The journey, of this new film by Emanuele Caruso, began in February in schools of the Piedmont region of Italy: the first viewers of the film were 8,000 students. At the same time ‘LA TERRA BUONA’ made news on social networks, where word of mouth spread the impressions of those who had attended the sold out previews in Verbania, Cuneo and Alba. In the first weekend alone, the film sold out in all the Piedmont venues in which it was programmed, confirming it as the film with the best ‘average screen’ of Italy (that is, the ratio between the number of theatres in which the film is programmed and spectators present in the hall).
THE CONTEXT OF THE FILM
LA TERRA BUONA tells three stories that unfold around the figure of the Benedictine monk, Father Sergio, who died in 2014 at the age of 83. In over 40 years, Father Sergio had built a large library, collecting over 80,000 volumes, rare and valuable, in the ancient Canonica di Marmora, at 1,580 metres in Val Maira (Cn). A place that, in the film, is transposed to the Val Grande. Today, the library of Father Sergio, valued at about 2 million euros, is a heritage that is likely to be lost. A true story, which is intertwined with that of Mastro, an oncologist fleeing from Italy for his unconventional ideas, and that of Gea (interpreted by Viola Sartoretto), a sick girl who clings to her last hope of recovery, supported by her old friend Martino (Lorenzo Pedrotti).
Among the main themes of the film is profound respect and care towards the land, nature and the environment. On the border with Switzerland, Val Grande is the largest area of wilderness in Europe: a treasure trove of biodiversity and unspoilt places, a green heart that must be rediscovered and preserved. During the film, respect for the environment is reflected in the care and attention that the protagonists nurture for themselves, for others and for the spiritual dimensions of life. The theme of healthy eating is another key topic that runs throughout the film. Today, most of the food sold by large retailers is industrially refined and the food that is consumed does not respect the seasons. In the film, on the other hand, the qualities of authentic and natural foods are valued, produced in particular in the garden of Father Sergio, respecting the rhythms of nature. As in the first work of the director, other strong themes return, such as the close relationship between illusion and hope, the thin border between life and death, the tensions toward spirituality and religion.
Over the course of the story the difficulties in which the two young protagonists move are highlighted: Martino is not able to allow himself emotions or open up to a possible and new lifestyle; Gea has not come to terms with the sudden and severe losses that have marked her and struggles to grow, she still needs protection and, at the same time, to express her creativity that has been repressed for too long. The six main characters – Martino and Gea, Father Sergio (Giulio Brogi) and Gian Maria (Orfeo Orlando), Mastro (Fabrizio Ferracane) and Rubio (Cristian Di Sante) – always move in pairs, so much so that it seems one is not able to act without the other. The characters are strongly suggestive and multifaceted, pervaded by a great strength of spirit and a profound ethical sense: a tension that allows the viewer to establish, with each of them, an immediate empathic link.
The narration constantly breathes culture and art: in that little world there is a great thirst for knowledge that needs to be satisfied. Father Sergio is convinced that the world is self-destructing, because of the heinous choices of man, and his intent, through the creation of the library, is to “save” the good that man has built, thus preserving knowledge and the discoveries and technological innovations that mark the history of humanity.
Before the release in theatres, which took place on the 1st of March in provinces of Piedmont, the Marches and in Sicily, in February, in collaboration with the Piedmont Region, the Film Commission Torino Piemonte and the Val Grande National Park the film was shown in 70 schools in Piedmont, involving about 8,000 students.