Malaterra: Gigi D’Alessio denounces the contamination of his homeland
by Gonzalo Suárez
- The famous Italian singer puts his image and efforts to the utmost use in this docufilm that has been shown in a special event at Taormina
Between the north of the Naples province and the south of the Caserta province lies a vast expanse of land contaminated by toxic residues that, in Italy, is known as la terra dei fuochi (the land of fire), or Malaterra. With the inevitable complicity of the region’s authorities and industrialists, huge amounts of rubbish have been produced and buried in this area in the last few years, polluting the area’s entire biosphere and that of the surrounding areas, and likely causing – owing to the consumption of contaminated water and food – the emergence of, and an increase in, illnesses such as leukaemia and different types of tumours, particularly amongst new-borns.
The famous Italian singer Gigi D’Alessio, together with his filmmaker friends Sergio Rubino and Ambrosio Crespi, decided to embark on the somewhat spontaneous shooting of a film that would denounce this situation and contribute to raising awareness amongst the Italian and, if possible, international community in order to fight against the unfortunate phenomenon. The result is Malaterra, a three-headed docufilm shown at the 61st Taormina Film Festival, which draws so much on D’Alessio’s reputation that unfortunately it reduces the impact of the crime it depicts and the testimonies that it gathers.
In effect, the singer serves as the improvised interviewer and, during the interludes, when images of the Campania countryside and sea take to the screen, aiding the transition of one idea in the story into another, the voiceover and soundtrack take on an excessive presence that grabs the audience’s attention through their empathy. As such, the directorial duo fall into the same trap of sentimentality which, conversely, they manage to avoid during the most important parts of the narrative, that is to say the testimonies, prioritising the sincerity of the protagonists, the victims, over the otherwise commendable personal commitment of a Gigi D’Alessio who has wholeheartedly given his image in defence of the cause. Not in vain, both the song and film named Malaterra are not-for-profit works that aspire to reach as many people as possible, in order to raise awareness amongst a public who are sick of the Camorra and fed up of omertà.
(Translated from Spanish)