Fortress (first feature)

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Fortress (Fortezza)

Fortress (Fortezza)

original title:





Andrea Pandolfo





film run:




festivals & awards:

Entirely filmed inside Civitavecchia prison, being the prisoners both protagonists and co-authors, Fortezza is the reinterpretation of one of the most important novels of the XX century: “The Tartar Steppe” written by Dino Buzzati.
Three soldiers arrive at a solitary military garrison which no longer serves any defensive function. Here time is at a standstill and is marked by strict regulations, power dynamics, engrained idleness and habits. Waiting in vain for an enemy that will not arrive, military officers are consumed by, on the one hand, the need to give their stay a meaning and, on the other hand, the need to resist the attraction this place holds on them.
Those inside cannot get out, those who leave will never be completely free. Caught in a balancing act between fiction and documentary, a group of prisoners reveals the limits and humanity of the condition of incarceration by getting on stage.

Getting around the wall. Transforming the limitation into a stimulus. Using the constraint as a creative drive. This is the constant work that takes place in prison. This is the cinematographic choice. To shoot a film in a place constrained by restrictions forced us to rethink shooting time and
space, the time and space of dialogues, the time and space of silence, the time and space of emptiness.
It is often the difficulty in adapting to this new perception of reality that creates imbalances in emotions and identity among inmates. The illness of prison. The malaise.
The disease that gnaws but binds, so as to make life on the outside inconceivable.
The search for an inner freedom lies in the discovery of the possibility that time, when lasting, affords the soul.
This is the conclusion reached by Marco, one of the protagonists of the film: "Here time does not fly. Here time is space for yourself. To look inside yourself. To shake off everything, as it passes, that it has stuck onto you and that wasn’t really you”.
Some soldiers remain free within the Fortress. Some soldiers leave the Fortress as prisoners. Bars in the eyes, in their legs, in their minds.
Seagulls fly high but nest in the cracks of the walls.
Perfect metaphor of the penitentiary institution, the film narration documents the condition of prison, between resignation and the hope of redemption.
The Fortress is a military garrison, a prison, a place of the soul.