BELLA E PERDUTA
16mm/DCP - colour
festival & awards:
From the bowels of Vesuvius, Pulcinella, a foolish servant, is sent to present-day Campania to grant the last wish of Tommaso, a simple shepherd: he must rescue a young buffalo called Sarchiapone.
In the Palace of Carditello, an abandoned Bourbon residence in the heart of the ‘Land of Fires’ whose remains were looked after by Tommaso, Pulcinella finds the young buffalo and takes him towards the north. The two servants, man and animal, embark upon a long journey throughout a lost and beautiful Italy, at the end of which they will not find quite what they had expected.
I learnt to look at Italy contemplating its landscape from trains, rediscovering time after time its beauty and its ruin. I have often thought about making an itinerant film that would cross the provinces to describe Italy: beautiful, yes, but lost. Leopardi described it as a woman crying with her head in her hands due to the burden of history, the atavistic evil of being too beautiful.
When I chanced upon the Royal Palace of Carditello and the fairy tale—because it really is a fairy tale—of Tommaso, the ‘Angel of Carditello’, a shepherd who sacrificed everything to dedicate many years of his life to look after this abandoned artistic asset, I saw a powerful metaphor for what I felt compelled to describe. Following the premature and sudden death of Tommaso, Bella e perduta—initially conceived as a ‘journey through Italy’ intended to touch upon other regions—became a different film, marrying fairy tale and documentary, dream and reality.
Carditello is the symbol of a lost beauty and the struggle of an individual, an orphan who refuses to surrender to a rotten mechanism of destruction and decay. And at the same time this story, deeply rooted in our country’s history, examines a subject which has never been so universal: the relationship between man and nature.