Italian director Amelio says his new film is a great gay love story – Culture

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VENICE – Italian director Gianni Amelio told the Venice Film Festival on Tuesday that his new film Il Signore delle Formiche (Lord of the Ants), the fourth of five Italian Golden Lion contenders to premiere, is a great story of gay love.

Amelio, 77, born in Calabria, who won the Golden Lion with The Way We Laughed in 1998 and only came out as gay himself during the presentation of his 2014 documentary Happy to be different , said the film told the case of Aldo Braibanti, a gay Emilian poet, writer and playwright accused of psychologically taking advantage of a young student who, at the request of his family, underwent electric shock therapy and stay in a psychiatric hospital. Braibanti eventually stood trial and was sentenced to nine years in 1968.

The case, and the fierce protests it spawned, became a major cause celeb of the era.

“I love this movie,” said Amelio, whose other acclaimed films include Blow to the Heart (1982), I ragazzi di via Panisperna (1987), Open Doors (1989), The Stolen Children (1992), Lamerica ( 1994), The Keys to the House (2004), The Missing Star (2006), The First Man (2011), The Intrepido (2013), Tenderness (2017) and Hammamet (2020).

“I am not happy, however, he continued, not for this work which I consider one of my best but for private things which belong to me, for a love affair which I lived on the plateau, very tormented.

“Maybe the film took advantage of it, I discovered the same frailties of the protagonist.

“In short, it’s about the Braibanti Affair, but above all about the love between a man and a boy, and it has become very autobiographical”.

In the film, with Luigi Lo Cascio in the role of the intellectual from Fiorenzuola d’Arda (Plaisance), the beginner Leonardo Maltese in the role of the young Ettore, a name invented because his family did not authorize the use of his real name, and Elio Germano in the role of Ennio, a journalist from the communist daily Unità who seizes on the trial and wants to tell it without censorship, also appears at a certain point during the protests of the young Graziella (Sara Serraiocco), the face of radical leader Emma Bonino today.

“She was not even in the radical party at the time, she explained to me, but I preferred her face to that of a bit of a player like (late radical leader) Marco Pannella , I was interested in showing how important they were in Italy, how much courage they had, and it was thanks to the Radical Party that the crime of psychological subjugation (“plagio”) was abolished in 1981.” Arcigay’s honorary president, Franco Grillini, was also present at the screening at the Lido.

“The gay question is not resolved,” he said to applause from Amelio.

“All you have to think about is the shameful applause from the Senate when they stopped Bill Zan (which would have made anti-gay sentiment an aggravating factor in gay hate crimes).”

Amelio presented Lord of the Ants a day after documentary filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi presented his out-of-competition travelogue In Viaggio (On ​​the Road) about Pope Francis, saying the Argentine pontiff was a “rock pope” whose fans could rival those of the British. popstar Harry Styles, crazy on the Lido for his Don’t Worry Darling.

Other Italian contenders for the top prize at this year’s festival are the cannibalistic road movie and coming-of-age love story Bones and All directed by Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothée Chalamet; Chiara by Susanna Nicchiarelli; Monica by Andrea Pallaoro; and L’Immensita’ (Immensity) by Emanuele Crialese with Penelope Cruz, during the presentation of which the director presented himself as a trans man on Sunday.

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