L’aria salata: First Italian film in competition
The first Italian film presented in the Cinema 2006 competition of the RomeFilmFest, L’aria salata by Alessandro Angelini, was well received by Italian critics. In the film, Fabio (Giorgio Pasotti) is a young educator who works to reintegrate prisoners into society. In jail, an encounter with Sparti (Giorgio Colangeli) forces Fabio to face a family past that he has erased, as well as confront his sister Cristina (Michela Cescon).
Angelini, Pasotti, Cescon, Colangeli, Katy Saunders, screenwriter Angelo Carbone, composer Luca Tozzi and Carlo Macchitella and Donatella Botti (of RAI Cinema and Bianca Film, respectively) described how the project came to be at the press conference.
“I felt the need to portray the relationship between this father and his son,” said Angelici, “emphasising the social aspect of the story and intensifying the negative aspects of a process that leads from rancour to love. The film’s uniqueness lies in setting the family crisis in a prison. The social aspect comes from my experience as a volunteer in a prison. The point of view is a unusual one. We didn’t explore the psyche of a prisoner, but that of his family, which is torn by the attempts of the main character (Pasotti) to reconcile with his father and the desire of the daughter (Cescon) to leave behind a painful past. The two main characters move in opposite directions: he looks to the past while she is projected into the future. She will soon become a mother and wants to create her own family”.
“My character,” said Pasotti, “has to face a situation he thought he’d overcome, a return to childhood traumas. He lives with conflicting emotions and has to go back and forth between his father and sister. My character’s interior conflicts do not allow him to live peacefully. I found it very difficult to enter into this role, none us could dip into our own pasts because, luckily, we haven’t lived through such traumatic experiences”.
In commenting on her role, Cescon stated: “The father’s arrival is an overpowering return to a past my character does not want to relive. She loves her brother like a lover and for the first time suffers because there is no longer harmony between them”.
One of the film’s most praised actors was Colangeli, who said: ”I researched life in prison, even though the story centres entirely around the emotions my family lives outside of jail, torn apart by my incarceration. My character is hardened, he’s lost all ties with the outside world and wants to make a new life for himself and have a child. The prison setting intensifies the father-son relationship, to the point where their roles become inverted”.