The Sense of Places
Borders that unite rather than divide, borders that offer freedom: it is no coincidence that Trieste, the city of borders par excellence, is the home of the bathing establishment La Lanterna, or Pedocin, the only one that uses a wall to separate the men’s and women’s beaches.
It is significant, at a time when walls are once again being built in Europe, that an Italian and a Greek – Davide Del Degan and Thanos Anastopoulos – have made a film together. “The last beach”, that is the title, is about this particular feature of Trieste characterized by a wall which, unusually, expresses ‘secular freedom’, to quote Federico Poillucci, president of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission that supported the movie. So significant hat it has reached La Croisette, where the documentary, a co-production between Mansarda Production (Italy), Fantasia Ltd (Greece), Arizona Productions (France), in collaboration with Rai Cinema, is in the official selection (special screening).
“Being selected fills us with joy and rewards the choices made”, says Davide Del Degan, “Tanos and I casually found ourselves sharing this project about a place that I, coming from Trieste, have known about for a long time and that he, who comes from another distant and differ- ent seaside city, Athens, has known about for a shorter period. So the film is characterized by this double sensitivity”.
Two beaches, two views, even two directors of photography, a man and a woman (Deborah Vrizzi is from Trieste), each dedicated to their own section of the divided beach, because that was the aim, says Del Degan, “to be as transparent as possible”. “We used an observational approach, filming for 120 days, throughout a whole year because Pedocin never closes. There are no interviews, we just followed the dynamics between the people, building a different narrative made up of the multiple protagonists that cross each other’s paths in the course of time, which is actually a cyclic time, that of the seasons that follow on from each other”.
Poillucci emphasizes the concept: “Stanos and Davide first talked to me about this story at When East Meets West in 2014, when they could already count on the contribution to the development of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund.
We were immediately enthusiastic because La Lanterna is a regular symbol of the cultural diversity of Trieste, and the wall does not represent segregation or division, but rather a secular freedom, from a physical and relational point of view, considering that it dates back to 1903, when, for example, wearing a bathing costume was not as acceptable as today. Another very important thing is that nearly the whole crew on the movie was made up of locals, as was one of the two directors of photography, Deborah Vrizzi, and the sound technician Francesco Morosini”.
“We weren’t expecting to be selected for Cannes, and we are very pleased about it. After Oleotto, Zoratti, Fasulo, Gergolet, the golden era continues of what has been defined as the nouvelle vague of Friuli Venezia Giulia”. Poillucci concludes: “There is also another film- maker from our region at Cannes, in
Cinéfondation, Laura Samani from Trieste, the young director of “The sleeping saint”, her graduation short produced by CSC, set and filmed in the valleys of Natisone with our collaboration.”