ITALY 30 MIN, 2021
At the end of the winter, Flaminio, a resistant shepherd, prepares materially and spiritually for the arrival of the spring through daily rituals, using the tools he built for himself: he moves and sows the ground, shears the sheep and makes a woolen suit for the new season. The communities of the valley chase the winter away with cowbells and bonfires through the ritual of Scasada dol Zenerù, which is inserted into the story of the shepherd’s life as a dreamlike element that draws on an ancestral memory. Flaminio’s sensitivity, strongly connected to Nature, allows him to perceive when it is time to call the community to act, starting the ritual.
Author, director and producer of documentaries. He is one of the founders of the OmVideo collective, with which he produces and directs short and feature films. Among his latest works, La nostalgia della condizione sconosciuta participated in the 37th edition of the Turin Film Festival in 2019. His documentaries Il vortice fuori (2014) and Solenne triduo dei morti (2017) also participated in festivals receiving awards. His research is aimed at experimenting different ways of narrating the complex relationship between individuals and their communities, exploring its most intimate and subjective dimensions and the sphere of collective rituality. He creates and develops audiovisual projects, including web-series (Zeus!) and web-docs (Babel — il giorno del giudizio). He also collaborates with artists, performers and sound artists to create installations and exhibitions.
We enter the life of the shepherd Flaminio Beretta while he strains to pull an old donkey uphill, which in turn drags a log of wood. The urgency is to show his resistance. With an observational and immersive gaze, I chose a narrative that represents a slice of daily life experience to show the fragments of a fragile and rich presence.
In the film I placed Flaminio in an intermediate position between the valley people and the Spirit of Winter. I evocatively suggest that he is a sort of personification of the Spirit of Zenerù by expanding his perceptions, his feelings and entering into a strong connection with the ritual. In the story Flaminio connects the wild and the domestic worlds, making the audience lose spatial and temporal points of reference. It is a dual entity that tames and is being tamed. Flaminio is the paradox, the contradiction, the oxymoron in an attempt to separate Nature from the Human Being.
Flaminio's powerful visual corporeality suggested that I adopt an aesthetic that abandons the centrality of the word, in favor of tactile and sound dimensions. The profound meaning of his action, for me, consists not in naming things and objects with words but in his ability to make actions resonate and shake, especially the inner and emotional ones.
In the film, I deliberately constructed a timeless dimension, shaping the lonely shepherd into a character who seems to belong to a distant past and at the same time gives the impression of living in a kind of dystopian future. Flaminio seems to be the last survivor of our present, an era annihilated by waste, by the consumption of objects and territories, and by the inability to build collective actions. In this sense, in the film, the dreamlike elements of the ritual of Scasada dol Zenerù and its magical instruments, cowbells and horns, evoke an historical memory of a community past in which it was possible to survive only through collaboration. Flaminio and the apotropaic ritual establish a symbiotic relationship that allows them to recognize each other.
The ritual must chase away the evil inherent into modernity, it must adapt to change, it must immerse itself in the magical world, it must preserve the difficult balance between the known and the unknown. Only in this way it can survive.
I wanted to represent the gestures of the mountain communities that survive, showing the resistance of the old shepherd and the strength of the collective ritual that chases winter away.
- Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, India
- Canal de Panama International Film Festival, Panama
- Festival Internacional Signes da Noite, France
- International Halicarnassus Film Festival, Turkey
- L’Europe Autour de l’Europe, France
- Santa Cruz International Film Festival, Argentina
- Sulmonacinema Film Festival, Italy
- Torino Underground Cinefest, Italy
- Varese International Film Festival, Italy
- Veracruz Short Film Festival, Mexico
- World Film Carnival, Singapore
DOKer 2022 — Short Competition