The Creation Of Meaning

****

Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze

The Creation Of Meaning
"Sense of memory, sense of history, sense of time, envelop us like a high altitude fog."

In Simone Rapisarda Casanova's The Creation Of Meaning (La Creazione Di Significato) there is a similarity in the quiet and intelligent celebration to Michelangelo Frammartino's Alberi and Le Quattro Volte or G├Átz Spielmann's mountain initiation short Foreign Land (Fremdland). Sense of memory, sense of history, sense of time, envelop us like a high altitude fog.

We join a group of students in the Apennine mountains for a history lesson about the partisans and hear stories about the Gothic Line, why it was called Green Line by the Germans, and of an Italian kid chased by a German kid before hiding inside a baker's oven. It is up to us to link the past with the present and the future. In the mountains, "it's easier to control from above," the teacher explains. We won't meet these students again, and shadow instead the beautiful brown donkey who leads us to his owner, Pacifico, the hero of this film and a man living alone with his animals in his house built into the rock of the mountains, much in the way his forefathers must have lived.

The present of a post-Berlusconi Italy shows up in the form of an obnoxious political entertainment radio talk show, which Pacifico listens to over breakfast. It is wonderful relief to watch the chickens being let out after the poisonous shouting match on the radio. The state of the country has very concrete repercussions on the picturesque, rocky region of Tuscany. The sound of helicopters over the mountains is always a bad sign. Another man who lost his job jumped to his death. "These are bad times when 30-year-old boys kill themselves," says Pacifico. A purple bug on its back and still alive, wiggles itself free.

A student doing his dissertation on the partisans is a gun specialist and pays a visit during which he inspects Pacifico's bullet collection. The Second World War is never far from the here and now. A group of amateur actors with red kerchiefs re-enact a mountain battle, to put up on YouTube probably. One of the men is wearing a T-shirt inscribed "Manhattan Tribeca". A close-up of a spider, a butterfly, a dead badger, a little lizard, an orange grasshopper and a pink tree louse. Simone Rapisarda Casanova places equal weight on each discovery.

Pacifico has constructed a totally impressive gondola to transport sacks of rubble through the woods. There are great sounds of breaking kindling for a fire. The mountain range looks like a boy's profile. The beautiful donkey is resting. A man from Germany comes with his toddler son, he is the new owner of Pacifico's land and house. For the first time, in this region, the man says "I felt deeply ashamed of my language. For me it is the language of Goethe and Heine." A conversation with a neighbor sums it up: "Now they defend it from high-speed rail, as they did from the Germans."

The Creation Of Meaning (La Creazione Di Significato) will be screening at New Directors/New Films in New York.

Reviewed on: 17 Mar 2015
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An ageing shepherd's livelihood is threatened by the rise of corruption.

Director: Simone Rapisarda Casanova

Writer: Simone Rapisarda Casanova

Starring: Alexander Auf Der Heyde, Benjamin Auf Der Heyde, Siria Battelli, Pacifico Pieruccioni, Bartolomeo Puccetti

Year: 2014

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: Canada, Italy

Festivals:

NDNF 2015

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