Movie of the day: Il signore delle formiche


Italy 2022, Director Gianni Amelio with Luigi Lo Cascio, Elio Germano, Leonardo Maltese, Sara Serraiocco, Running time 134’ Kavac Film / 01 Distribution

Gianni Amelio, the director of Il ladro di bambini (1992), Porte aperte (1990, Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film) and Le chiavi di casa (2004), is back to Venice where he won the award for best director in 1994 for Lamerica and the Golden Lion in 1998 for Così ridevano. Amelio was also a member of the Venice jury in 1991 and 1992 (and in Cannes in 1995). He won the Silver Ribbon in 2017 for Best Movie and Best Director in 2017 for La tenerezza. This year runs again for the Golden Lion Il signore delle formiche. 1968: Aldo Braibanti, writer and myrmecologist (he studies ants behaviours), is accused of psychologic plagiarism. The accusation was covering the real reason for the trial: his homosexuality.

«NIn 2014, while working on the documentary about homosexuality in Italy from fascism to the after-war period Felice chi è diverso, I searched archives about Braibanti. I realized there was almost nothing but some ironic stuff about his interest in ants. Then I wanted to come back to a case that synthesizes how dirt, uncivil and unfair was our country during those years», Amelio told Ciak«I consider “Il signore delle formiche” a very contemporary story because there are still many restrictive areas in Italy and even some institutions, such as the school system, for example, gather a lot of uneducated young people and develop verbal and physical bullism against who is “different”. The movie is not about the story of Braibanti in that specific time but about encouraging those that today are powerless and helping them to come out of the closet. I fear thinking about young homosexuals, men and women, and teachers from any grade facing those fierce parents scared by the idea that their children’s minds could be seeded a deviation». Ettore, Brabanti’s supposed victim, was put in a psychiatric hospital by his parents, even if he was older than 18. He received several shock treatments to cure him by the Marxist ideas that were the consequence of a presumed evil influence by Braibanti. A journalist of the communist newspaper L’Unità (Elio Germano) tries to reshape the truth, facing suspects and strictures. Braibanti is played by Luigi Lo Cascio who, as Amelio says, «did ha great job. I worked with Germano for the first time in La tenerezza. There are also six absolute beginners. Among them, Leonardo Maltese, who plays Ettore. I love mixing newcomers with experienced and talented actors».

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