In Italy at the end of the 16th century, the Catholic Church embarked on a hunt against reformation heretics, who dared challenge its omnipotence. The church's confessional became a gossip booth, where one could denounce neighbours and enemies, and the punishment for doubting the church was merciless. This is something that the impoverished miller Menocchio came to experience. Accused of heresy, he faces a religious court, but the stubborn man insists that he is worth just as much and has as much right to his opinions as his God-appointed judges. 'Menocchio' is based on old legal texts, and the striking fact of this simple film is how contemporary the whole discussion sounds, at a time when many people again try to patent the truth. The dialogue is razor-sharp, and almost trimmed of all unnecessary layers of fat. And so are the images, which are shot in candlelight.
The Italian Mafia is a favourite film topic, and the self-taught directors - and twin brothers - Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo give us their own take on the genre with their very own raw sensibility for close drama. The Mafia is all-pervasive in the lives of the two young men Mirko and Manolo, who after an accidental traffic killing are adopted by the local mob! The boys bring with them very little luggage from their own upbringing. They are hungry for action, and with their youthful indifference towards pretty much everything - apart from fast money and sex - they are easy prey for the cynical masterminds. The D'Innocenzo brothers deliver a tearaway debut, which drills deep into Italy's underworld and its devastating effect on society. Meet the directors at the screening on 30 September.
Italian Day is presented in collaboration with The Italian Culture Institute and Cinecittà Luce.