On the set
Pentedattilo, perched on Mount Calvary, known for its shape of a cyclopean five-fingered hand, was the set in 2008 for "Article 23," the latest short film by the great documentary filmmaker Vittorio De Seta (his 1950s documentaries shot among the fishermen, peasants, shepherds and miners of southern Italy are famous). "Article 23" is part of the collective film "All Human Rights for All," where 30 leading Italian filmmakers gave their interpretation of the 30 articles of the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights.
The story, starting from Article 23 of the Declaration of Human Rights ("Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and satisfactory conditions of work and to protection against unemployment"), strongly reaffirms the equality among men, the importance of acceptance and the value of solidarity.
The story told in the short film is all visual and has a documentary flavor, with room for ambient sounds and folk singing. Among the inaccessible fields and poor houses, under the rocks of Mount Calvary, a young farmer teaches a Senegalese laborer his trade. Forced to migrate north in search of work, the farmer bequeaths him his mother and land.
In fact, it is a testament film that of De Seta's, which -- by making the fates of immigrants and emigrants intersect -- points to a future way to save and revitalize the beauty and tradition of villages that have become ghost towns like Pentedattilo. In De Seta's images, one can find the ancient beauty of the village, kissed by a warm, golden light, with the wonderful views of the village and Mount Calvary, the glimpses of alleys and streets, and also the exteriors and interiors of the old stone houses. Even in the brevity of the narrative, the balance between the beauty of a looming nature and the simple, solid architecture built by man, who has been able to find a space for living and sustenance in an unusual location, among rocks, olive trees and sloping land that is not easy to cultivate, is enhanced.
De Seta, born in Palermo, lived many years in Calabria, where he made two other valuable documentaries, "The Forgotten" (1959) and "In Calabria" (1993). After returning to cinema with "Letters from the Sahara" (2006), which tells the painful epic of a Senegalese migrant in Italy, De Seta continues his discourse on immigration with the same protagonist, Djibril Kebe. "He chose to shoot that short film in Pentedattilo, because the ancient village had become for him the symbol of all the Souths of the world" (from "Letter for De Seta," by E. Milasi and A. Melchionda from the Pentedattilo Film Festival, 2011).
"The flashes of our memory are fixed on faces, gestures, shouts in a live voice or through an often broken megaphone, the hugs, the sun beating down, the wind of the Ionian coast, the loading and unloading, the tractors, the work plans written, rewritten, and punctually not respected, the overlapping roles, the long nights discussing everything: work organization, budgets, misunderstandings, fatigue and insomnia.
But our memory runs especially to the local people, smiling, enthusiastic and patient, the people who did not refuse even at unlikely hours to lend a hand to the young crew and the great Vittorio De Seta, the youngest of the young, perhaps because, consciously or not, in those days, those people lived like us the urgency of telling the hardships of emigration yesterday and today. Pentedattilo in Article 23 rises to a further emblem: a symbol of coercive abandonment for the locals, it becomes today a land of welcome for the new Souths of the world." (Maria Milasi, Ram Film and Maria Furfaro Magafilms)
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