by Gabriele Barcaro
With Adam’s Pears, Guido Chiesa returns to address the issue of – in a curious coincidence with the 40th anniversary of the events of 1968 – “movementism”, the recurring theme in his latest films.
For years, the director of Working Slowly has been investigating social movements, sometimes focusing on individuals (Johnny the Partisan, based on Beppe Fenoglio’s novel on the Resistance), but more often framing on collective experiences, such as free radios (Alice è in Paradiso), Bologna 1977 and Italian trade unions (Non mi basta mai).
In this new, highly creative documentary (which features numerous animated digressions narrated by Giuseppe Battiston), the analysis of individual phenomena leaves the way for a film with a message that draws a parallel between clouds and social movements.
Two apparently unrelated realities (“like adding apples and oranges”) – in Italian, “pears and apples,” whence the bizarre title – but connected by profound analogies, which Chiesa investigates with the help of climatologist Luca Mercalli (a well-known face on Italian TV) and French members of the entertainment industry, who a few years ago were at the centre of a sensational protest that brought the French cultural industry to a standstill for an entire summer.
The film’s basic assumption is that clouds are just like social movements: they know no borders but instead break through boundaries, travelling quickly, dissolving and then reforming. They are made up of tiny particles which by themselves would carry no weight but together they are capable of rousing storms and provoking strikes.
Even meteorological unpredictability is not so different from social instability, although even the most knowledgeable scientists and sociologists can do no more than recognise the necessary conditions in which a phenomenon (whether it be hailstones, or a revolution) manifests itself: and then it is always nature (whether the events be physical or political) that has the last word. Sometimes it rains (or stones rain down), and sometimes the calm, clear skies return: “as in heaven, so on earth”.
With the support of MiBAC, the Piedmont Region and the Turin and Piedmont Film Commission, Adam’s Pears was produced by Orione Cinematografica in co-production with IMTM Film (France), Offbeat Film (Denmark) and Amka Films (Switzerland).
(Translated from Italian)
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