Friday August 23rd Pupi Avati presented his last work Mr Devil at CinemaCity Ravenna, the film marking his return to the horror genre. Or more precisely, to "rural gothic", as defined by Avati himself, lending a famous term from writer Eraldo Baldini, who was on stage together with him, at his side during the Q&A following the screening.
A full theatre welcomed the fourth Ravenna Nightmare's Festival Premiere. Avati's new film weaves Italian history of Second Post-War Period with politics and peasant culture, surrounded by a fearful and suspenseful atmosphere, between great horror scenes and strong messages, highly appreciated from the audience who greeted end titles with a big round of applause.
While meeting with the audience, Avati soon revealed the difficult path of this movie, which is based on his novel, that received 7 rejections before being accepted by Rai Cinema. The director explains the reason: "Today's Italian cinema is in a big crisis, it produces almost exclusively comedies, with recurring casts and results are often modest. There was a time where many films and genres used to be produced." According to the Bolognese director, difficulty of genre cinema is not to be attributed to box office poor results. And first data of Mr Devil seem to confirm this, considering that it reached the third place among prime-time releases, right after American blockbusters such as The Lion King and Fast & Furios's new chapter.
The film explores many themes, more or less subtly. From the fear of darkness to the terror of loosing political consensus. And then paesant traditions, superstitions and the refusal of the different. Mr Devil thrills with strong and never banal scenes, striking the heartstrings of Christian cult and rural communities, often closed in themselves. And the ending has a little surprise for those who have already read the book.
Arrived in Ravenna "for cowardice - as funnily mentioned by the director - becuase I feel great friendship in Emilia-Romagna", his participation in Ravenna Nightmare Film Fest's Premiere is not due only to the research of a safe place. Pupi Avati revealed infact that he "met Ravenna's mayor to discuss about his project of filming a movie on Dante Alighieri's life". A film that will be based on Trattatello in laude di Dante written by Boccaccio and that will probably see the director filming again on our territory. As Avati said, "it'll be an occasion to test Emilia-Romagna's Film Commission".