Corpo a corpo
24th September 2005. After a football match between Verona and Brescia, a serious incident between police and football fans takes place inside the Venetian central station. Many people are injured and one young man is lying on the ground, dying. Before entering a state of coma and coming out of the coma two months later, Paolo Scaroni had been a bull breeder managing a business comprising more than two hundred beef cattle and had also been the regional champion in rock climbing. He was also a member of the Brescian Ultras group 1911, which was why he came to be in the station in Verona.
The film, the only one made on this story, was created over eleven years, and follows Paolo’s trials and tribulations on his path to justice and to create a new identity for himself. Against Brescian regional backdrop to the story, the powerful world of the Italian Ultras also makes its appearance.
The contrast emerges between the simplicity of the farming context that Paolo belongs to and the deeply rooted extremist world that he was part of before the incident. On one side, his agricultural business, kept alive by his father; on the other, some fans that showed solidarity and stuck with him through an incident that had become a symbol of all the Ultra’s demands.
However, in Paolo’s heart beat the mountains and rocks, a tie so deep that not even the loss of most of his memory or his physical disability could break.
Body Struggles is a prolonged act of resistance spent constantly observing Paolo, where his daily life and key episodes in his life alternate to create a story of great authenticity, of deeply universal scope. From the coma and the wheelchair of 2005, through the boy’s gloomy daily life and his prolonged rehabilitation period, the story recounts how he eventually managed to stand and walk again. Then a long period of waiting until the court sentence in January 2013, when police force’s responsibility was irrefutably acknowledged, but none of the individuals were punished for the crime they had committed. This partial legal victory, which granted Paolo substantial damages under the civil code, was followed by years of suffering, medical appointments and attempts to reactivate his body.
The deep personal pain, arising from the totally senseless violence he had suffered, motivated Paolo to fight to overcome his limits, with a smile and with rage, falling and picking himself up again, trying every possible movement between heaven and earth – from the simplicity of his farmhouse, where even the animals know the dialect, to a lost peak high in the clouds, where the drama of a life destroyed elevates itself, transformed, to poetry.
But, finally, at the end of this journey, he refound himself.