A mirror to current Italy, is how director and actress Emma Dante describes her debut film ‘A Street in Palermo’.
She plays a frustrated middle-aged lesbian who is driving with her partner through the narrow streets of a poor neighbourhood in Sicily when she comes face to face with the packed car of a Sicilian family driven by a stubborn and grieving widow, played by Elena Cotta.
A stand-off ensues, neither woman will back down and the drama unfolds around them.
Emma Dante summed it up: “This film is definitely a film that talks about humanity, in a general sense, man facing man. Then clearly from there we have a mirroring of society, what is happening in our country in this moment is emblematic of immobility. No one moves, it doesn’t go forward, it doesn’t go backward, but it doesn’t go forward either. Therefore this road that is blocked by two cars creates a jam.”
Despite the tragic ending of the stand-off, actress Alba Rohwacher – who plays Dante’s lover – said she believes the film has a hopeful ending.
“I believe this film is a bit of a tragedy and with a final sacrifice that is liberating because the character of Samira wants to die. With her sacrifice the road opens and Rosa and Clara find their love again. So it is true that there is a humanity that runs to see the tragedy but then, in my opinion, the film, rises up. I believe that it is a film that has a sense of hope,” she said.
‘A Street in Palermo’ is one of 20 films in the main competition at the Venice Film Festival.