The Lord of the Ants

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The Lord of the Ants (Il signore delle formiche)

The Lord of the Ants (Il signore delle formiche)

The Lord of the Ants (Il signore delle formiche)

original title:

Il signore delle formiche

directed by:



set design:

costume design:


Kavac, IBC Movie, Tenderstories, Rai Cinema, supported by Ministero della Cultura, with the support of Regione Lazio, with the support of Emilia-Romagna Film Commission





film run:




release date:


At the end of the sixties, a trial was held in Rome that caused a sensation. Playwright and poet Aldo Braibanti was sentenced to nine years’ prison, found guilty of plagio. That is, of having submitted another person, physically and psychologically, to his own will. In this case, a student and friend who was barely of age. The youth’s family had him committed to a psychiatric hospital and subjected to a string of devastating electroshock treatments to “cure” him of that “diabolical” influence. Some years later, the crime of plagio was removed from the Italian penal code. But by that point, it had been used to incriminate “misfits” of every kind, outlaws from the norm. Drawing inspiration from true events, the film tells a story through a chorus of voices. Other than the defendant, his family and friends, accusers and supporters take shape against a backdrop of largely distracted or indifferent public opinion. Only one journalist takes on the task of piecing together the truth, facing suspicion and censorship as he does so.

A film about violence and the obtuseness of prejudice. About love subjected to conformism and hypocrisy. A cross-section of Italian provincial life in the pivotal sixties, when economic wellbeing did not grow at the same pace as awareness about things. As emotional openness. The family is a closed space where intergenerational disagreements remain heated and conflictual. The affair as it had happened still reveals disturbing elements over half a century later. The viewer might wonder: “How was it possible, how could it have happened?”
Even though today, outwardly, nothing seems to scandalise anyone anymore, the Lord of the Ants’ odyssey has something of the Inquisition about it. We still witness it every day. Because, in substance, not much has changed. Behind a permissive façade, prejudices exist and endure, generating hatred and scorn towards anyone who is ‘different’. This is no longer the time to submit to or to tolerate any form of abuse towards individuals who are less protected. This film aims to instil the courage to rebel.