Impact | Focus on Italy
Rome’s largest square, the vibrant Piazza Vittorio, has become the Italian home of first choice for hopeful new immigrants from around the globe. It has also been provocateur filmmaker Abel Ferrara’s base for the past few years, and, here, he turns his camera on the people who share this boisterous, gritty and cosmopolitan piazza with him, among them refugees from Nigeria, Egypt, China and various South American countries as well as elderly Italians bemoaning the changes to the neigbourhood and members of the neo-fascist political party CasaPound. The cascade of voices and points of view—ranging from brightly optimistic to cynical to plainly racist—contribute to a shambolic cacophony every bit as enthralling as the piazza itself. That Ferrara also makes some cutting points about the ongoing refugee crisis and native Italians’ decidedly ambiguous attitudes towards the recent arrivals gives this love letter to his new home an added layer of urgency and a poignancy one might not necessarily expect from the ageing enfant terrible. Featuring cameos from Willem Dafoe and Italian director Matteo Garrone, whose Dogman is also playing in this year’s VIFF.
"World cinema currently has no shortage of documentaries venturing beyond the headlines to examine the… consequences of mass migration. Piazza Vittorio stands out from the pack by simultaneously functioning as a heartfelt, evocative tribute to an atmospheric and fascinating urban neighbourhood."—Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter