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Physical education ground he talks about

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Among the latest screenings scheduled in the General Public section of the seventeenth edition of the Rome Film Fest, we also find, on Friday, October 21, Physical Education, a new film by Stefano Cipani, former director of My Brother Hunts Dinosaurs. The film, based on the play La Palestra by Giorgio Scianna and whose screenplay bears the signature of the D’Innocenzo brothers, will be released in theaters next year by 01 Distribution.

With Physical Education, Stefano Cipani addresses extremely topical and delicate issues that are all enclosed in a single theme, that of assuming one’s own responsibilities. The film, which is somewhat in line with The Word to the Jurors and the better known Carnage, is entirely shot in a single space: a school gymnasium. As for the composition of the cast, we can therefore find names from the Italian cinematographic scene of some importance such as Claudio Santamaria, Angela Finocchiaro, Giovanna Mezzoggiorno, Raffaella Rea and Sergio Rubini.

Court of Credit: Gianfilippo De Rossi

Synopsis Physical Education by Stefano Cipani

The parents of three students, Cristian, Giordano and Arsen, are summoned by the director to the gymnasium of a provincial college because they are held responsible for a very unfortunate event that has taken place within the walls of this place . The three boys are accused by a classmate of collective violence. This news is quite shocking and that parents will find it hard to believe and accept. The gymnasium at this precise moment is therefore suddenly transformed into a kind of courtyard. Here begins a fierce trial in a stubborn attempt to deny and hide the truth. In fact, a perverse mechanism is triggered in which even the parents, like the children, instead of assuming their own responsibilities will constitute a herd in order to save their children. This behavior will then lead at some point in the meeting to an even more serious event which will complicate things extremely.

Photo credits: Gianfilippo De Rossi

The reflections appeared during the filming of the film

At the end of the PE, a precise question arises: “what would I have done?”. These are some of the thoughts that emerged during filming. Claudio Santamaria (Cristian’s father) says: “I was immediately struck by the screenplay for its theme, its direction, its dialogues, its development. Having a unique environment was a very important creative limit for me. But it is the classic limit that makes imagination and creativity fly. We also had the chance to shoot in sequence. And as if it were a theatrical performance, we experienced the emotions of the characters in sequence. […] When you make such films, you are not only called upon as actors, but also as citizens, human beings and parents. The first question I asked myself was ‘what would I have done in such a situation?’. Because we have staged characters who reach the extreme limit of decency. This gym has also become for us a symbol of the world around us. It was a very special and intense acting and human experience”.

Following Sergio Rubini (Arsen’s father), on the other hand, we approach the theme of the parent-child relationship and educational institutions: “it seems to me that this film, in addition to putting us to the test asking questions, represents a sample of how our society has changed. Because the institutions have lost their authority. I think it was also a great intuition to have a woman interpret the role of authority, the most fragile part of society. Our Italian evil is familism. There are those parents who try at all costs to save their children, but they do it in a totally selfish way because in reality they want to protect themselves. There is a kind of individualism and selfishness that pervades the whole story”.

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