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A maze of wood and metal sheeting, huts, meeting places, bars, orthodox and Pentecostal churches built among rats and rubbish. It’s the platz, the largest shanty town in Europe, on the banks of the river Stura in Turin.
By December 2014 this place will no longer exist: a multi-million euro project funded with public money and managed by a network of territorial organisations has been working for months on evacuation project that is meant to be agreed by the shanty town inhabitants. The intended outcome is to transfer the families into houses with the aim of embarking on a social integration process that should ultimately provide them with an education and a job.
But only half of the platz’s inhabitants will be entitled to rise up out of their social invisibility, and to do so, to be accepted on the project, they must agree to knock down their hut, themselves. A cathartic gesture that pronounces the disappearance of this non-place under the blows of an axe, separating those that are about to leave the settlement from those who will remain; prey to an uncertain and dramatically transitory fate.
River Memories describes this unique project which can’t help having a major social impact, a path towards social emersion that nevertheless involves political tensions and family drama.
We were born and live in this neighbourhood, just a few yards away from the shanty town. Over the years, on the River Stura, in front of the vast IVECO factory, we’ve saw the wood grow along its embankments. These huts grew in number, just a few yards from our homes, until there were hundreds of them. We’ve walked the maze of narrow alleys as volunteers, to do some cleaning in the camp, or to accompany a few families we had got to know through film-making and life. We’ve heard, in more recent years, the devastating effects on the health of the village’s inhabitants and on the whole neighbourhood, owing to the hundred fires lit for heat: burning wood mixed with dioxins and solvents produces dense smoke.
We happened to find out about the imminent disappearance of this universe, and we didn’t hesitate: it had to be told.
In 2012, with a group of friends and film enthusiasts, we set up a space, “The Small Cinema – Mutual Film Assistance Company”. The space is not far from the shanty town.
In concordo nella sezione "Documentari" ai David di Donatello 2015-2016