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Satire against prejudice

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Alberto Caviglia • Director


- VENICE 2015: The competition in the Orizzonti section is hosting Alberto Caviglia's Pecore in erba, a feature debut that tackles the theme of anti-Semitism

Alberto Caviglia  • Director

Pecore in erba [+see also:
interview: Alberto Caviglia
film profile
, in competition in the Orizzonti section of the 72nd Venice Film Festival, is the directorial debut by Alberto Caviglia, who tackles the theme of anti-Semitism using a narrative style that is not often seen in Italian titles – the mockumentary. Produced by On My Own, the film’s main character is Leonardo Zuliani, a “reverse” civil-rights activist played by Davide Giordano.

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"Leonardo is an anti-Semite who lives in an oppressive society in which he is trying to assert himself," explains the director at the press briefing. Caviglia belongs to the Jewish community in Rome. "I used a documentary style to make this story, which is actually absurd, believable." 

Cineuropa: Is it a dystopian reality that is portrayed in the film?
Alberto Caviglia: A dystopia would be in line with the film’s satirical approach, but when I finished shooting, I realised that what I’d done was simply to accentuate some existing things that seem unbelievable and amusing when they are exaggerated. But in fact, they are not so different from the reality that surrounds us. 

Did you not think it was too much of a delicate topic to tackle through satire?
The process of tackling the problem through satire wasn’t immediate – I thought about it for a long time. Then I realised that deconstructing all the approaches that have come before, through a kind of reversal – an anti-Semitic lead character portrayed as a hero – could be a way to drill down into the very nature of the problem and reveal the causes of it. The satirical tone allowed me to depict the hypocrisy that prejudice often gives rise to. 

How did you manage to get journalists, actors and public figures involved in the film?
To be honest, I didn’t think they would accept the offer so enthusiastically. That gave me a great deal of confidence. I went to see each of them in turn to explain the idea of the movie to them, and their willingness surprised me.

How much work did you do on the lead character?
None – Davide Giordano is exactly like that! I was lucky. I met him years ago on another project, and when I wrote Pecore in erba, he was one of the first actors that came to mind, and I suggested him for the casting.

(Translated from Italian)

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