With respect, tenderness and empathy, Gianni Amelio entered the hearts of the few inhabitants of Amatrice still living in the town devastated by an earthquake one year ago, for the short film In casa d’altri (special event screening), in which the director films the huge amount of rubble hardly cut through by the road, with no additional commentary or voiceover.
“We entered people’s homes concerned about disturbing them - says the director – The project originated from a very precise request put forth by Rai Cinema and also by the Minister Dario Franceschini: do not neglect this tragedy a year later, and try to understand what the current situation is”. According to Amelio we are half-way, “there is a great desire for action, but there are a series of typically Italian problems that prevent people from acting swiftly enough, even those with a strong will and desire to reconstruct.”
Various, suffering voices are alternated throughout the documentary. An elderly woman, the daughter of shepherds, voices an appeal to the youth to remain in that land, she is convinced that “something will happen”. A young girl talks about Amatrice as if the town were a person in agony, not respected by those who only want to take pictures of it or take selfies. An elderly silent man, still under shock after some time, begins his day wandering around the town.
“This is my story, so I am convinced that it is wrong to call it a documentary, it’s a small fiction film with a very simple idea. We have a person who has suffered a loss – Amelio explains – We don’t know who he lost, we only see the white back of a photograph that the old man shows all those he meets. He has certainly suffered a major trauma. So, when the reconstruction of new houses is underway and the cranes are busy working this man is not able cure his wound. He is the simple thread of the short film. He questions everyone he meets without saying a word and in the end, kneeling, he seems to be searching for something in the ground. This is the symbolic act of all those who have witnessed not only their belongings, but also their feelings, fall to the ground.
Amelio doesn’t know if In casa d’altri, shot in two months time, is the prologue for a broader work focusing on what the people of Amatrice have suffered. He is however certain that he made this work “with the urgency to convey that there is a different way of looking at this tragedy, without crying, but understanding and therefore acting for change. The recent earthquake in Ischia could have been prevented. Italy is one of the most seismic countries in the world. The South of Italy is in danger. Another earthquake in Calabria would be as devastating today as the one that occurred at the beginning of the Twentieth century and we know the way construction is being done in this region, with no rules. Once again human error is responsible, and this needs to be acknowledged and denounced. What’s the sense in crying and each time invoking the great Italian heart to contribute to the reconstruction? Why don’t we ask a different question: who is building wrongly and why”.
Sunday September 3 the director from Calabria will receive the Roberto Bresson 2017 Award at the Hotel Excelsior, Spazio FEdS (Sala Tropicana 1), assigned by the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo (FEdS) and the magazine “Rivista del Cinematografo”. The motivation reads “Amelio has traced and revisited genres, he has avoided the one-sided thought of the Italian comedy that in the declining phase leaned towards farce, and measured up to a literary matrix, from Sciascia to Ermanno Rea, Camus and Pontiggia, each time reconstructing a personal uncommon reading. In Amelio’s works the topics of family (the conflict between fathers and sons, and the intergenerational absences and presences) and of migration, from Lamerica
to Così Ridevano
, play a major role, free from ideologies and the contingencies of every-day news.