Salina Doc Fest, Giovanna Taviani’s assessment: how to tell the story of cinema in the Homeric islands


By John

A strong, visceral bond that unites Giovanna Taviani, daughter of Vittorio and granddaughter of Paolo, in Salina, pearl of the Aeolian Islands. An open-air set for many films that have made history and from seventeen editions home to the Salina Doc Fest, the event founded and directed by the Roman director which ended on Sunday. «Woman Beyond Borders» this year’s theme, with the focus on women in cinema. A “call to arms”, as its creator defines it, in which directors, writers and screenwriters narrated the reality and language of cinema from a new angle.
«We started with a tribute to Agnès Varda – says Taviani – pioneer and only woman of the Nouvelle Vague, which she anticipated Godard, Truffaut, Resnais. We then remembered a great “disobedient” of literature, Goliarda Sapienza, whose posthumous novel “The Art of Joy” (Einaudi) inspired Valeria Golino for a Sky series, written with Francesca Marciano, one of the greatest living screenwriters (member of the jury, ed.). To close with a tribute to Rosa Balistreri by Isabella Ragonesewithout neglecting the focus on “Women and Iran” represented by Firouzeh Khosrovani».
So the woman protagonist more than ever, together with the island of Salina which is a place of your heart, where you filmed the documentary «Escapes and landings».
“Absolutely yes. We remember that September 16th was the first anniversary of the killing of Mahsa Gina Amini and we from the Malfa square joined the appeal of all Italian squares for Mahsa. I couldn’t help but dedicate this edition to women on a female island like Salina, which is precisely the Mother Island, the Green Island. In “Escapes and Landings” I talked about those places from the director’s point of view. They are islands that I have been frequenting since the age of four, because there is the family home of my father and my uncle. I gradually became an islander, because I started to stay there more and more, even out of season. Places to which I am also linked as an actress because at 13 years old, in dad and Paolo’s film “Kaos”, shot in Lipari, I played Pirandello’s mother as a child who threw herself from the pumice. I invented this festival with Antonio Pezzuto and Mazzino Montinari precisely to be able to share the privilege I had in getting to know the island of Salina. It is therefore a place of the soul, not just a holiday place. As I said a few days ago, islanders yes, isolated people no. I feel much less alone here in Salina than in Rome. Insularity is not isolation.”
The Salina Doc Fest has also hosted great directors in previous editions. One of them, Nanni Moretti, had stayed in your family home…
«When he was 20 years old, Moretti came as a guest of dad and Paolo, because at the time he was a follower of their films, and he slept with us in the large room with the bunks. As films he had only made “Io sono un autarchico” and “Ecce Bombo”. After many years he returned for the festival, directed by that little girl who has now grown up, with “My mother”, together with other international guests.”
The Aeolian Islands have been a natural set for cinema, from Antonioni to Rossellini and De Seta up to Moretti himself and Troisi. What peculiarities make them ideal places for big screen stories?
«They are Homeric, epic islands that we cannot find anywhere in the world: very close and all different from each other. Rossellini arrives on the island of fire, Stromboli, and says: “I could never have imagined something like this!”. They have an imaginative, Homeric potential, and it is normal for a filmmaker to be struck by them, as in the case of Vittorio De Seta who decided to tell the story of the lost world of fishermen and the eruption of the Stromboli volcano in “Islands of Fire”. The greatest directors who have shot feature films, such as “Stromboli (Land of God)”, “L’Avventura”, “Kaos”, “Il Postino” and “Caro Diario”, have decided to set their stories in a scenography that is unique, in the sense that you can’t find anything better.”
A summary of this edition?
«Satisfied and repaid. Never like this year has such a large audience. The festival has become very big in every way, for better or for worse. Very big means great success, but as the festival grows, sponsors and funding should increase, which instead remain at the current state. The Iranian director Firouzeh Khosrovani said something wonderful to me: “Thank you for creating a human festival”. This was my mission: to create a human community that resists. Let’s stay human!
In Giovanna Taviani’s projects, in addition to another edition of the festival, a fiction film about a great woman of myth who lives again today.