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“You take those pills, I wanna cry!” That’s what Dafne angrily shouts when she refuses to the take tranquillizers on the day her mother dies. This cry lifts the veil of incongruence of a whole society that is too busy restoring a pre-established order, obsessed with normalizing everything including sorrow in order to fit emotions within reassuring boundaries. Dafne, sophomore feature by Federico Bondi playing in the Berlinale Panorama section, breaks these boundaries and pushes the audience to question their own fears and bias. Dafne is 30 and an extra chromosome, a genetic condition scientifically defined as Down syndrome. She’s an amazing creature who face the world with no filter, with the recklessness of a little girl and the courage of a woman, with the overwhelming vitality that she uses to shake up his father, who falls into depression when family balance falls into pieces after the death of his wife. Playing the leading character is Carolina Raspanti, a woman with Down syndrome and already author of two books. Just thanks to these novels and a video she published on YouTube, the director discovered her and proposed her this project. In the words of Carolina: “I accepted to make this film because I felt this character was like me. I wanted my personality and my way of dealing with people to emerge. Dafne’s simplicity and truthfulness reflect what I am in real life.”

Dafne knows how to organize her life herself, she’s brilliant and independent, also thanks to her friends and her job. She says that her “job is sacred”, underlying that everyone can find his place in the world, regardless of the numbers of chromosomes. Raspanti, who have been proudly working in a supermarket for 12 years, comments: “Work and affection are something sacred to me. Besides the possibility of living itself, I love the contact with other people. I love my colleagues, with whom I have a great relationship. Lately they’ve been calling me a star as a joke, this is flattering even though I don’t feel like a diva. I’m just Carolina, a grounded girl who loves her daily life.”

Dafne is the second feature by Federico Bondi, produced by Vivo Film with Rai Cinema, and to be released by Luce Cinecittà on March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day. The director states: “I wouldn’t have been able to write the script if I hadn’t known Carolina, who touched me deeply. She has plenty of common sense and respects all the rules. She does what she means without contradictions, unlike me and most of the people that I know. But what strikes me is her will to live, her stupor, her sensibility. I didn’t want to make a film on being different in general, but I wanted to investigate the resources that we have inside ourselves.”

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BERLIN 2019

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