Europa Cinema > 20:15


Michelangelo Frammartino


Thursday 29/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

The camera captures  little  of  what is real. Or at least so the viewer might conclude after having seen Il dono, the beautiful film by Michelangelo Frammartino. The film relates the intersecting stories of an old man and a young girl with extreme economy of means. We know nothing about these  beings except that they live in the village of Caulonia in Calabria.
Nevertheless, we would be foolish to limit ourselves to this observation. The director, by his own admission, ventures a story of surfaces yet ends up bringing out the truth of places. Despite remaining outside, on the thresholds of houses, he manages to penetrate their intimacy.
The village is there. Like the one in Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us. With the same apparent hostility. The same barking dogs. The same steep terrain. The same verticality. And above all, the same movements: an apple rolling down a terrace here, a ball hurtling down the street there. Frammartino forges ahead, taking risks to impose what resists and to attain what, through laziness, we forget or simplify. Time, for example… In this case, the plural form would be more fitting since the filmmaker wants to capture these co-existing moments. Rather than submitting to the dictatorship of action, time accompanies a myriad of tiny changes. Il dono shows us variations of life, reduced to gestures yet substantiated by its own depth…
We come to understand the harrowing loneliness of the old man who sees his animals disappear one after the other and who, before leaving this earth, has nothing left except concern for his neighbour. By giving her a scooter, by giving her back her freedom, he acknowledges that he has been moved. The mystery (of a feeling,  a gesture, a landscape, a film) has this beauty in that it is sometimes combined with giving. As Frammartino (who chose this title as a tribute to Derrida) reminds us, the gift is not the same as an exchange because it asks for nothing… This is what so deeply unites the pair, the world and this cinema: an absence of concession, the desire to offer without expecting anything in return, a matter of choice. No question. No answer. Simply an invitation – for the girl and for the viewer – to receive and go forth.

Yannick Lemarié

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen., M.: Michelangelo Frammartino. F.: Mario Miccoli. Scgf.: Giuseppe Briglia, Ferdinando Ritorto, Nicola Ritorto. Int.: Angelo Frammartino, Gabriella Maiolo, Valentino Audino, Pasquale Umbali, Romilda Macrì, Cesare Calipari, Maria Vozzo, Vincenzo Sangregorio, Francesco Frammartino, Angelina Alvino, Ilario Lucano. Prod.: Letizia Dradi per Santamira Produzioni, Coop. CA.RI. NA. DCP. Col.