Like the white
Based on the poems the Naples painter Adriana Pignatelli Mangoni wrote to her dead daughter, Alessandra Celesia lovingly expresses the intimacy of an unbearable bereavement.
What words are there in everyday language to conjure up such grief? This is less a portrait of the painter than a picture of the task of grieving. Like the artist, Celesia proceeds, stroke by stroke, with a few words from a poem here, a drawing ther and then the golden glow of sunset in harmony with the warm ochre on the tip of a paintbrush. Everything comes back to the loved one. From the plucked flower to the mystical rumbling of a volcano from which wisps of smoke escape like spirits, serenely moving and dancing. The grumbling of the volcano is captured by a young woman whose tender gaze seems to meet the grave face of the painter. Is she a projection of the deceased? Does she represent Adriana Pignatelli Mangoni in her youth? With subtle parallel editing, the faces are superimposed, causing confusion, turning the film as a whole into a timeless space where past and present blur into one. From the darkened intimacy of the bedroom to the majestic spaces of a museum, from a small boat bathed in light to the oppressive basalt of the volcanoes, Celesia documents and maps not the physical spaces but an inner world, drawing closer to the gaping hole left by death. Each fragment of beauty directed towards the loved one brings the promise of reunion, of communion. It’s a breath of life exhaled from a singer’s throat as the notes of Stabat Mater soar to divine heights, pouring onto the world the pain of mothers. And so art can access the sublime when the aesthetic feeling is the experience through which the artist herself can feel alive. (C.L.)
Original version : Italian.
Subtitles : French.
Script : Alessandra Celesia.
Photography : François Chambe.
Editing : Nicolas Milteau.
Music : Jean-Jacques Palix.
Sound : Frédéric De Ravignan.
Casting : Adriana Pignatelli Mangoni, Aurélie de Solere.
Production : Local Films (Kévin Rousseau).
Distribution : Local Films (Kévin Rousseau).
- L’enfant que je serai, 2019.
- Les miracles ont le goût du ciel, 2017.
- Un temps pour danser, 2016.
- La visite – Le théâtre national de Chaillot, 2016.
- Mirage à l’italienne, 2012.
- Le libraire de Belfast, 2011.
- 89, av de Flandre, 2008.
- Luntano, 2006.
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