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Review: Il gabbiano più inutile del mondo


- In his new documentary, Giuseppe Lanno meets Sicilian painter Igor Scalisi Palminteri and engages in a lengthy discussion on life, art and freedom

Review: Il gabbiano più inutile del mondo
Igor Scalisi Palminteri in Il gabbiano più inutile del mondo

Directed by Giuseppe Lanno and presented in a world premiere during the fifth edition of Santarcangelo di Romagna’s Nòt Film Fest, the documentary Il gabbiano più inutile del mondo [+see also:
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principally consists of a lengthy conversation with the eclectic painter Igor Scalisi Palminteri, during which questions on nature and the role of art, freedom and, more generally, the meaning of life, are explored in different everyday contexts, in fairly spontaneous fashion. Straight away, we learn that the Trapanese artist has produced some wonderful murals and developed his own vision of existence which is full of both substance and spirituality.

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Each of his works has a story of its own and conveys a specific religious, philosophical and occasionally political meaning, accompanied by social condemnation, such as in the case of the fascinating mural of Benedict the Moor (described by the painter as “an African-Italian man of the Sixteenth Century”) or the triptych dedicated to Father Pino Puglisi who was brutally murdered by the mafia in 1993.

The sequence set on the bumper car ride turns out to be one of the most effective, and it drives home just how important it is to the painter “to take care of little Igor” and to connect with our own “inner child”. It’s an approach which the artist has needed to adopt in order to accept the disheartening reality around him, in order to create freely, and in order to build a stronger and more direct relationship with his daughter, we suspect.

A handful of technical blunders reduce the overall quality of the final product: several transitions lack fluidity in terms of visual and sound editing; there are too many interluding sequences (which are often overly descriptive and add very little to the film’s narrative) and Angelo Sicurella’s music, despite its high quality, doesn’t always sit well with the stylistic or spiritual and philosophical tone set by the film, nor the subjects it explores. But Il gabbiano più inutile del mondo is nonetheless a sincere, straightforward and authentic offering: Scalisi Palminteri is incredibly interesting to listen to and, overall, he delivers an in-depth explanation of his vision on life and art with great lightness and candour. “There are artists whose entire body of work is focused on the artistic act itself. [..] I find this act interesting. Not the act of painting a door [for example], but the act of stealing that piece of the city. I think it’s a genuinely romantic gesture”, Scalisi Palminteri enthuses at a certain point in the film, and this summation might help us to fully comprehend the love he feels for his community and for his profession. It’s within this freedom to “steal”, learn and discover that Scalisi Palminteri finds his lifeblood, and this energy is channelled, unfiltered, from the big screen to the audience.

Il gabbiano più inutile del mondo is produced by Giuseppe Lanno and Rita Tura.

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(Translated from Italian)

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