Gli ultimi a vederli vivere

Last to See Them
Sara Summa
2019

10.02.2019 19:00 Eng. subtitles Delphi Filmpalast
12.02.2019 22:00 Eng. subtitles CineStar 8
14.02.2019 19:30 Eng. subtitles Colosseum 1
17.02.2019 17:30 Eng. subtitles Kino Arsenal 1

79 min. Italian.

The Durati family lead an idyllic, secluded life in the middle of the countryside, surrounded by olive groves. Their daily routines are not particularly spectacular, although the eldest daughter is soon to be married and each of the family members is preparing for the wedding in their own way.
The film makes no secret of the fact that father Enzo, mother Alice, daughter Dora and son Matteo will not survive the coming day. The knowledge of their imminent demise changes how the viewer sees their everyday actions, their plans both big and small. The fragility of life shines through and it almost feels like everything is slowing down. The smallest events are shown from different perspectives, lending them greater significance. The editing, music and tracking shots make the inescapable end appear like a trancelike countdown. Death and manslaughter are common film themes. By concentrating so radically on the “before”, Sara Summa tells the story of a brutal crime in an entirely unique way. Gli ultimi a vederli vivere is much more a tender tale of life than one of death. We’re the last to see them living. (Anna Hoffmann)

Sara Summa was born into an Italian family in France in 1988. She studied film at universities in France, Italy and the USA, including the Sorbonne (Paris) and Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island, USA), as well as the Rhode Island School of Design (USA). Since 2013, she has been studying Film Direction at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB). Gli ultimi a vederli vivere is her first feature-length film.

Time slipping away from us

The set-up is minimalistic: one house, one day, four characters. The members of the family move around the property and we follow them without any real purpose. GLI ULTIMI A VEDERLI VIVERE does not tell a story with a beginning and an end. The film resembles a trance. The contemplative pace doesn’t leave much room for critical distance: we are swept along in the flow from one character to another, from one room to the next, one action to the following. Time sometimes folds back on itself when the perspective changes, but the day goes on – it is the rhythm of everyday life. And, bit by bit, the rules and mechanisms that govern the family’s dynamics reveal themselves. The characters become more defined with every scene, their relationships materialise on-screen and we discover their singularity. But little psychology is involved. Rather, the film offers a plastic experience. The emotions that accompany the protagonists’ individual life journeys manifest in their bodies, their pauses, their physiognomy, and in the landscape that surrounds them.
The arbitrary death that expects the characters at the end of this day binds together the banality of everyday life and the singularity of existence. At the core of my reflection for this film was the characters’ final appointment with death, which mirrors our own end, often unexpected yet always certain. By making the viewer a witness to these interrupted lives, the film throws special light on the events of the day and especially on the dimension of time, which is always passing and slipping away.
I am also fascinated by the members of this family, whose choices and actions are anchored in the values of religion and tradition. Theirs is a soothing yet distressing mode of going through the world, one which offers a lot of security but does not leave much room for individual freedom. The conflicts that the characters are faced with reveal both the contradictions and the ambiguous power of a conservative family model.
In spite of the rigidity of their world, which is turned toward the past, on this day all four characters project themselves into their own future. The film’s evolution relies on this dynamic – until the evening, when death arrives and interrupts everything. I am particularly touched by this interrupted momentum. The film is a portrait of life as a series of propulsive desires that move us forward. (Sara Summa)

Production Cecilia Trautvetter. Production company Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (Berlin, Germany). Written and directed by Sara Summa. Cinematography Katharina Schelling. Editing Sara Summa with the help of Valeska Grisebach. Music Ben Roessler. Sound design Michael Holz. Sound Ben Roessler, Fabio Fusillo. Production design Camille Grangé. Costumes Gabriella Martino. Make-up Chiara Marotta. With Canio Lancellotti (Renzo Durati), Pasquale Lioi (Matteo Durati), Barbara Verrastro (Dora Durati), Donatella Viola (Alice Durati), Massimiliano Bossa (Tommaso), Mauro De Felice (Mr. Amalto), Michela Imperatore (Giorgina), Samantha Lioi (Mrs. Melfi), Rocco Martino (Hunter), Antonio Martino (Hunter).

World sales Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin
Premiere February 10, 2019, Forum

Films

2013: Late One Night (7 min.). 2014: Ricordi, la spiaggia / Remember, the Beach (10 min.). 2015: Contre les bonnes mœurs, la vie / Against Common Decency, Life (19 min.). 2016: Vers l’océan / Toward the Ocean (21 min.). 2017: Große Erwartungen / Great Expectations (4 min.). 2018: Mes amies / My Friends (37 min.). 2019: Gli ultimi a vederli vivere / The Last to See Them.

Photo: © Katharina Schelling