Private Emotions, Public Events

in 6th International Film Festival Bratislava

by Margarita Chapatte Lopez

The Bratislava International Film Festival presented the movie Private, in the Official Section. The movie was previously awarded with the Golden Leopard Award and the Best Actor Award (Mohammad Bakri) at the 2004 Locarno International Film Festival. Private was the debut of Italian filmmaker Saverio Constanzo, a name we should take into account in the world of the new European cinema. He is a young man, born in 1975, interested in the personal conflicts caused by wars. His movie is based on a true story of which he was a witness.

Private tells the story of a family: the father, the mother and their four sons, their ages ranging from 6 to 17 years old, that live right between a Palestinian town and a Jewish settlement. They try to lead a normal life: they work, go to school and meet at home at night. But one day, the Israeli troops take over their home. The family decides to stay together in the same area, since the father, a peace advocate and teacher, doesn’t want to move away or surrender. The troops that take over their home will have to live with them, starting a relationship between all of them that affects every member of the family in a different way: curiosity, violence, peaceful resistance and fear.

The director said he is far more interested in showing the emotions in that house than in the political conflict. This lack of a political point of view, might cause a certain uneasiness in some members of the audience. So his camera is more a witness, an eye that moves around the actors. The movie was shot with a handheld camera, which brings a sense of claustrophobia, taking the audience from one side of the house to another, making us feel the same emotions as the main characters. If sometimes that can cause certain confusion, the truth is that this realistic approach is frightening and takes the pain and suffering of every character to a deep level hardly ever seen in movies today.To achieve that sense of realism, the director hired mostly Israeli and Palestinian actors, and since for safety and logistical reasons it was impossible for the crew to shoot in the actual locations of the event, Mr. Constanzo decided to shoot in the Calabria region, in the South of Italy, where the light and scenery are quite close to the ones that can be found in Palestine. The cinematographer took advantage of that and paints the screen with a wonderful array of colors and emotions.

Margarita Chapatte