THE LAST SCENE
ITALY — PERU 8 MIN, 2019
The story of an indigenous Ese’eja child facing the death of his grandfather. During the two days that separate the two traditional funerals the child decides to go for the first time to the city, to chase his grandfather dream and set his spirit free.
Tommaso directed his first short film in 2016, D’Istanti Lontani, set between Milan and Paris. He worked as an assistant director in several films, including Il Signor diavolo by Pupi Avati and Quasi Natale by Francesco Lagi. The Last Scene was made in collaboration with Werner Herzog in the Peruvian Amazon. Currently working on the next film by Lav Diaz in the Philippines.
The Last Scene originated from my experience within the Ese’eja native community of Palma Real and focuses on the topics of death, tradition and language.
Following a conversation with the different members of the tribe, the story started to take shape. Despite the initial skepticism of the tribe members, the project managed to involve the whole community. The two locations of the film — the city of Puerto Maldonado and the village of Palma Real — are 4 hours’ apart by boat. On top of the difficulties related to logistic arrangements, the production encountered a series of obstacles. For example, the communication issues deriving also from the fact that no dialogues had been drawn up in advance, or the hierarchical structure of the native tribes that required the film to be approved by the chief.
During the shooting days, a 3-year-old child died from tuberculosis and this sad and shocking event stopped the filming as both the production crew and the community were deeply affected. Although we were prepared to modify the structure of the film after this tragic event, the family of the child and the tribe chief spontaneously decided to let us film the ritual, because of the trustful relationship that we were able to establish. In fact, the main purpose for me as a director was to get deeply involved in their daily life so to live the story from the inside instead of merely representing it.
The film is thus dedicated to the lost child, Jerson Ramirez, affectionately called «chichito» by the other children and by his own family.
The production of Escena Final was allowed thanks to a workshop organized by the famous Bavarian director, Werner Herzog.
The title of the short film takes its name from a poem by Blanca Varela, a famous Peruvian poet who passed away in 2009 and who inspired the whole work. The idea behind the film and the choice of the poem was to keep the tradition and the local cultures alive, in the face of a growing globalization that undermines the diversity and heterogeneity of these places.
The structure of the film is purposely a mixture of documentary and fiction, underlining and witnessing how art and tradition are part of reality and are crucial for the survival of populations and cultures. Art is life as much as life is both a wonderful and tragic work of art.
The idea of death and dream, the willingness to be remembered and leave a mark in the world are themes that pervade the short film in different parts. Sources of inspirations were: the film Dreams by Kurosawa, the South American and Peruvian narrative and poetry and the constant discussions with Herzog, his art and film works.
The shooting lasted five days and the editing took three days for the first draft and later post-production took roughly one month for the final version.
I would be honored to present Escena Final to your festival and have the opportunity to bring this story and the communities portrayed to the attention of a wider public.
- Miami Independent Film Festival
- Toronto Short Film Festival
- Docs Without Borders USA
- Oregon Independent Film Festival
- Venice Film Festival — Giovani Autori Italiani
DOKer 2020 — Short Competition