Quando tu sei vicino a me
Santo Baldassarini, Fabio Ischiboni, Youssef Khattabi, Angelo Migliore, Ernesta Portento, Paola Rupilli, Milena Saccia, Angelo Verdinelli
Quando tu sei vicino a me (l.t.: “When you are close to me”) is a verse of a famous song by Gino Paoli, that is often sung by Milena at the top of her voice. Milena is one of the guests of Lega del Filo d’Oro, a Centre of international excellence for the assistance and rehabilitation of deafblind and psychosensory impaired people. An extraordinary place where verbal language is only one of the many languages used, alongside Malossi, LIS, Tactile signing, Tadoma and other individual ones created ad hoc, in order to give everyone the possibility to express themselves. All languages imply presence and touch: Paola, Angelo V., Ernesta, Fabio, Angelo M. and Milena have necessity to be at a hand distance to enter communication and getting to know each other.
The film explores this microcosm hidden on the Marche hills, inhabited by a group of people with extraordinary everyday communication. We follow the six protagonists from Autumn to Summer, a year in which they live as simple as extraordinary episodes, small conquests or defeats that are indeed great adventures: being able to tie their own shoes, the desire to adequately match clothes, the slow but precise way of laying the table, choosing the colour of the hair dye, taking the stairs and long corridors by getting oriented with their hands, and learning the first communication codes to get in touch with the world.
Everyday, we walk down the long corridors of the Centre, we climb the stairs up and down while following Angelo M., the charismatic pragmatic and wise man, who – among his various tasks – is the “postman”: he sorts the written communications among the several classrooms, with an extraordinary sense of orientation for a person that is deafblind almost from his birth. We meet Fabio, one of the older guests, with a disruptive smile, who expresses his thoughts through Braille and can also keep a full-bodied recipe book thanks to it. We stop to chat with Paola and listen to her sessions with the psychologist of the Centre, during which she opens herself to the other with great sincerity. With Angelo V., we listen to music or watch a film, strictly an Italian comedy of the 60s, his favourite genre. We observe Ernesta, apparently completely closed in herself, hard-faced and sometimes aggressive, who experiments with the educators surprising possibilities of communication. And then Milena, with an overwhelming vitality, who - with her singing - reminds us how necessary it is being close, being there indeed. Finally, there is Sofia, the recently arrived child. Her first adventurous and tender approaches to the language, followed by the educators of the Centre, are a short but emblematic passage to be able to walk backwards the long and arduous path of growth that each of the adult protagonists has made over the years.
Some brief but suggestive contemplative moments dedicated to the landscape surrounding the structure mark the time of the story, in dialogue with the daily lives of the characters: the snow on the Apennines profiles seen from afar, the first shoots of corn moved by the wind, the sunflowers blooming. They are visual and sound pauses that the film allows itself, through which it is possible to breathe the outside and return to one’s inner world, to the beauty of being able to see and hear, that is too often taken for granted.
Being There is a slap in the face to contemporary solitude, frenzy and individualism. In a time of virtuality and hyper-connection, the community of the guests of the Lega del Filo d’Oro explores the foundations of human relationships through communication methods that nowadays seem to be endangered.