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VENICE 2006 Horizons

Vicari: Journey through Italy in Ivens’ footsteps


For his documentary Il mio paese (My Country), which screened as a special event of the Horizons section of Venice Film Festival, director Daniele Vicari travelled through an Italy of factories, from Gela to Marghera, to see how the country has changed over the years,.

The film stems from the work of the great documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens, who in 1959 was commissioned by Enrico Mattei, then president of ENI, to visually depict Italy during its economic boom, with the result being a portrait of a country still riddled with poverty.

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Between 2005 and 2006, Vicari travelled throughout Italy in the opposite director with respect to Ivens’ journey in Italy is Not a Poor Country, to see how the country has been transformed over the last 45 years.

"I have an innate desire to speak about my country,", said the director of Maximum Velocity, which was awarded the best debut film award in Venice in 2002. "When I saw Ivens’ film,” he continued, “I had the impression that there were the tools to make a new film adopting the same unique tone that Ivens used to depict the transformation of an agricultural country into one of the biggest industrial forces in the world. The reference to his work allowed me to make certain reflections upon cinema".

From an industrial Sicily to Gela and Termini Imerese, through the Fiat di Melfi plants, the ENEA laboratories in Rome, Prato (the "Chinese textile capital"), to the petrochemical plant of Porto Marghera: each place offers the faces, stories and opinions of those who have spent their lives in the factories.

The result is discouraging: 50 years after Ivens’ documentary, the promises of prosperity, work and progress were not kept. At least not for everyone. The children of the factory workers who had regular contracts face uncertain futures. "Today,” concluded Vicari, “Italy is my rich but profoundly unequal country".

Il mio paese was produced by Vivo film S.r.l., with support from the Centenario Association of the CGIL union, in collaboration with RAI Cinema.

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(Translated from Italian)

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