Fort Bastiani

a film by Michele Mellara and Alessandro Rossi


"Bologna is a sleeping wadding," says the Preacher at the beginning of the film. The torpor produced by this city is not harmless: it displaces existences, redesigns destinies, creates Dante's vortexes in which lives are sucked up, plucked. The student's tragicomedy in the student city is not always funny, it is not always comic or goliardic. For years they live in herds, collectives, small groups, they try to protect themselves like this, they postpone the loneliness of choices always a little further, waiting for something to happen and make them stronger, safer, able to decide. The dive from late adolescence to adulthood, on the other hand, is bitter, not consolatory, and is perhaps the first, unique, true act, performed in solitude. 
Bologna postpones this moment, delays it. While you wait, she swallows you, creates artificial paradises to satisfy your need to be with others, to share everything, from cigarettes to love, from studies to drinking. The same city that narcotizes, fattens and greedily speculates on your life, throwing you into a wild polka, supporting your pursuit of eternal youth.

For a long time we wondered how we could tell this generation, the generation of those who are between twenty-five and thirty years old, how to do it without falling into stereotypes, without being nostalgic and ideological. If we have succeeded, it is also thanks to our tenacity in constantly searching for a marrow of truth in the relationships between the characters, in the form of a story that is that of an epic without heroes, in which good and evil envelop us like molasses, and the temporal dimension precipitates in the absurd attempt to give it a scan.
There are no heroes because the university is an enemy that you can't even face, a place, timeless, eternal. It no longer responds to the wishes and aspirations of the inhabitants of the Fortress, it is an empty simulacrum of a plastered knowledge that no longer finds any way to pass on to the new generations, it is an old power based on a closed and self-referential clientele system, denial of any free spirit and any kind of intellectual liveliness.

We rehearsed a lot with the actors before shooting, we tried to make a credible, close-knit, heterogeneous group. We worked on memory, on the construction of their past. We filled the drawers and shelves of the Fortress with books that have become theirs, with objects that have become fundamental to say a joke, to create a movement, to build a scene.
We have worked in direction never contenting ourselves with pre-packaged solutions, finding for each scene a peculiarity in shooting that refers to the uniqueness of these lives hung by a thread. The fixity of the camera defines the claustrophobic temporal expansion of the Fortress. The machine on the shoulder, fast and darting, looking for margins of unpredictability in the moments when the chorus tries its hand at the action. The complexity of sinuous machine movements articulated around the characters to look for a sky that never appears. The thousand corners to outline the surreal and visionary dimension of the university labyrinth.
And finally the music, not the soundtrack but the heartbeat of the film. A film that viscerally sinking into the reality of Bologna finds, in our opinion, its trait of universality.

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