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Youth detention centre. Daphne, arrested for theft, falls in love with Josh, who is also a young robber. Men and women can not meet in jail and love is forbidden. Daphne and Josh’s relationship is only based on glances from one cell to the other, short conversations through the bars and secret letters. The prison is not the only deprivation from freedom but becomes also where love is impossibile.
Fiore is the story of the desire to love of a teenager girl and the power of an emotion that breaks every law.
The making of Fiore, from writing through to filming, was all based on documentation: on a meeting with reality and then its transformation into drama and a story using images, with the aim of creating a film that's as realistic and believable as possible.
That was why the scriptwriters and I spent four months (from January to May 2014) as voluntary teachers at the Istituto Penale per i Minori in Casal del Marmo, which is Rome's juvenile prison. We drew the kids, both boys and girls, into a series of laboratories focusing on video and cinema language so that we could write the script inside the prison and base it on their experiences and their real personal stories.
Males and females aren't allowed to meet inside the prison and there are no shared activities but, in spite of the detention and the total ban on meeting, they still manage to establish relationships: love stories based on letters, glances thrown from one cell to the other, and short conversations away from the watchful eye of the prison police.
Despite the prison setting of the film, what really stirred us wasn't the moral story about crime and punishment, but the feelings of those kids, forced into detention: the film is told entirely from the viewpoint of the 17-year old protagonist, who's simultaneously living the experience of prison and that of her first love.
Is it possible to live your teenage years in a prison context? Hold on to the charm and innocence of that age, despite being guilty in the eyes of the law? This contradiction was the starting point for the project - the paradox of two adolescents living the power of their first love in a place where love is forbidden.
The cast of adolescent inmates is made up of non-professional actors, most of them former inmates or on probation, with some who we met in the prison laboratories (with the Department of Juvenile Justice giving its permission for them
to be involved in the film). Even the roles of prison police assistants are played mainly by real prison officers.
The search for the right location was a hard one: even though the collaboration began with the laboratories at R
ome's juvenile prison, we were only able to shoot a few scenes there because the night and day filming schedules of the crew clashed with the prison routine. Most of the film was shot in the juvenile prison of the city of l'Aquila, a prison without detaine
es as they were all transferred to other institutions after the earthquake; it was subsequently renovated but has never
been used since. The set design made the prison - which was new but unused - seem older, and we brought in around 40 inmates along with a few prison officers. The prison is also a multicultural, multiethnic place: the male and female detainees come from
different parts of Italy, and most of them are of north African, Slav and Romani origin.
The presence of real prison officers meant we were able to recreate the complicated system of rules and bans that punctuate the day and night: the closure in the cell, the opening of the cells and the closure in the prison wing, the
recreation time, the solitary isolation.
In the film Fiore, the prison isn't just a temporary lack of freedom for the teenagers - it's a lack of love. The moral is no longer that of the law; it's an anarchic moral of feelings. And the prison rules and prison officers' bans are the obstacles to be overcome in order to live out the feelings of your adolescence.