The subterranean world is like an inverted mountain, or like the void left by the buckling of the earth to form mountains. How can we not think of the Dantesque image of the Earth which, horrified by the angel Lucifer, violently hurled by God’s will and thrust into the centre of the planet, rises to form the mountains of Purgatory, in order to escape contact with Satan? It is not by chance that the XXII Film Festival della Lessinia’s thematic tribute to the underground world opens with Francesco Bertolini’s 1911 blockbuster, L’inferno, which marked a revolution in the history of Italian cinema. The Festival will screen the copy restored by the Cineteca in Bologna, accompanied by a new soundtrack, composed and conducted live by the jazz musician, Mauro Ottolini.

 This is the first of two world premiere musical events that the Festival will present within its tribute to the world below. The other, a collaboration between the writer Paolo Di Stefano and the singer Etta Scollo, recalls the tragic events of Marcinelle, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the explosion in the Bois du Cazier mine, where 262 people lost their lives. To mines and miners that the Festival will devote an ample programme, beginning with the opening film, Behemoth, which juxtaposes extensive reportage on the terrible conditions of life (and death) of Chinese miners, with a metaphor of the three Dantesque cantos: the Inferno of the mines, the Purgatoryof the hospital beds where their consequences are treated,  and the Paradiseof the phantom city of Chinese metropolises, a mirage of life for which many are prepared to work in abysmal conditions, and where many die.   

The Festival will also screen works by two masters of Italian documentary film, Vittorio de Seta and Luigi Di Gianni, the stories, respectively, of the Sicilian sulphur mines and of the cult of the stones in the caves of the Abruzzo region. Within this investigation into the relationship between grottoes and men, and the rituals in which caves are the theatre of the dawn of humanity, the Festival will present Pascal Mangontier’s spectacular Le Deriner Passage, with images filmed in the renowned Chauvet Cave, the site of rock paintings dating to 36,000 years ago.

To subterranean exploration, the Festival devotes three thematic strands. The first comprises a trio of works which, in the panorama of speleological films, are particularly attentive to the relationship between the underground world and man’s irrepressible desire to reveal its mysteries. They are L’abisso,by Alessandro Anderloni, narrating the eighty years of exploration of the Spluga della Preta in Lessinia, Sótano, byMarco Preti, which traces the singular figure of Giuseppe De Coriolis, and another exceptional rarity, Siphon 1122, which in the 1970s documented the descent into the Gouffre Berger, more than 1000 metres below the surface, with a solemn soundtrack of organ music. The second thematic thread focuses on the narration of adventure, and naturally includes Henry Levin’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the most fascinating among the numerous films that inspired the book by Jules Verne. And, finally, one of the most brazen film achievements in Italy, that of Ciro Ippolito, who in 1980 succeeded in securing the rights to shoot Alien 2  - Sulla terra, an “apocryphal” sequel to the much more famous Alien by Ridley Scott. A true, retro “splatter film.”

Elenco Completo