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Roberto Faenza • Director

“The truth about the Orlandi case is here on Earth”


- Italian director Roberto Faenza talks to us about his latest film, La verità sta in Cielo, a journalistic enquiry into the abduction of the young citizen of Vatican City

Roberto Faenza • Director

On 22 June 1983 Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee, and therefore a citizen of Vatican City, disappeared from the centre of Rome, triggering one of the most resounding unresolved cases in Italy, full of investigations and red herrings, and involving politicians and criminals. Thirty years on, Roberto Faenza has decided to tell this story with his new film La verità sta in Cielo [+see also:
making of
interview: Roberto Faenza
film profile
. A sort of thriller that pays tribute to investigative journalism, the fruit of four long years of research. A Jean Vigo Italia production with Rai Cinema, La verità sta in Cielo hits theatres on 6 October. The documentary style of the film draws strength from the aesthetics of film, which is however held ransom by the urgency to throw light on the truth behind this crime that went unpunished. “In my film I wanted to give a well-documented point of view”, explains Faenza. “I’ve wanted to tell this story for a long time now, then I pitched it to Rai Cinema which agreed to produce it. I think it was a very brave decision on their part”.

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Cineuropa: A film that tries to give an answer to the family’s pain.
Roberto Faenza: We’re so close to uncovering the truth. I don’t know if we’ll get there, but I wanted to use my film as one last push to finally tell the family and Italy what really happened to Emanuela Orlandi. The title comes from something Pope Bergoglio whispered in the ear of Emanuela’s brother, Pietro: ‘She’s in heaven’. Only I think the truth is here on Earth. And I use the last sequence of the film to air a theory that could even assist investigative journalism. 

The film alludes to a file in the Vatican’s possession.
It’s not something I made up, it appears in the case documents. It is undeniable that the Vatican has this file, why doesn’t it release it? I think Pope Francis believes in transparency. I’m sure this time something will come to light. 

In the film the investigations carried out by a TV journalist (Valentina Lodovini), reveal the direct involvement of Renatino De Pedis (Riccardo Scamarcio) in the abduction, through the revelations of boss girlfriend Sabrina Minardi (Greta Scarano).
The last findings that came out of the Orlandi case were obtained thanks to women. I think women are braver. And bravery is very important in this film. 

The film deconstructs the ‘myth’ of the Banda della Magliana, immortalised in Romanzo criminale.
The Banda della Magliana was romanticised and made legendary through TV and through film, but it never actually had that much power in Rome. As gang member Massimo Carminati said after his arrest, ‘they were just a bunch of ragamuffins who didn’t even know how to shoot’. Those who were really in charge were the ‘testaccini’, the gang from the Testaccio neighbourhood, and no one has ever told their story because the Banda della Magliana didn’t have contacts with the institutions, whilst the testaccini, the real gang, which De Pedis was from, corrupted senators and the top powers of the Church. 

Did you have any problems on the set?
In Via del Pellegrino, where De Pedis was killed, no one wanted us to film the scene of the murder because they were all his friends: but what was really incredible is what happened when we filmed the scene of Emanuela’s abduction from outside what was her school and now belongs to the Church. Two guys approached us with guns, preventing us from filming. 33 years on that really blew me away.

(Translated from Italian)

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