The dream of an united Italy

The third day of DocPoint offered something I’d never expected. The documentary “Suddenly, Last Winter” (http://www.suddenlylastwinter.com/) told a never before told story about two Italians; Luca and Gustav.

What made this story so unique that it had never been told before in Italy? Of course the fact that Luca and Gustav were and are an item. It was amazing enough to see the movie, but like an extra edge to the documentary was the surprise the event offered us viewers. Truly unexpected, we found Luca and Gustav, the makers of the documentary, among us in the audience. Later on, after the screening, I felt like I’d met big time movie stars. Such a thrilling feeling. They did it perfectly, running up to the stage and staying with us to talk about the documentary. And that is something that is sure.

This documentary will awaken discussion wherever it is being showed. No need to add that I loved it. So what made it so special? In the end, this was just another story about the life of two persons. But what makes this documentary so special and furthermore important, is the theme that in other countries has been discussed more or less, but in Italy has remained untouched by cinema. Even Luca and Gustav had to say after the screening that they are now the first famous gay couple in whole Italy. That sounds incredible, coming from a country where the taboo has become something ordinary already years ago. After seen the movie, I felt like doing a test. Since I know so many Italians, I wanted to know what they felt about this documentary.

This documentary that is circulating now in Europe, will come out on DVD soon, and arises appreciation wherever it is been showed. Funnily enough, the Italian comments were usually “this is a theme that doesn’t concern me”. I thought that was ironic, since I just came back from seeing an Italian documentary and heard the makers say that they fought to realize the production since it’s a topic that no movie maker in Italy would touch. How could this theme then not concern an Italian, if we are talking about a phenomenon present in the Italian society? I thought it was important to test this also among Finnish guys. Do they think in the same way? I must say that I was surprised to see so many Finnish guys at the screening, but unfortunately that does not represent the average Finns, because I got similar answers also from Finnish guys.  

“The topic is not of my interest”. “I have nothing against it, but that doesn’t mean that I want to see it”.

I guess not everybody has dealt with this matter yet. Some prefer to just shuffle it under the rug and I guess hope that it will disappear. But I think history has proven it several times that this is not the kind of matter you can choose to see or not. It exists; therefore we need to understand it.

The documentary is made in the best possible way; by having an insight in this couple’s life and following them around as they fight against the prejudices in Italy. Luca & Gustav themselves explained that they had lived in a certain kind of bubble their whole life since none of their family members or friends had any problems with their sexuality. Therefore they had just assumed that the common way of thinking about homosexuality was positive in Italy. Way were they wrong.

The comments you hear in their documentary are shocking. Shocking how anybody can still believe such things, in year 2009. Some opinions really haven’t changed in 20-30 years. The funny part is that most of the people saying silly things were young, so these opinions weren’t even theirs but somebody else’s. Probably their parents. Luca & Gustav mentioned the effect of the TV, and I must admit that I was astonished by the quantity of TV Italians watch per day. I believe the average hours of watching TV per day is three when it comes to Finland. I remember reading during my exchange period in Italy that the same number for Italy is six! Six hours per day! That means that if an average person sleeps eight hours, she/he is awake 16 hours of which he/she watches TV for six! That’s almost half the time awake. Incredible. So I definitely think that Luca & Gustav have a point there.

The power of the TV is strong in Italy. Nevertheless the quality of the shows ran in Italy is below average. I remember not being able to watch it more than 10 minutes, hehe. Well my issues had mostly to do with the women on it, but still. If something, like in Luca’s and Gustav’s case homosexuality, is put in a bad light on Italian TV, this will form people’s opinions. The media is a deceiving force. Especially for those who do not have a personal connection to homosexuality. Without going too deep into this subject, about which I can speak for hours, I want to finish by saying that I think it is a pity that in a country as big as Italy, there is not room for alternative thinking. Somehow people feel that they have the right to judge others and decide whether or not they should have children, get married and so on. It’s a shame. As a nation, Italy has so much potential, but it continues to be contradicting and neglecting. Maybe one day we can realize the dream of an Italy for all, not just the ones that represent the mainstream.

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