100+ YEARS OF THE GREAT ITALIAN MOVIEMAKERS
Cinecittà Studios announced today that a new chapter of the infamous Rome film school, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, will open in the ancient stone city of Matera, located in the region of Basilicata. So I thought this would be a good time to share a thoughtful commentary by author and journalist Sergio Ragone whose work we have featured often throughout the years. He writes about the coronavirus pandemic and how it impacted his region and what must be done to continue the progress the Lucani have made in the past decade to build and promote Basilicata.
"In the ancient heart of Basilicata, there is the future of Italy after Covid 19."
There is an Italy that the narrative of this pandemic has cut out, useless to deny it. It is the Italy of small villages, of provincial cities, far from the red areas and from Milan that has lived, lives and suffers because of the Coronavirus. It is the Italy of small communities, of often forgotten places, which does not enjoy highly innovative services, roads and where the human element is the main element of resistance. Resistance to all the negative things that globalization has produced and that has cut this Italy out of the world. And there is an Italy in the South which, despite its excellent performance, is not told as a model for managing the emergency. We are talking about Basilicata, one of the first regions that recorded 0 in the number of infections and which, thanks above all to the adoption of healthy and respectful behavior by its inhabitants, is showing patience and intelligence in the fight against the invisible enemy. This Basilicata was the land of the 2019 European Capital of Culture, Matera, and is today the ideal place to build a safe and necessary restart to restart the engine of the national economy. Of course, mistakes have also been made in Basilicata and unfortunately many families mourn the death of women and men torn away too early by the virus' fury; just as the economic crisis that threatens to wipe out the legitimate ambitions of many people, companies, innovators and young people who had laid the foundations for a life project to be built in this piece of the South, but photography is making itself felt Lucana of these days bodes well for a passing of Phase 2 and a return, albeit slow, to a much desired normality. The Lucanians are well aware that the game is not over yet, but they have decided to manage the game and not allow the opponent to take too much field. It's not easy, but they don't give up on it.
Why isn't there a story about this positivity that doesn't hurt? Why, as always, the beauty and goodness of the Italian province is never presented to the world with all its strength and brightness? On the day when we still read terrible news of deaths and the number of infected is not so low as to let us breathe a sigh of relief, what is happening in Basilicata instead can be an example, a model to export and replicate in the Italian regions. The land of the Sassi of Matera and the boundless beauty of the sea that bathes Maratea and the Ionian coast, great cinema and successful television fiction has shown, once again, that it is only by adopting healthy, respectful behaviors and overcoming all selfishness that the most difficult challenges can be faced. It is not the first time this has happened, although this is the first time that we have all faced the risks and dangers of a pandemic; the Lucanians have already been able to demonstrate responsibility, tenacity and resilience on many other occasions in history, even the most recent.
In the region of the two names and the two seas, everything still has a genuine flavor, each word has a weight, each community has been able to preserve its memory and has treasured it. The green and yellow of its fields are authentic, just as they should be: all this not thanks to fortuitous coincidences but because the result of constant, daily work, the effort of the hands and the sweat of the forehead of those who live on the edge of dreams and it never gives up. These virtues deserve a stronger light, a bigger stage, an unprecedented visibility. This story deserves a story that goes beyond the stereotypes of shame that becomes a world heritage site and goes beyond that idea of peasant civilization, of which you are not ashamed, but talk about the progress, the innovations practiced, the talents that have blossomed here and have written important pages.
Italy today needs the ancient heart of Basilicata, it needs its virtues and its people to rebuild, regenerate, start again. There is a possible future that is being born in the South, let's not let it fade once again.
Watch my 2018 documentary, "Return to Lucania," which offers a look at the socioeconomic evolution of Basilicata through the cinema made there.
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