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Gianni Amelio recounts the proud and civil dignity of love. The article

At the end of the 1960s, a trial took place in Rome which caused a sensation. The playwright and poet Aldo Braibanti (Luigi Lo Cascio) has been sentenced to nine years in prison for plagiarismthat …

At the end of the 1960s, a trial took place in Rome which caused a sensation. The playwright and poet Aldo Braibanti (Luigi Lo Cascio) has been sentenced to nine years in prison for plagiarismthat is to say, having submitted to his will, in the physical and psychic sense, a student and friend of his who has recently come of age, Hector (Leonardo of Malta). The boy, at the request of the family, came locked up in a psychiatric hospital and subjected to a series of devastating electric shocks, to “heal” from this “diabolical” influence.

Few years later, the crime of plagiarism has been canceled from the penal code. But in reality it had served to accuse the different of all kinds, the outlaws of the norm. Inspired by real events, the film tells a story with many voices, where, alongside the accused, family and friends, accusers and supporters emerge, and a largely distracted or indifferent public opinion. Only a reporter from L’Unit√† (Elio Germano) is committed to reconstructing the truth, responding to suspicion and censorship.

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Two years later Hammametdirector Gianni Amelio he returned to confront himself closely with the history of Italy, telling the story of a highly controversial affair in Italy at the timesignificant of a certain cultural and moral backwardness of the judicial system but also of many discriminatory myopias which can find a place and take root in the family and in society.

That of The ant lord it is a reconstruction that spares no institution, first of all courts and newspapers but not only, updating a parable that can easily go back to our present. Amelio’s style is extremely rarefied and guarded, with a sobriety and a dryness which find in absolute simplicity both elegance and formal power, especially by making the acts of the trials and their monstrous and forced unrealism speak. A story carried out with an always functional firmness to explode, on the contrary, the sentiment and moral dignity of a love affair and a passion that blossomed between a man and a boythe heart of the movie.

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Amelio, in addition to defining this as autobiographical love storyhe personally rejected the label of “film about the Braibanti affair” and there is no doubt that The ant lord does not just immortalize the figure of the title protagonist in its own fascinating angularity of a man devoted to the arts and to the surgical observation of the unique animal of ants. His link with the Hector embodied by the very young Leonardo Maltese – an absolute revelation, which reached its peak in Trial testimony footage: A chilling close-up of several minutes – is extraordinarily evoked, with a a novel of rare delicacy and a circularity that opens and closes the film in the name of poetry clearer and without passion. Each cast thus melts in the eyes of the actors, abandoning themselves to the carnal but modest gaze of the directorwho manages to touch the strength and grace of his best films.

There is no particular trace of anger or resentment in Amelio’s film (also produced by Marco Bellocchio with his Kavac Film), and not even the contemptuous outrage at a great injustice of the past. Dominated a clear and proud, even peaceful storysupported by a pathos which sees in Braibanti a kind of according to Pasolini, meetings with the boys in connection with the mother (the name of the two women was the same: Suzanne), as well as the arrival in Rome from a northern province. Neither the writing nor the excellent playing of Lo Cascio spares us the unaccommodating fervor de Braibanti and his intransigencebut also by returning some the burning passions (from Nietzsche, somewhat denied at that time by the left, in search of a theater made of destroyed syllables, fragmentations, distortions, splinters), the partisan soul, the sincere humanity and cultivated, the paradigmatic value that makes The ant lord a satisfying and rigorous civil melodrama.

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Photos: Kavac Film, IBC Movie, Tenderstories, Rai Cinema

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