Laura Morante plays a politically engaged and passionate filmmaker in L’età d’oro
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Premiered at the Bif&st, Emanuela Piovano’s film, co-produced by France and based on independent director Annabella Miscuglio, is released in theatres by Bolero Film
An independent and experimental documentary maker, a militant feminist, the maker of protest films (including one on prostitution, A.A.A. Offresi, which was seized and still hasn’t been released by the authorities), a writer and the founder of Filmstudio, the legendary arthouse cinema in the heart of Rome. Annabella Miscuglio was all of these things. But the filmmaker, who passed away in 2003, was also a mother, and it’s this that is focussed on in Emanuela Piovano’s new film, L’età d’oro [+see also:
film profile], which is based on this politically-engaged and passionate filmmaker, who was active between the 1960s and 1980s and has perhaps been forgotten to some extent.
In the film, which is being shown in competition in the ItaliaFilmFest/Nuove Proposte section of the Bif&st, Piovano transforms Annabella into the character of Arabella and gives her the face of Laura Morante. But what we see on the screen is actually absent, a memory, a mental projection. Arabella is no longer with us, and her son Sid (Dil Gabriele dell’Aiera) must come to terms with his past and a childhood that wasn’t exactly happy. To deal with inheritance formalities, he’s forced to return to the small town in Apulia where his mother had been running an open-air cineclub for twenty years, surrounded by an entourage of loving friends and colleagues. The same omnipresent group of people that stopped him having his mother all to himself as a child.
Fill of bitterness, Sid arrives like an alien in the middle of this community of people united by their love for Arabella and an all-consuming passion for her films (the cast includes Gigio Alberti, Gisella Volodi, Stefano Fresi, Pietro De Silva, Giulio Scarpati, Eugenia Costantini). Between imaginary conversations with his mother, screenings of old films shot in super 8 and interviews filmed with a mobile phone, the film uses fragments to reconstruct the charismatic figure of this free and transgressive woman, who perhaps wasn’t the best mother, but fought censorship, ostracism and abandonment, tenaciously driving the mission of her cineclub forward.
“With this film I wanted to portray, through the eyes of the son, unease but also great affection for a person who tried to give her life meaning right up until the end, starting from scratch every time”, explains Emanuela Piovano, who knew Annabella Miscuglio personally. It’s also a tribute to film, which perhaps lingers excessively in nostalgia, but eventually warms the heart, because everyone, when it comes down to it, has their own ‘golden age’ they mourn.
Produced by Kitchen Film in collaboration with Rai Cinema and in co-production with French company Testukine, L’età d’oro was released in theatres yesterday, 7 April, under the distribution of Bolero Film.
(Translated from Italian)