“My biggest emotion in participating in the Locarno competition? Of course the fact that in the 1940s one of my favorite directors, Roberto Rossellini, participated in this same competition with one of his most beautiful and complex films, Germany Year Zero. Rossellini has been fundamental for my education as a film director as much as Tarkovskij with his The Childhood of Ivan.”

Competing in Locarno with his fourth film Menocchio, Alberto Fasulo’s ideas on cinema are very clear. Menocchio was a miller who was accused of heresy in the darkest years of the Counter-Reform. “Menocchio was a free man, he had a very precise vision of the world. He used to say that it doesn’t make any sense that the Church is divided between Lutherans and those faithful to the Pope, because God lives in the people and in all the things we see. And even more than that, he thought that the Pope and the bishops could be wrong as they are just men like us. I think that especially this last statement proved fateful to him. The Church was afraid of all that could undermine its credibility and didn’t hesitate in suppressing with extreme harshness all those who didn’t abide by the single mindset of the time.”

From this perspective, Menocchio is a film set in the XVI century, but still relevant today: the intolerance, the exercise of power as terror. “Sure, my film can also be interpreted this way. Everyone can have his own opinion. I think that the Pope today says things that are not so different from what this miller used to say centuries ago. Back in the day they were heresies, while today these sentences can be easily pronounced by Church authorities, too. Luckily times change: sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.”

Menocchio is first and foremost a film about faces: dialogues are scarce, but faces and expressions are worth a thousand words. Fasulo confirms it too: “Casting has been the real preparation of the film. In order to find those faces, I auditioned over 3000 persons. It was really street-casting and I’m proud of it because the result is excellent. We looked around quite a lot before finding Marcello Martini, and we found him in the same valley where Menocchio lived. Without him we would have never made this film. His face, his way of being – to me, he really was that miller from the XVI century. I also think he well represents the character’s inner features: Menocchio is, first and foremost, a free man troubled by doubts and weaknesses. He’s no hero, but just an individual who thinks for himself and pays a terrible price for his longing for freedom.”

“I’ve always been interested in this story, but I managed to bring it to the big screen only now – just because it’s an episode from the past that relates to the present as well. We always have to know where we come from in order to know where we will go. For this reason, after the contemporary stories recounted in my previous films, I wanted to embark in a story from the past. As for now, my film has no distribution attached. We have a few offers but I want to work only with someone who is strongly motivated towards this film.”