. “La mia intenzione era di fare un film positivo, dice Allen, ognuno di noi all’interno di questa società lotta per trovare un posto.E i mio protagonista alla fine ci riesce.".

    Il  riusltato è un film che si rivela un gioiello del cinema d'autore in onore delle vecchie commedie romantiche dell'età d'oro di Hollywwod.

     
     
  • Arte e Cultura

    Frida Kahlo, oltre il mito

    Dopo il successo della mostra allestita in onore della pittrice messicana Frida Kahlo al Brooklyn Museum, la prima negli Stati Uniti, arriva al Torino Film Festival e poi nelle sale italiane dal 25 al 27 novembre, il documentario, “Frida, viva la vida”,  di Giovanni Troli, che racconta con intensità la storia di un’icona di stile, simbolo di un modo di affermare la propria femminilità fuori dai canoni tradizionali.

    "Esistono tante Frida, dice il regista, e con gli autori ci siamo chiesti come si poteva aggiungere qualcosa di nuovo ad un’artista cosi nota. Alla fine, abbiamo deciso di concentrarci sulle due anime di Frida: da una parte il simbolo del femminismo contemporaneo, dall’altra l’artista libera nonostante le costrizioni di un corpo martoriato”.

    Colpita dalla poliomielite a sei anni e vittima di un incidente stradale che la lascerà invalida a diciotto, Frida convisse sempre con dolori atroci che la perseguitarono fino alla morte. Sviluppò una pittura personale, come forma di autoanalisi e come attestazione della propria esistenza. Il risultato fu un arte descrittiva, un insieme di simboli che nel tempo sono diventati un modello di riferimento per artisti, musicisti, stilisti.

    Ed è Asia Argento a condurre lo spettatore alla scoperta della vera Frida, i suoi problemi, fisici ed emotivi, il suo rapporto distruttivo e totalizzante con Diego Rivera “È un personaggio che sento molto affine perché come lei sono stata vittima di un sistema patriarcale che tende a soffocare le donne. L’attrice italiana, tra le prime ad accusare il produttore Weinstein per violenza sessuale e una delle figure chiave del movimento #MeToo, ricorda il coraggio di Frida di ribellarsi al tradizionale stereotipo misogino che considera la donna un oggetto del desiderio maschile. “Questa è una libertà che le donne hanno dovuto imparare a desiderare e che non sempre hanno avuto”.

    Il documentario, diviso in sei capitoli, è un riuscito a rendere giustizia ad un’artista consumata dall’uso. Un lungo viaggio tra interviste esclusive, documenti d’epoca, filmini amatoriali e opere della stessa Kahlo, per provare a guardare chi era veramente Frida Kahlo: personaggio o individuo?

     

     

  • Art & Culture

    Italy Bets on Bellocchio’s “The Traitor” for the Oscars

    On January 13, the Academy will announce the five international nominees. Competing films include “Dolor y Gloria” by Pedro Almodovar (Spain), “Les Miserables” by Ladj Ly (France), and “Parasite” by Bong Joon Ho (Korea)

    Having spent over 50 years working in the movie industry and accrued vast recognition, Marco Bellocchio is one of the last few Italian directors who continue to make socially engaged films. “In the past, film was more involved with society,” the lombardese director likes to repeat when asked why he decided to dedicate his career to making movies about the turbulent history of Italian politics (“Good Morning, Night,” “Vincere,” “Dormant Beauty,” “Fists in the Pocket”), along with more narrative ones (“Blood of My Blood,” “The Nanny”) as well as more introspective and private ones (“Sorelle,” “Sorelle Mai”).

    With “The Traitor” Marco Bellocchio brings the story of Tommaso Buscetta, the former “Boss of the two Worlds,” a quintessential womanizer, the first member of Cosa Nostra to become a police informant, to the screen. After premiering at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, and garnering a great reception from the audience during the most recent New York Film Festival, the film is now in the 2020 Oscar race.

    “Betrayal is not always despicable - Bellocchio repeatedly stressed - it can be a heroic act. Before deciding to collaborate, Buscetta risked dying, he attempted suicide.” Upon finding out that his latest work had been selected to be part of the 5 films competing for the International Feature Film Award, he instead commented: “As an old anarchist and pacifist, it’s an honor.”

    “The Traitor” mesmerized American audiences. Many see it as an inverted ganster movie. It ignores the genre’s conventions and creates criminals that torment and spite each other with bloody ambushes. As all his previous films, “The Traitor” tells a story to immerse us into the protagonists’ interior struggles, men who are more or less just, more or less unhappy, more or less looking for something to give meaning to their existence. But that’s not all there is to the movie. Bellocchio reaffirms his vision of how family influences people’s lives. Buscetta decided to start talking to survive, to protect his family.

    The film owes its success to the extraordinary acting abilities of Pierfrancesco Favino, who acts both in sicilian dialect and portuguese. In order to get into the mind of an ambiguous character, torn between being a mobster and having distinctive ethic principles, the Roman actor has said he drew inspiration from Buscetta’s interview tapes. “I tried to find out what he didn’t want people to know about him, I studied the procedural documents, his gestures, his language. I knew I was playing a criminal but I wanted to suspend judgement, even if the things he has done are unforgivable. But if this film serves to delve deeper into what we still don’t know about him then all the better.”

    On November 21, the film will be on view at 6pm in the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center as part of the Italy on Screen Today Film Fest, directed by Loredana Commonara.

    RSVP italyonscreen2019@gmail.com

  • Arte e Cultura

    Oscar. L'Italia punta sul 'Traditore" di Marco Bellocchio

    L'Academy il 13 gennaio annuncerà le cinque nomination internazionali. Tra i film concorrenti: "Dolor y Gloria" di Pedro Almodóvar (per la Spagna), "Les Miserables" di Ladj Ly (per la Francia) e "Parasite" di Bong Joon Ho (Korea).

    Negli oltre cinquant’anni trascorsi nell'industria cinematografica e una lunga lista di riconoscimenti, Marco Bellocchio rimane uno dei pochi registi italiani rimasti a fare cinema impegnato. “Una volta il cinema si occupava maggiormente della società”, ama ripetere il regista lombardo quando gli chiedono perché ha dedicato la sua carriera a realizzare film legati alla tribolata storia politica Italiana (Buongiorno notte, Vincere, Bella addormentata, I pugni in tasca) altri più romanzeschi (Sangue del mio sangue, La balia) oppure film anche più introspettivi e privati (Sorelle, Sorelle mai).

    Con Il traditore, Marco Bellocchio ha portato sul grande schermo la storia di Tommaso Buscetta, l’ex boss dei due mondi, "il fimminaro" per eccellenza, fu il primo membro di Cosa Nostra, a diventare collaboratore di giustizia. Presentata in anteprima mondiale alla 72° Mostra del Cinema di Cannes, e dopo un’accoglienza da applausi al recente New York Film Festival, la pellicola è ora in corsa agli Oscar 2020.

    “Tradire non è sempre un’infamia – ha spiegato più volte Bellocchio - può essere una scelta eroica. Buscetta prima di decidere di collaborare ha rischiato di morire, ha tentato il suicidio”. Alla notizia che il suo ultimo lavoro è stato scelto per entrare nella cinquina dell'International Feature Film Award, ha invece commentato: "Da vecchio anarchico e pacifista è un onore".

    Il Traditore ha stregato il pubblico americano. Per molti si presenta come un film di gangster al contrario. Ignora le convenzioni di genere e crea criminali che si fanno dispetti e ripicche a colpi di agguati sanguinosi. Come in tutte le pellicole precedenti, anche Il Traditore racconta una storia per trovarci dentro i tormenti interiori dei protagonisti, uomini più o meno giusti, più o meno infelici, più o meno in cerca di qualcosa che dia significato o lustro alla propria esistenza. Ma non c’è solo questo nel film. Bellocchio conferma la sua visione sulla maniera in cui la famiglia condiziona la vita delle persone. Buscetta ha deciso di parlare per sopravvivere. Per proteggere la sua famiglia.

    Il risultato, estremamente positivo del film, dipende dalle straordinarie capacità attoriali di Pierfrancesco Favino, che recita sia in siciliano stretto sia in portoghese. Per avvicinarsi ad un personaggio sempre ambiguo, diviso dal suo essere un mafioso e un’etica alquanto sui generis, l’attore romano, ha raccontato di aver tratto ispirazione dalle interviste rilasciate da Buscetta. “Ho cercato di scoprire cosa non voleva che si sapesse di lui, ha studiato gli atti processuali, i gesti, la lingua. Sapevo che stavo interpretando comunque un criminale ma ho vo di soluto spendere il giudizio, anche se le cose che ha fatto sono imperdonabili. Ma se questo film servisse ad approfondire quello che ancora non sappiamo di lui ben venga”.

    Il 21 novembre sarà possibile vedere il film  - nella ambito della rassegna Italy on Screen Today diretta da Loredana Commonara - , alle 6 pm, al Walter Reade Theater del Lincoln Center

    RSVP italyonscreen2019@gmail.com

  • Art & Culture

    "Santa Subito," a Film About Violence Against Women, Winner of Rome's Festa del Cinema

    In 1991, California became the first place on earth to adopt an anti-stalking law. That same year, in the province of Bari, Santa Scorsese was killed, Italy’s first victim of stalking and “femminicidio” (ed. litterally “female murder,” refers to the victims of violence against women) Those were brutal times, back then, such crimes had no name.

     

    Fourteen stabs, a desperate race to the hospital and a tragedy for her father, a policeman, who could do nothing to save her. At the hospital, Scorsese, who was only 23 then, forgave her killer. This gesture earned her the title of Servant of God, and she is now about to become the first Italian “femminicidio” victim to be made a saint. Her story is now told in Alessandro Piva’s documentary, which just won the people’s choice award at Rome’s Festa del Cinema.

     

    Compared to the United States and the rest of Europe, in Italy, the first anti-stalking law was only drafted in 2008. And it wasn’t until 1981 that “honor” killing was abolished. 

     

    The main problem is that, for years, no administration has made addressing violence against women a priority. It’s as if it were a natural phenomenon. People are used to it. It’s also the mentality, which remains that of a predominantly patriarcal culture, where women are the property of the “pater familias.”

     

    Santa’s family, as the film illustrates, says that her aggressor had already been reported several times, to no avail. At the time, they weren’t able to categorize the oppressive and persecutive behaviors of those who repeatedly harrass someone. But even today the list of unprotected women is far too long.

     

    Saint Scorsese was killed because she refused the advances of a man, as the headlines from the time read. It seems that still today violence against women ties into the rapture narrative.

     

    Strides have been made but it’s necessary that we also change how most media frame these episodes in a way that justifies these acts of violence. Too often newspapers use sentences or expressions that convey the image of men who “suddenly” turn into murderers but until then were good fathers, model citizens.

     

    But how could so much violence be directed towards such a young woman?

     

    Because what still needs to change is the culture of the “other.” Human feelings are never linear and people can harbor bigotry and prejudice deep inside. We automatically reject whoever doesn’t belong to their own circle, country, culture. What we don’t know or don’t understand scares us and turns into violence, often brutal.

     

    In the documentary you chose to prioritize the religious aspect: the testimonies of priests, sunday school teachers, of her mother Angela and her father Piero, of her sister Rosa Maria, all paint a picture of the perfect girl next door.

     

    Santa had decided to devote herself to God. And it’s this decision that had provoked her stalker’s fury, prompting him to explain: “If I can’t have you, nobody will, not even God.” The documentary shows two forms of religious radicalism. On the one hand, of a man disproportionatly obsessed with the theme of religion and on the other of a fervent catholic who wrote to Jesus. A tragedy, as her sister Rosa Maria said, with two victims of a nation, which at the time, was inequipped to deal with this type of violence, and in fact did nothing to prevent Santa’s persecutor, a man which had clearly displayed his own psychic issues, from hurting himself and others.

     

    To whom is this film dedicated?

     

    To those who survive these tragedies. It’s an appeal for women to not be left alone to face the consequences of psichosis disguised as love.

     

  • Art & Culture

    Rome Cinema Fest, Dream Factory

     

    Founded in 2006, the festival’s intention was not to be a competition, like that of Venice, but rather a celebration, to shine the spotlight on this city, which more than any other in Italy and even the world, represents cinema.

     

    Just to give an idea, Cinecittà studios, founded in 1937 by Benito Mussolini, have produced over 3000 films, 90 of which have been nominated for Academy Awards, and 45 have won them. The greatest actors and directors have worked here, from Fellini to Visconti, from Anna Magnani to Sophia Loren, but also Scorsese and Coppola. It was then unthinkable for Rome not to have a Festival.

     

    A Festival, which under the direction of the current artistic director Antonio Monda, became a “Festa,” a celebration. Monda, “the American” - as he is fondly referred to - has been in charge since 2015 and will be until 2020.

     

    Among his initiatives, was the idea to remove the jury from the festival, thus giving the public the chance to choose the winner by voting on notecards upon exiting the screenings.

     

    “It is truly a celebration of cinema and for cinema, but especially for the audience. Here you don’t only see stars who come to present their films, but also directors and actors who book 10-hour flights just to meet the public and talk to them for the pleasure of talking about film. That’s our strength.”

     

    And the figures look good indeed.

     

    Once again, the Festa del Cinema has increased all its numbers. Box office income grew by 18%, attendence by 13%, visits on the official website increased by 86%. Ticket sales grew by 20%, social media also blew up - Facebook by 12%, Instagram +36% - and media coverage increased by 23% locally and 10% nationally.

     

    The image of Rome cashing in, after 10 days of festival, is undoubtedly positive. Sold out theaters, functioning transportation, collateral events, excellent accomodation, full restaurants, talent professing their eternal love for the city, despite a few small hitches here and there, but who doesn’t face them?

     

    Rome is, in the collective imaginary, a dream set, full of beauty, formidable stars, and brilliant directors. Its past is heavy and hard to live up to, but the Festa del Cinema won the Italian capital the title of “Creative City for Cinema.” And, after all, even Cannes has its issues to deal with.

     

    Of course, it isn’t a “true” festival, so it might not be for some journalists who complained that the press screenings were too tight, and by not having a jury for the main competition it loses some of the glamour of Cannes and Venice, but to Monda, as he explained, this doesn’t matter.

     

    Some of this edition’s hiccups were caused by Bill Murray. First the actor didn’t show up to the press conference, still in pijamas at 1:30, then he refused the translation during his encounter with the public, annoyed at having to wait for the translator to address the public.

     

    Much different were the behaviors of other celebrities such as Fanny Ardant and John Travolta, who were increadibly open, not only to translations, but also amiable enough to try and say a few words in Italian. Of course, quite a few stars were missing from the red carpet, for example, none of the actors from The Irishman were present, and Jennifer Lopez and Renee Zellweger also remained at home. Then, Benicio Del Toro slept through his press conference as well.

     

    Of this year’s edition, people will certainly remember The Irishman soiree. Director Martin Scorsese, accompanied by his wife Helen Morris, and daughters Catherine and Francesca, met with the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who came to the screening with his daughter and her husband.

     

    “Two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand comes here to joyously celebrate cinema, the atmosphere is different here, everyone agrees on that. That’s why they’re happy to come and are all very relaxed. This is a 'Festa,' a celebration, and it will remain such. I don’t want it to become like the other festivals,” Antonio Monda stressed once more.

     

    For 10 days, we forgot about the trash, the holes in the streets, the homeless people outside of Termini Station, and the brutal murders. But unfortunately, a marvelous Cinema Fest isn’t enough for Rome to bounce back. It’s a welcome break, but these extraordinary interventions only reach a limited area.

     

    Meanwhile, the city still faces its daily problems.

     

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