Matteo Levi, Verdiana Bixio
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A countryside town. Between old walls, on nocturnal jaunts along the shore, in the enchantment of a brief trespassing in nature, we experience the life and expectations of four girls whose friendship is not born out of overwhelming passions, mutual interests or great ideals. To unite them are not affinities but habits, occasional enthusiasms, harmless contrasts, feelings cultivated in secret. Their connection is unique and unrepeatable as are the few days they spend traveling together to accompany one of their friends to Belgrade, where a mysterious friend and an improbable work opportunity await them.
These Days (Questi Giorni) is the story of a group of college-aged girls from the Italian countryside, the age at which decisions about the future are pressing and difficult to postpone. Even though they are still living under a kind of spell where the future, among all the difficulties of these years, still seems to be full of promises. The illusion of eternity, which hides the ambushes of the years to come, is threatened when Caterina, the self-sufficient, untrusting and touchy friend, declares that she is leaving for Belgrade. There Mina, a girl Caterina met in the summertime, the season of vacations and with whom she exchanged messages from afar, a new job and a new beginning await her. Her other friends, one by one, decide to go with her to Belgrade to make the separation less painful, as if to dispel all that this journey brings with it; the idea of something definitive, a point of no return, an irreconcilable rift in the uncertain balance of the daily life of the group.
“The dream is over,” as an old Beatles song goes. Threatening clouds loom over the girls’ attempt to prolong their time together which is flying by at top speed and their dreams shouted in the faces of adults. The disenchanted Angela, Anna who does not really know what she wants and who finds herself on a road that she would never have imagined having to take. And finally Liliana, who is constantly striving to protect and watch over the people she loves, including her mother: a childish one, unresolved, overwhelmed by economic difficulties and yet too concerned with being liked by men. Liliana faces everything boldly and directly, and she feels uncertain and vulnerable only in front of her Anglo-American literature professor.
That trip becomes the moment in which the expectations and fears of the four girls are confronted; a trip that does not have to be epic, where there are no meetings or extraordinary adventures and landscapes that take your breath away. The journey is just an opportunity to look closely at these girls, to keep them there, close at hand, all together, and perceive their inner earthquakes and their desire for life. And it is from this distance that we grasp the enchanting wonders, the paralyzing fears, the disappointments, the heartbreaks and even the outbursts; choices made without calculation because they are at a time in their lives when calculations cannot be made easily. They are facing themselves and an idea of the future that, as the story unfolds, is inadequate, far from what life really holds for them.
There is something different around the corner, not a coherent eventuality, but something that is never how you imagine it.
The trip is a no-man's land. The four friends are put to the test, their differences are accentuated and you have to go a bit deeper to understand who they really are. I'd like for the stories of these girls to say something about life today, but without falling into stereotypes of sociology because it is possible to say something more real and more precise about today without flirting with modernity, or falling into stereotypical depictions of youth behaviour. I'd also like to show the physical side of the typical life at this age, to relate that energy, that carefree expenditure. In this sense, the landscape can be helpful, but not in a descriptive way, and nature itself appears only as a companion for these gestures, words, and events. Only in this way do the woods, lakes and night landscapes make sense. What does this story tell us in the end? All those moments that pass us by in which it seems like things have their own secret agenda, a sudden blaze that suddenly becomes memory, a missed opportunity, a gesture lost along the way. As Caterina says everything that happens to us happens without us knowing it.
“If someone had told us, in those days, that that was our time, once in a lifetime, and that we were in an eternal promise, that those times wouldn’t have lasted, we wouldn’t have believed them. Instead, we would have thought that our time was still ahead of us, that the best was yet to come…”.