Two returns

Publish date 27-11-2022

by Davide Bracco

Paolo Sorrentino, Matteo Garrone, the D'Innocenzo brothers, Luca Guadagnino are the first names that come to mind when one thinks of the excellence of current Italian cinema, guiltily forgetting long-time directors still active. Two of these, Gianni Amelio and Pupi Avati, are about to return to theaters with two very personal works.

The Lord of the Ants by Amelio is a film set at the time of the director's youth when, at the end of the 1960s, the writer Aldo Brabanti was convicted of plagiarism (crime canceled from the code only in 1981) to the detriment of a young man, albeit an adult, and sentenced to years in prison. An accusation behind which an accusation of homosexuality was hidden and which led the alleged victim to an electroshock "conversion" therapy to "heal" him. The film tells the cultural climate of the time also thanks to the depth of the interpretation of Luigi Lo Cascio and Elio Germano.

Pupi Avati's film Dante belongs to a completely different historical period which, right from the title, is proposed as a portrait of Alighieri's tormented life based mainly on Trattatello in laude by Dante, written by Giovanni Boccaccio. A booklet which was one of the first biographies understood in modern terms and which was partly based on a scrupulous research on Dante's life, so much so that Boccaccio "interviewed" people who had known the poet for a real field research.
Avati's goal is therefore to resume, also thanks to the advice of illustrious medievalists, what Mario Martone did with the life of Giacomo Leopardi, in an attempt to restore light and truth to a figure and a world plastered by stereotypes and so much academic culture. Also in this case the film relies on the strength of the acting of great Italian actors starting with Sergio Castellitto, Alessandro Haber, Enrico Lo Verso and the recently deceased Gianni Cavina.
Two films about two figures of free and independent characters, forced and crushed by society, albeit in terms of completely distant nuances and characteristics, contrary to lateral and nonconformist thoughts.

Davide Bracco
NP August / September 2022

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