In a gloomy atmosphere some workers leave from the walls, all the sacred pictures of the Saints and all the precious sacred objects. They leave also the big crucifix from the cuspid. The film opens in this way, and is useless to stand out again: nothing gonna change the events, nothing, nor the tenacity of the old priest (interpreted by Michael Londsdale). He tried to save his church since the last minute, but the church is useless. Some unscrupulous furniture movers represented by a demoniac manager, have the responsibility of the move. However, looking at the ruin of the place, where he worked for 50 years, the priest understands that, maybe, the naked walls are more sacred than before: now the walls assumed their true function. And another aspect, maybe less clear, is the doubt of the priest for his decision taken when he was young. “Goodness is stronger than faith” this is the message of the film. Ermanno Olmi, who wrote “Centochiodi” declared that he didn’t want to write fiction film again, in order to completely dedicate himself to documentary, but (luckily for us) with this film he changes idea. And he decided to set his new script in this naked church, which without sacred liturgy seems more sacred and full of meanings. It’s a dismissed and empty church, but is for this main reason that now, and not before, there’s the possibility that it carries out the main function, I mean that, the church will be used for the purpose with which Jesus Christ conceived it: a reception camp for immigrants. The immigrants are “ the real sacred objects of the God temple”, as the director said during the press conference.
Out the images, into the reality! This is the message that the director wants to send. The example of Olmi, is in the figure of the priest, a man alone in the useless church, who doesn’t know if his decision, taken when he was a boy, was right, who however fight for his church but who could find new ways in order to give a true and human charity. A new possibility arriving for the priest: a difference between the human attitude and the priest attitude, the possibility of being a new man at the service of the Goodness. A warning of the director which will not be accepted by that who believe in the liturgy, the only way to change the concept of charity. “If we don’t change the meaning of history, the history will change us” it’s the sentence that close the film, but the director used it also during the press conference, because if he decides to write a fiction film is because he wants to wake up, numb human consciences. He also affirmed that he doesn’t want to give a moral lesson, but he simply invites us to see what we don’t want to see.
Presented “Ineligible to compete” at the 68th Venice Film Festival, in “The paperboard village”, played a lot of great actors such as: Rutger Hauer, Massimo De Francovich and Alessandro Haber. And also the collaboration, when the script was ended, of to Olmi’s friends: the novelist Claudio Magris and Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi (President of the Papal Council for Culture). On the 7th october 2011, the film will come out.
(Traduzione di Silvia Mariani)