I think that the Berlin Film Festival is the right place for a movie that is not just about Italy but about Europe as a whole.
Because of the story it tells, because of the people who were the protagonists of those events (forty or so German kids, others from France, Spain, Belgium…), because of the actors playing them and the many languages they speak.
And also because the Diaz story describes a very serious vacuum of democracy that occurred in a western country. And we all need to question ourselves about it ».
This is how Daniele Vicari explains his participation in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival to Cinema & Video International.
We meet with him to talk about “Diaz” while he is still involved in the post-production process.
Filmed last summer amidst considerable “pre-emptive” controversy due to the delicacy of the topic, produced by Fandango in co-production with Romania’s Mandragora Movies and France’s Le Pacte, “Diaz. Don’t Clean Up This Blood” reconstructs the G8 in Genoa, from the demonstration on Saturday 21st July 2001 to the police raid on the Diaz school where a hundred or so demonstrators were sheltering, the brutality of the aggression followed by the events in Bolzaneto, where the young people were seized and further brutalized, until the following Tuesday when the magistrate ordered their release.
The movie stars, amongst others, Claudio Santamaria, Jennifer Ulrich, Elio Germano, Paolo Calabresi, Rolando Ravello and Renato Scarpa. However, Vicari prefers to talk about an ensemble film with 130 characters and a number of equally important actors who, in a credible and realistic way, recreate the mosaic of a tragically true story that is told without adding to or changing the actual events.
«We – Laura Paolucci and I – worked on two levels to construct the screenplay: we met with people involved in the events, young people and policemen, and we studied the trial proceedings on which the narrative structure was based. The movie reconstructs the events the way the public prosecutors presented them in court, i.e. not in a linear way, but in blocks that all converge on the facts at the heart of the story, the nine minute police blitz on the Diaz school. Nine minutes, that’s how long the insanity lasted. The days in Bolzaneto were just the necessary, inevitable corollary to those few minutes».
Vicari quotes Calvino’s “The Castle of Crossed Destinies” to explain how the various fragments were slotted together in order to complete the picture.
The movie uses a documentary style, the genre in which Vicari was originally trained and which he has tackled several times, «taking a direct view of reality is my way of making films».
Each one of Vicari’s movies has a realistic background, even those that appear to be extraneous to this genre (“Maximum velocity”, “The past is a foreign land”).
«Every one of my movies contains details of reality, even though I have always used different languages. In this case – the first time I have made a fiction movie based on real events – I tried in every possible way to prevent the news story from overpowering the theatrical language. Also I wasn’t interested in finding sociological reasons for certain behavior. I want viewers to question themselves without any restrictions or prejudices about how, in a civilized country, democratic rights could have been suspended for a few days: this is a fact of such enormity, so unacceptable that it cannot be forgotten (as is happening), but should be remembered and discussed. We have to ask ourselves what were the deeper reasons behind those events that underpin and are fundamental to understanding the catastrophic decade that was to follow?».
Released in Italy on March 2nd, Daniele Vicari hopes that Berlin will give his movie international visibility. It is significant that “Diaz” already has two international co-producers like Mandragora Movies and Le Pacte who have an important participation in the same. «From a production viewpoint,” the director explains, “less than 20% of the financing came from public funding, the rest is private investment ».
Filmed mainly in Romania and partly in Genoa and Alto Adige, the movie was made with the participation of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano- Alto Adige and the BLS.