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A warm reception welcomed the premiere of Bonifacio AngiusThe Giants in the International Competition of the Locarno Film Festival. A group of people get together for a night in a house that is pervaded by an ancient atmosphere. Their gestures seem to belong to a century-old culture too. However, these are in fact people who live between drug abuse and are in constant run from their unhappy past. Every now and then, they share stories about the events that have changed their life. In this house, in the course of long endless night, we witness the drama of their lives and solitudes.

“My main reference was certainly the virile friendship characterizing the protagonists of western movies. My characters have known each other for a long time, their stories intertwine. True, everything’s punctuated by a constant and meticulous use of drugs, but from their words, gazes, and attitudes we understand who they are, what’s their past, and why they are currently in that situation. This tale of self-destruction, which to me speak for the whole humanity, is certainly born from the bad period we’ve all went through, but not only this. For me, cinema has always been a therapy, and in this case as well.”

Angius highlights that being behind the camera for him means to take always on new challenges: “I see this film as a man walking on a rope. On the one side it’s ridiculous, on the other it’s dramatic. But I needed to take this risk to avoid mediocrity. I felt the necessity to face the sorrow by confronting the genre, especially the western and horror, thinking of the great films by Leone and Polanski, too.”

The film stands out thanks to the performances of the whole cast, including the director (who also co-penned the script with Stefano Deffenu, and worked on the cinematography and editing). “I wanted to work with actors who could fully understand the project. Their roles don’t allow uncertain tones and middle grounds: either they could turn into their characters or they risked not being believable. Somebody was surprised as I chose actors who are known as comedians. It might be a cliché, but I’ve always thought that behind a comedian there’s always an actor waiting to express his own dramatic attitudes.”

The actors to whom Angius is referring are Michele and Stefano Manca, a well-known comic duo who look perfectly believable in this dramatic role. The film is also full of coups de theatre, especially with regard to the last character entering the house, a young shy boy who seems to be there by chance. He looks discreet, but he’ll finally reveal an unexpected personality. The role is played by newcomer Riccardo Bombagi, who Angius defines “a true revelation. His role in the film is key, but I didn’t want to make a point on the younger generations, I didn’t want to counterpose people with different ages and sensibilities. I wanted to talk about sorrow and the need for conflict. I wanted to tell a story about characters who represent a closed world and see the world outside as an alterity. I wanted to show individuals who think they are strong (here comes the title) but who prove to be otherwise.”

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LOCARNO 2021

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