Mary of Nazareth pagan, wild and feminist. Barbara Alberti: “I wanted to tell a Madonna who smiles”

Photo of author

By John

It swoops on Turin Film Festival a Mary of Nazareth never seen before, pagan, thief, wild and feminist and above all a woman who is not at all happy with her fate and does not fail to say to God himself: “Why me?”.

It is the Gospel according to Mary, the new film by Paolo Zucca with Benedetta Porcaroli and Alessandro Gassmann, based on the novel of the same name by Barbara Alberti, who also wrote it together with Paolo Zucca and Amedeo Pagani. «I wrote this book in 1979 with the sole purpose of making the Madonna smile. She is always represented as an absolute servant who by fate will only have to cry and give birth without knowing a man.

In short, the instruction given to the women was to cry. I believe that we women can be something more than a figurine of pain” Barbara Alberti explains today. Out of Competition at the 41st Torino Film Festival, the Sky Original film, produced by La Luna, Indigo Film, Vision Distribution, features a young Maria in Nazareth where everything is forbidden to her, even learning to read and write, a real hell for her who dreams of escaping as soon as possible on a donkey like the prophets do to discover the world.

After knocking out every suitor she finds in Giuseppe (Alessandro Gassmann) a master of wisdom, but their marriage is chaste, while he secretly instructs her, preparing her to escape. But here’s an unexpected obstacle: Mary and Joseph fall in love. They are about to abandon themselves to passion, when the angel of the annunciation ruins everything. The fact is that God’s plan and Mary’s plan do not coincide.

«First of all this is a love story. An asymmetrical, fragile love that is born and evolves in unpredictable and unprecedented circumstances. A love so tenacious that it challenges destiny, divine will, death” says the director who shot the film in the most ancient places of Sardinian culture, also using the local dialect instead of Aramaic. «We tried to evoke – explains Zocca -, through the extraordinary archaeological and anthropological heritage of Sardinia, the common Mediterranean matrix of ancient agro-pastoral civilisations».

«I play Giuseppe – underlines Gassmann – outside the classical mold: he is a lonely, cultured man who has traveled and finds it difficult to communicate and, with this girl, resolves his existence. I firmly believe something that my father supported, that women are superior to men and that if they had been in power we would have had a better society.”

The difference between the feminism described by Barbara Alberti in her book in 1979 and that of today? «Back then he wasn’t a crybaby – says the writer -, today we protest, we only talk about women, but then they kill us anyway. It’s a whiny and inconclusive feminism.”