festival & awards:
A small village in Southern Italy, frozen in time, sees four strangers arrive, chasing a desperate dream of redeeming their lives. Dante, Gianni, Agostino and Diego are four two-bit criminals out to steal the statue of the village’s patron saint. In a community with a precarious balance, torn between religion and blind superstition, reactions can be quite unpredictable, and highly violent to boot. And when the fearsome foursome realise that they’ve made the biggest mistake of their lives, it’s already too late.
I feel that La Santa, as a genre, defies all definition. The film is a virtual melting-pot of different ingredients: western imagery, very dramatic scenes, a few pure action sequences, a cinematic style straight out of independent films, and a degree of realism in the settings. Perhaps it’s simply a disenchanted film noir, holding out not a shred of hope to anyone. The winter setting in the Salento gives the scenes a dusty feel which is typical of the South; visually, it’s the overwhelming presence of the rocky bulk of the old, peeling walls, scrubbed by time, which makes the place where the story is set as intriguing as it is hostile. The four scoundrels who are the protagonists of the story come to Nebula to steal the statue of St. Victoria, the village’s patron saint. Anger, tenderness, fragility, death: these are the first four words that come to mind to describe what fate is in store for the four outsiders when they clash with a religious community that reacts to their feat in a totally unpredictable and quite violent way.