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VENICE 2009 Out of competition / Italy

Maselli explores shadows of the Left

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Everything can be said about Francesco (“Citto”) Maselli and his films, except that he doesn’t flirt openly with symbols and metaphors: the Red Shadows [+see also:
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of the title of his latest film (screening out of competition at Venice), where he made his debut as far back as 1949 with the short Bagnaia Paese Italiano) are those of a Left that has lost its way, that has won the elections – the setting is Italy, 2007 – but is destined to succumb to the rise of Berlusconiism.

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Onscreen, these “relics” of progressivism (the world-renowned intellectual, the millionaire architect with a bust of Lenin on his bedside table, the politically engaged “Pasionaria”, played by Roberto Herlitzka, Ennio Fantastichini and Lucia Poli), are not particularly impressive.

They discover a community centre and suggest turning it into a House of Culture (not a particularly revolutionary idea but one which, unbelievably, makes the first page of Le Monde in the film).

But the project – which is called “Change the World” and is based in an old, derelict cinema, offering further metaphors – goes bankrupt. And while they hold discussions on the sofa and have a little drink, they persuade the European Parliament in Strasbourg to stump up the money for their projects.

Self-criticism by a grand old man of the Italian Left? Perhaps. Militant Maselli has already described the drawing rooms of the ICP (Italian Communist Party) in Open Letter to the Evening News, and Red Shadows was intended as an ideal continuation of that film (among his most accomplished).

The director, who will receive the Italian Film Journalists’ Union Bianchi Award in Venice, commented: "It’s an attempt to depict the complexity of a crisis, but without entering into debate. Indeed, there are no specific culprits, I explore differences and internal tragedies. There are many souls caught up in this difficult moment in political history. And the Left is experiencing difficulty today not only in Italy but across the world”.

Produced by 13 dicembre, Rai Cinema and Cattleya, the film will be released in Italy on September 4 by 01. International sales are being handled by Rai Trade.

(Translated from Italian)

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