A different look at the post-unification South
The phenomenon of banditry in Basilicata and the collapse of the dream of redemption in post-unification Italy are the main theme of the film by Giovanni Brancale Le terre rosse. The narrative is centered on the events of some young ex-Garibaldians who, despite the new national political order, continue to be victims of abuses and therefore attempt an escape route, finding it in emigration or in crime. The film, therefore, gives voice and light to one of the most dark and silent moments of the post-unification reality that has crossed the populations of southern Italy. A project that tries to give a new and different point of view to our Italian Unification and that aims to focus the attention on the daily life of all those who have suffered unarmed the “highest decision”. An independent film whose title enunciates the red of the useless blood shed in our South, the red of love for this bitter land, the red of the jackets that promised freedom, the red of the politics of utopia and finally the red of the passion of those who do not know how to give up and find the alternative. A bold project that challenges the usual and previous filmic and historical literature. But it is also delicate and committed and, while denouncing the real conditions of a South devastated by Piedmontese oppression and political harassment, it does not claim claims, it does not sanctify robbers and does not mortify saints. Remarkable is the interpretation of the protagonist, Simone Castato, who has excellently lent his eyes and voice to Giuseppe Prestone, whose adventure is told in the Lucanian village of Migalli, between 1860 and 1887.
The musical notes are moving and familiar. The film is based on the novel Il Rinnegato, written by Giovanni Brancale, father of the director, and published in 2007: a text that is halfway between the historical deepening and the novel and that the author wrote with the title Avanti, Cristo after reading Cristo si è fermato ad Eboli by Carlo Levi. The director explains vehemently that his project does not claim any revisionist value but that it seeks to bring out the truth of who neither wins nor loses, and to teach the memory of this truth. His is the choice of those who want to tell the reality of a movement that has often represented the only salvation of souls defeated by treacherous and betrayed ideals, without however converging in boring hagiographies.