PECORE IN ERBA: THE REVIEW

It’s like a series of jokes, but this time they don’t mock the Carabinieri but the Jewish community that lives in Trastevere, a neighborhood in Rome. That’s where Leonardo Zuliani lives, a brilliant xenophobic and anti-semite activist that died in 2006, leaving his companions, friends and all the extremist crews he knew, upset and without a leader.

Pecore in Erba, Alberto Caviglia’s debut as a director, after a long climb through the ranks, begins with fake theme songs of Sky News, an irreverent beginning that marks the mockumentary tone of the movie. Just like what Lercio did (the film-maker doesn’t hide the web influence on the editing of the satire), what is shown to us is a story based of the memories of the enfant prodige Leonardo, since his elementary school years, where he was already able to discriminate his Jewish classmate, but also to enjoy his friends and teachers’ time with a series of sketches which reminds of Itchy & Scratchy of The Simpson.

There’s a permanent feature in Leonardo’s growth, a series of anomalies that psychotherapy can’t cure: the hate and the fear of those strange creatures,  their hooked nose a curly black hair. They’re guilty of the financial crisis, of the usury become legal, of Jesus’ crucifixion and, very probably, there are responsible for the World Trade Center terroristic attacks. Conspiracies and doubts grow freely in the mind of a kid, who lives in a society that denies him anything The movie follows mockumentary’s path and destabilize every social role inverting the healthy logic of the events. After all, his teacher has always loved the drawings in which Leonardo tortured and decapitated his Jewish classmate; after all, Jewish people love to be mocked and the lack of an hostile catalyst like Zuliani is soon noticed.

The film is scanned through ironic frames which tell backward the life of the anti-semite revolutionary, since his first experiments as a demagogue until the invention of a kit for families which contains a lighter, an oil can and a flag with the Star of David (that they must obviously burn).

The world portrayed by Caviglia is active and promotes the sensibility of this evil little genius that, as if he was a cynic Steve Jobs, builds his own superstition empire winning the shyness that made him stay in his room and making him creating new friends: obviously, members of leghisti patrols, crazy plotters and brutal riot clans. As a germ, Leonardo’s  courage and illness to claim strongly his anti-semite hate create proselytes and, even though our heroes is sometimes beaten by anarchists, there’s always somebody ready to help him and to let him growing in his illness.

The scenario that surrounds the main character is shameless. The Roman metropolis feels the space left empty by the neo-terrorist. The chaos is never annihilated. Peers don’t think for themselves. The offensive graffiti are tolerated and promoted. The most skeptical is Leonardo’s grandfather, and old partisan who stares at the new youth from his wheel-chair.

As we’ve said before, the beginning is like a script full of jokes, ironic pills against Israel, ruled magnificently by the director through a series is picture that brilliantly portrays a society with inverted roles. In addition to the contemporary non-reality, there are the voices of international people like Vittorio Sgarbi,  Gianni Canova, Corrado Augias, Linus, Fabio Fazio, Mara Venier, Elio e le Storie Tese ecc., in a period with Zuliani at the top of the show business, in the paradise of enterprise.

The death of a maverick, problematic and charming souls is a media event that leads friends and enemies to picket in squares: the Jewish community feels lost since Zuliani doesn’t offend them, the sells of Arian Water perfume are decreasing and that bunch of crazy people of Lega Nerd sets aside the aversion for immigrants. The death of an improvised leader, strong only because he stubbornly suggested a racial disgust, creates against the odds a union whose basis is not solid at all. It’s a series of fragile set alliances that stimulate a reflection on the theme of the diverse, of the exodus and of the figure of the parent as the indisputable judge who sided with the military fantasies of the children.

By Gianluca Dadomo
Translation by Bianca Baroni
In collaboration with Badtaste.it

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