“Primo Levi’s Journey”: A long journey through Nazism

“Following the route that Primo Levi took from Auschwitz to Turin, it was as if his writing were our own. In the evening, we would read The Truce and relive the sensations we felt during the day”, said Davide Ferrario at the presentation of his latest film, Primo Levi’s Journey (La strada di Levi, in competition in the Cinema 2006 section), which will have its public screening at 5 pm in the Sala Sinopoli and be released theatrically in January, 2007.
In the documentary, Ferrario and writer Marco Belpoliti travel the same route that Primo Levi travelled, sixty years earlier, on his way home from Auschwitz to Turin, crossing through all of Eastern Europe. The film reconstructs Levi’s adventure, presenting the conditions of modern-day Europe: the remains of the Soviet empire, Chernobyl, Neo-Nazi gatherings and poor immigrant villages.
“The place that effected me the most,” said Belpoliti, who co-wrote the film with Ferrario, “was Chernobyl. We went there twice, Ferrario wanted to sleep there, but we were against it. It is a sorrowful place, not so much because of the nuclear plant, but because of the city, which was abandoned and has remained stuck in the Soviet era. I felt the same way about the crematoriums in Auschiwtz”.
“I think this film can go to cinemas and remain there,” said the director, “even if it is not a documentary on current events. It was a challenge for me, but then so was After Midnight, which did very well”.
“I worked on Levi for 15 years,” said Belpoliti, a scholar of the writer’s work. “And I decided to make this film in order to be done with him. As soon as editing was completed, I went to Turin, I walked to Corso Re Umberto 75, where he used to live. I stood in front the building and was tempted to go in and see the stairwell from which he killed himself, but the door to the building closed in my face. That is where I said goodbye to him. It felt like I had accompanied him home”.


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