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Per Franco Indovina

by Roberto Andò

Certain photographs that I have kept portray him whilst shooting Salvatore Giuliano by Francesco Rosi. Pictures that were then given to my mother by Enzo Sellario after the Montagnalonga accident and are as clear and ineffaceable as the memories we preserve in our own minds: enchanting, elegantly cultured, restless, inquisitive. Personally, as the memory of him is indelebily tied to my youth, those pictures represent a talisman and what I visualize is a natural flaneur of being part of 'cinema' and the countermark of a noble genealogical tree from which the films he has left us descend from. Rosi, de Sica, Visconti (who was his theatrical assistan) and naturally Michelangelo Antonioni, teacher and friend, accomplice and companion during an existence which was too brief and has inevitably left us with the customary regrets and a feeling of incompleteness and tragic severance. It is not easy to speak about a person whom we have loved in a mysterious manner, frequented both in intense and fleeting moments, which to me, as retrospectively I would have followed his profession, seem to be irreversibly propitiatory. One summer, when he decided to give Soraya a 'feeling' of his place of origin roaming around the Sicilian seas on Marco Ferreri's boat, we spent a long time together. I used to visit him with my parents and spend endless days in his company. I had already decide to do what subsequently I would accomplish, and during that time he proved to be extremely kind, helpful and enchanting. Life often presents us with delicate cerimonies, during which there is an exchange of gifts which only later are revealed to us in their true meaning. It makes one quite dizzy to think that this ceremony has revealed Lorenza's artistic destiny, who, with his same smile, has become an actress, intense and amonst the best. Also perhaps accomplishing, with great strength required by her profession, a journey towards that feeling of darkness, of the unknown but at the same time so familiar, which also involves a delicate and daring search for a father who has unjustly been taken away from her and her sister Francesca, and who was so loved and suddenly absent, but eternally present within that mythical beam of someone who left home with a smile, never to return. But why is this homage, dedicated to him by Felice Laudadio, director of the Taormina Film Festival, so deserving? It is because cinema in general goes trough its own singular memory cycles, and apart from posthumous rediscoveries, revaluations and repairs, all complementary to a natural predisposition of the oblivion, it is satisfied with living in the present. Furthermore, Franco Indovina was a director who could not eccentrically be labeled; frequenter of dissimilar environments, from black comedy to the grotesque, existential plots to the unknown Middle Ages of 'Tre nel Mille', appropriately privileged for this venture. Eccentric were also his collaborators, starting off with the actors involved in the film which will be shown in Taormina, Carmelo Bene, Giancarlo Dettori and Franco Parenti, who merge the dreamy and physical vitality of the Theatre with the visionary pace of what I consider to be his greatest film. It is not easy to try and imagine what kind of film he would have made after the remarkable Tre nel Mille, wher the Dark Ages become an occasion to visulaize a passage of post-history, full of pietas and humour. His filmography outlines the portrait of an intellectual, fascinated by different tones of voice, dissimilar directors, also unknown within our most common stylistic pack, from the most inaccessible areas of story-telling and attracted by great actors such as Sordi, Tognazzi, Gassman, Mastroianni. The image of a chrysalid has often been used to descibe his work and never has such a description been so accurate as in this occasion. As always, even in a dramatic way, in cinematography what is inside the picture as well as what has remained on the outside seems to blend in a tormented and lucid manner. This is just one other parable in which Franco Indovina will reflect a special light which will last through time.