Out of competition: Siccità / The Matchmaker


  • Siccità
  • The Matchmaker


Italy, 2022 Director: Paolo Virzì with: Monica Bellucci, Sara Serraiocco, Silvio Orlando, Valerio Mastandrea, Elena Lietti, Claudia Pandolfi, Tommaso Ragno, Vinicio Marchioni, Diego Ribon, Max Tortora, Emanuela Fanelli, Gabriel Montesi, Beatrice Schiros, Francesca Turrini, Emma Fasano, Liliana Fiorelli Running Time: 97′

The pandemic has reminded us -among other things -how delicate and essential it is to respect the balance between man and nature. Paolo Virzì’ Siccità, Out of Competition at Venice 79, captures and portrays this fundamental aspect. The film is set in Rome in the near future; the population is plagued by three years without rain. The Tuscan filmmaker, with his longtime colleagues Francesca Archibugi and Francesco Piccolo and Paolo Giordano, writer and author of two essays on our time and COVID-19, wonders about a prophetic scenario. The capital is plagued by thirst and drought-imposed bans, and the characters, poised between fear and madness, lead their existences bound by a mocking and tragic fate. After the intimate journey of Ella and John, presented in Competition at Venice 74, Virzì returns to the Venice Film Festival with a choral film with a star-studded cast. Monica Bellucci, Sara Serraiocco, Silvio Orlando, Valerio Mastandrea, Elena Lietti, Claudia Pandolfi, Tommaso Ragno, Vinicio Marchioni, Diego Ribon, Max Tortora, Emanuela Fanelli and many others are the protagonists of stories that only brush against each other. They are all linked by a desperate condition that smoothes out differences. “A gallery of equally innocent and guilty characters,” Virzì explains, “a frightened, harried humanity, afflicted by the barrenness of relationships, sick with vanity, mythomania and rage, that runs through a city with a glorious past like Rome, which is crumbling and ‘dying of thirst and sleep.'” Luca Bigazzi, director of photography, portrays a sun-drenched, parched, yellowing Rome, in which even the Tiber has turned into a dusty dump and in which the drought is reflected in the very faces of its inhabitants, sweaty but withered in their gaze.

Vania Amitrano


Italy, 2022. Director Benedetta Argentieri. Running time 1h e 28’.

Focusing «the other side of Isis’ women, deconstructing a storytelling brought on both by themselves and the Western media». This is the goal “The Matchmaker”, a purpose openly declared by the journalist and director Benedetta Argentieri. The movie talks about the phenomenon of Western women joining the Islamic Nation without falling into the «stereotypes that want them victims, possibly of a man, or zealots glorifying jihad». The core of the enquiry is the seven hours interview that Argentieri made in a detention camp in Syria with  Tooba Gondal, the girl that fled from London when she was 21 and then known as “The ISIS Matchmaker“. She was very active on social media between 2014 and 2017 and was accused of having recruited at least twelve western women, some of them minors, to let them get married to soldiers of the caliphate. What comes out is the portrait of «a woman who made a radical choice taking the responsibility of this act, even if not completely. And she tried to take advantage of me and my camera as well to avoid her captivity», Argentieri explains. «As a director, I tried to understand without prejudice. I don’t want to give any answers. I just want to tell a story, then the audience will get an opinion». Argentieri analyzed the recent and current situation in the Middle East in previous documentaries, such as Our War (2016, co-directed with con Bruno Chiaravallotti and Claudio Jampaglia), about the international fighters that joined YPG in Syria to fight against ISIS, and I Am the Revolution (2018), the story of three different women fighting for freedom and equality in Afghanistan, Iraq and Rojava.

Emanuele Bucci

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