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Oxygen (Ossigeno)

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This is the story of a wild extreme life culminating in poetry and painting. The story of Agrippino Costa. The family emigrates to Turin in the fifties. He does a thousand jobs, from baker to factory worker. From the age of 13 he cultivates his passion for poetry. In 1968 he leaves for France and lives in Marseilles, where he survives as a bouncer in a brothel. He then steals works of art, among which one of Botticelli’s Venuses, and even becomes a bank robber. He is locked up in prisons in France, Switzerland and Italy. In jail he becomes an activist first of the NAP (Armed Proletarian Nuclei) and then of the Red Brigades, without ever ceasing to write poetry and paint. For his follies, his repeated escape attempts, he has served over 20 years in prison, 12 of which in high security institutions. He has never killed, nor wounded anyone. To try to survive the madness of prison he has tried over a dozen escapes, in the most disparate ways … He was even locked up in a criminal mental asylums. An appeal by Franca Rame and Dario Fo saved him from insanity. In a nutshell, this is Agrippino’s life. A path that begins in Mineo (near Catania, Sicily), where Agrippino was born in 1942 and ends up with, after endless tragic experiences, to recognition from the Italian Culture Ministry for his poetry. This is the story of a real, possible, transformation. A borderline case, of course, but also a metaphor of the change that leads Agrippino Costa to declare: “You have to die to the past and be born again in the present”.