Iphigenia in Aulis: Migration and tragedy
by Roberto Oggiano
- Tonino De Bernardi returns to International Film Festival Rotterdam with his new film, a reflection on the fate of migrants and the sacrifices they make
Just like the Greek tragedy of Euripides, which Tonino De Bernardi approaches in an unusual manner, the director’s new film presented in the International Film Festival Rotterdam's Signatures section is called Iphigenia in Aulis [+see also:
film profile] and is set in the small village of Amarynthos.
De Bernardi hops between Cannes, Ventimiglia and Greece in his new feature, which doubles up as a family film, reportage and anthropological portrait, alternating between a narrative voice and those of the protagonists in Italian and Greek.
Pivotal to the film, the reading of the tragedy of Iphigenia– the daughter of Agamemnon who must be sacrificed to the gods by her father – has already inspired The Killing of a Sacred Deer [+see also:
interview: Yorgos Lanthimos
film profile] by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. In this case, however, De Bernardi's film is somewhat broader, choosing the version of the Euridipe myth in which Iphigenia is spared, deepening the text, rehashing entire passages in Greek and alternating them with a clever use of montage and images of migrants at sea trying to reach the Greek coastlines, the latest sacrificial victims to fall prey to the perverse economic laws that have hit the small fishing village in which the film takes place. Bernardi's experimentalism, far from sterile, triggers a certain mechanism of thought that has a rhythm consisting of long afflatuses, rising above the rants we so often see on Italian TV talk shows, which are also briefly and intelligently depicted with the use of a camera at a slightly set-back angle, clearly assuming an alternative point of view. The levity of the Greek summer, the joyful ending and the beauty of the characters are an invitation to hope for a suffering humanity at the mercy of the waves and the gods. The migrants are called Clytemnestra, Achille, Iphigenia and Agamemnon.
Tonino De Bernardi's film grants the wish for salvation and redemption that we so desperately need, comforting the spirit on a small journey to Aulis, where the wisdom of the greats is apparent. Be them the gods of Olympus or Greek actors, it hardly matters.
Produced by Tonino De Bernardi for Lontane Province Film in collaboration with Fuori Orario - Rai Tre.
(Translated from Italian)
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