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FESTIVALS France / Italy

Delbono’s videophone Fear debuts in Locarno


Delbono’s videophone Fear debuts in Locarno

Who’s afraid of Pippo Delbono? The latest film by the thespian-turned-filmmaker, La Paura (“Fear”, which follows Guerra, shot while on tour in Israel and Palestine, and the autobiographical Grido [+see also:
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), is an experimental documentary-pamphlet made entirely with a videophone. Or, as he calls it, “a video camera that is an extension of my arm”.

Presented out of competition at the Locarno Film Festival (which held a complete retrospective on Delbono), the film – commissioned by the Forum des Images in Paris and financed by France’s Les Films d’Ici – still has no distributor in Italy. This perhaps because Delbono’s country doesn’t come out looking well in the film, and is portrayed as a dark place teeming with stupidity, hatred, re-emerging xenophobia and, obviously, fear.

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Alternating between the private (his own stomach, which “talks” to TV shows against child obesity in which obese medics advise children to play sports) and public (he attends the funeral of young Abdul Abba, killed in Milan for having stolen a packet of cookies, whose death evoked indifference from the Church, institutions and society), Delbono shows the symptoms of a society in crisis. “They often ask me abroad what’s going on in Italy, which is precisely what ties the film together,” says the filmmaker.

His indignation is sincere: “This is a shitty country of racists and fascists,” screams Delbono at Abdul’s funeral, as an incredulous Carabiniere, who seems to have stepped right out of a commedia all’Italiana, looks on. However, his targets – and there are many, including hunting out foreigners to the homeless on the streets – are sometimes a bit facile. But why bother shouting invectives from Dante over [amateur talent show] Corrida? There is much worse to be seen on Italian television.

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(Translated from Italian)

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