Category Archives: Films

Respiro, (Breath), directed by Emanuele Crialese, 2002

Since moving to the UK I’ve felt the desire to re-discover my roots: Respiro is one of those movies I had heard a lot about when it first came out in 2002, but back then I didn’t feel the urge of watching it because I thought I had time to watch whenever I wanted. The time came when I was already living here. And what an emotional journey it was when I first watched it on an English rainy evening (I actually don’t remember, but being the UK I’m assuming it was raining…). Continue reading

I 100 passi (The Hundred Steps), directed by Marco T. Giordana, 2000

Once lived a young man called Giuseppe Impastato, “Peppino” for friends. He was from a small town in Sicily called Cinisi. Cinisi was in the hands of the Mafia and Peppino’s house was only a hundred steps away from the house of the local boss, Gaetano Badalamenti.

My eyes lie at the bottom of the sea/ in the heart of the seaweeds and the corals (words by Peppino).

Peppino was an activist, an Antifascist and a Communist, but not one of those who do what the Party says and that’s it. He wanted to change Cinisi and Sicily, he wanted to challenge the locals’ terror  of the Mafia. He hated the Mafia since he was a kid, even though his own father was connected to it. So Peppino and his friends brought about a radio station, Radio Aut, on which they would talk about their everyday lives in Cinisi. They told tales of corruption and politicians’ connections with the Mafia, of illegal building developments and other dodgy maneuvers that were making the Mafia richer. Peppino was very ironic and loved to make fun of the Mafia on the radio. He called Cinisi “Mafiopolis”. He would say things like “the Mafia is a mountain of shit”. Continue reading

Mio fratello è figlio unico, (My brother is an only child), directed by Daniele Lucchetti, 2007

Where: Latina, a small town near Rome that was built  during Mussolini’s regime out of the Pontine Marshes.
When: the 60s and 70s, some of the most turbulent decades Italy has ever seen in the 20th century.
Who: two brothers from a working class family.

The elder, Manrico, is handsome, charismatic and adored by all. He becomes a militant of the local Communist party’s section. The younger, Accio, is more introverted, frustrated, angry. He ends up joining the local Fascist group, more in defiance of his brother and family than out of true conviction. The story of the two brothers becomes the story of the two “Italies”. Continue reading

Tutti giù per terra (We all fall down), directed by Davide Ferrario, 1997

You didn’t wanna become a Communist…you don’t wanna make money either…what bloody animal are you?“.

This film was for me what possibly “Trainspotting” was for you. It brought fresh air. To hell with all that fake nonsense about beautiful, perfect young people knowing exactly what they want and how to get it. “Tutti giù per terra” is about how difficult, sometimes lonely, and slightly surreal life can be when you’re growing up and you know you’re different, you have no idea who you are and you feel like an alien most of the time. It’s about finding oneself.

The movie is set in Turin, which truly gives its best here. The main character is Walter. He’s 20. His father is a factory worker and a Communist, his mother a housewife. He hasn’t got a job, a girlfriend or any clear convictions, and he’s still a virgin unlike everyone else around him. He rejects conventional values but he’s too insecure and confused to be a “proper” rebel, to be “cool”. Continue reading