Turin: A young woman’s psychic malaise in Ulidi piccola mia
by Vittoria Scarpa
30/11/2011 - The first of two Italian films in competition at the 29th Turin Film Festival (November 25 – December 3) is a difficult one to place. Presented yesterday by the director, Gianni Amelio, as "a flower on the edge of the field, a film of which there should be more in Turin", Ulidi piccola mia, a feature debut for documentary-maker Mateo Zoni (Hanna Schygulla vede Hanna Schygulla), is a mixture of documentary and fiction, with no real script, shot with little money (80 thousand Euros) and an HD camera which is glued to its main characters, it spies on behind-doors conversations and infiltrates a problematic reality, that of Paola, a girl of Moroccan origin with psychic problems who lives in a community in Parma.
The first scene portrays Paola as she sings a beautiful poem, Giuro che io salverò la delicatezza mia by Mariangela Gualtieri, and nothing, in her lively face and her wide smile, can foretell the pain which the audience will witness. It is a malaise told with a great deal of sensitivity and an intimacy that is never forced: "Ulidi piccola mia is a film about fragility, which I think is today the most transgressive feeling", explains Zoni, "I would like for the images to have an almost physical effect on the audience: like a comforting hug which emanates energy and courage".
The camera follows Paola in her every-day life, among her friends in the community, in her conversations with her loving mother who calls her Ulidi ("my little one" in Arabic). And in her job as a hairdresser, where, with her calm way of speaking and as if it were nothing, she confesses to a client that she has a little bit of a sore back from that time that she broke two vertebrae after jumping off the second floor of a building. It follows her finally on the evening of her eighteenth birthday, leaving the audience in the knowledge that the joy of the celebrations will soon give way to the anxieties of stepping into the adult world and of the new choices to be made.
Ulidi piccola mia is an Indigo Film production with Solares Fondazione delle Arti, which is also dealing with international sales. Distribution in Italy is taken care of by Cinecittà Luce at a date which is yet to be decided.
(Translated from Italian)