Deepest Sardinia and the cinema

The land of the Barbagia, around Mt Gennargentu, is the ancient, intimate heart of the island. This is the Sardinia described in Grazia Deledda’s books, with its archaic rites transformed into folklore, to its family struggles that are handed down through the generations. Some have laughed, like Mario Mattoli in 1952 in his “Vendetta… sarda” with Walter Chiari, reconstructing a cardboard Sardinia at Cinecittà. The Renaissance of Sardinian cinema starts with Vittorio De Seta, who shot “Bandits of Orgosolo” in 1961.
With an astringent, essential style, almost like a documentary, the director traces life in a rural world with precise rules and unchanging codes of behaviour.

Barbagia

The shepherds in the film are all amateur actors. After this first step the island has been described by other film makers. In 1966 a wonderful Ugo Tognazzi stars in a battle of honour between families (the feud) in “A Question of Honour” by Luigi Zampa. Another film-reality was “The Tough and the Mighty”, shot in 1969 by Carlo Lizzani in the Sardinian countryside with the singer Don Backy in the lead role. In a dry, neorealist tone the director attempts to reconstruct the story of the seperatist bandits.
But then there was a pause and over thirty years went by before a new generation of directors rediscovered this part of Sardinia.
One is Giovanni Columbu who set his “Arcipelaghi” (2001) in Ovodda with the story of a fourteen year old lad accused of murdering his brother. Or “SOS Laribiancos-I Dimenticati” (1999) by Piero Livi, hingeing on the events in a family feud. In 2003 Salvatore Dereu, who was born in Dorgali, made his cinema debut with “Three-Step Dance”, filmed in Sardinian and set in the heart of the Gennargentu. In the same year Piero Sanna directed “La destinazione”, the story of a carabiniere (policeman) from Emilia who is posted to the Barbagia.



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