Giulio Cesare - Compagni di scuola
festivals & awards:
Eighty years young: in the history of a famous Roman high school, the Liceo ginnasio Giulio Cesare, there’s the history of a great country. From the founding of the institution during the Fascist era to the present, by way of the Sixties and the “Years of Lead”, it’s all told by the students and former students themselves, in a blend of history, current events, news and entertainment. The documentary outs the most famous alumni’s report cards and final grade point averages and takes on the faces of 2014, with the invaluable aid of news reels, TV reports and the newspapers.
Giulio Cesare is my first feature-length film after thirty-odd documentaries about film and fashion. And for a debut feature, having a cast of 1500 students and a monumental set like the Giulio Cesare High School in Rome is a dream come true. Shooting started last February with interviews with alumni like Paolo Genovese, Zero Assoluto e Gian Luigi Rondi, and finished in the summer: last day of school and the exit exam. The most moving moment? Seeing Antonello Venditti, who wrote timeless songs about the school, play the grand piano in the Assembly Hall. Or stories that still resonate today, like Serena Dandini’s recalling the injustice behind the arrest of Roberto Mander, 17 when he was arrested for “complicity in the bombing of Piazza Fontana”; decades later, he agreed to be interviewed for the film. Or summoning before the school a person considered by many to be the most famous Fascist provocateur, Beppe il Roscio, and find him a changed man. Then the students of today, caught between the future and a past which is foreign to
them. What else? I also attended Giulio Cesare.