Alberto Fasulo presents his take on Counter-Reformation in Menocchio
by Camillo De Marco
- The sophomore effort by the director who won at the 2014 Rome Film Fest with TIR is taking part in the International Competition at the Locarno Film Festival
Menocchio [+see also:
film profile], the new film by Alberto Fasulo, recounts an incident set in Italy at the time of the Counter-Reformation. The documentary director who in 2014 made his feature-length fiction debut with TIR [+see also:
interview: Alberto Fasulo
film profile], which won the Golden Marc'Aurelio Award for Best Film at the Rome Film Fest, now returns with his sophomore effort, which is in the International Competition at the upcoming edition of the Locarno Film Festival.
It is the late 1500s. The Roman Catholic Church feels its authority is being threatened by the Reformation, and so wages the first-ever systematic ideological war by a state in order to take complete control of the faithful’s conscience. The new confessional, devised around this very time, is transformed from a place of solace for the soul into a court of justice for the mind. Listening, spying and reporting one’s neighbour become mandatory practices, and the punishment? Excommunication, prison or being burned at the stake. The main character, Menocchio, is an old, stubborn, self-taught miller from a small village in the middle of nowhere amidst the mountains in Friuli, and he decides to rebel. Wanted for heresy, he refuses to listen to the pleas of his friends and family, and instead of fleeing or negotiating, he tackles his trial head on. Not only is he tired of all the tyranny, abuse, taxes and injustice; as a man, Menocchio genuinely believes himself to be an equal to the bishops, the inquisitors and even the pope himself – so much so that deep down, he hopes, feels and believes that he can reconvert them to an idealistic utopia of poverty and love.
The cast of the film, written by Fasulo together with Enrico Vecchi, includes Marcello Martini, Maurizio Fanin, Carlo Baldracchi, Nilla Patrizio, Emanuele Bertossi, Agnese Fior and Mirko Artuso. The editing was entrusted to Johannes Hiroshi Nakajima, who previously also worked on TIR, while the director himself took care of the cinematography. The production design is by Anton Spazzapan, the costumes by Viorica Petrovici and the score by Paolo Forte.
Menocchio is being produced by the director through his own outfit, Nefertiti Film, together with Rai Cinema and in co-production with Romania’s Hai-Hui Entertainment (Bogdan Craciun), with contributions from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. It has secured backing from the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund, the CNC ‐ Romanian National Film Center, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission and the Trentino Film Commission.
(Translated from Italian)
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