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An actual a poetic metaphor of Europe – Oral-History – Contemporary Society – Literature –  Long-Term Observation

              ...
Messina
– The film

          “...
Messina” is both a contemplative cinematographic voyage in, and critique of, one of Europe’s most significant sites. 
The sea between Scylla and Charybdis has presented many challenges - in reality, dreams, myths and policy-making - from ancient times to the present. 

One of the focal points of the film is the book "Horcynus Orca" by Stefano D’Arrigo: translated into a foreign language for the first time (Editor Fischer Verlag), forty years after its first edition in Italy. The German press, fascinated by this epic tale and the richness of its language, defined this book as the last masterpiece of the twentieth century. The translation by Moshe Kahn was awarded the Italian-German Translation Prize in 2015. Translated publications will follow in the USA and in France (Éditions Le nouvel Attila).

Another important focal point of the film is Messina’s contemporary policy-making sector. It is a large Sicilian city at the periphery of the European Union governed by centrist parties for decades. Pervaded by corruption, mafia infiltration, appropriation by family and party lines, and questionable procurement practices, the city government was placed under the administration of an external commissioner and, in 2013, a “minority major” was elected with great expectations: Renato Accorinti. For the past 40 years he worked with anarchical energy for human rights, the environment, non-violent society, participatory democracy, and respect of the common good, starting with the weakest in society, and worked against the Straight of Messina Bridge and the mafia. Supported by the movement “Cambiamo Messina dal basso”
(“Let’s change Messina from the ground up”), his administration deals with land degradation and resentment of the local population surrounding growing social tension and the dramatic numbers of refugees arriving from Northern Africa.
And thus the focus expands to the European Continent and the Mediterranean Sea: Messina was one of the places that most contributed to the birth of the European Union. Sixty years after the “Messina Conference“ the opportunity appears to reflect critically on the conditions in the periphery and the obvious contradictions of such complex systems: the European Union appears paralyzed on all levels of administration by its own bureaucracy and convoluted regulations.

As director, Benjamin Geissler observed the current living conditions in Messina from divergent perspectives: with 60 shooting days and insert materials collected between 2013 and 2015, he draws an ambivalent picture of this urban landscape on human, historical and symbolic dimensions. The quotations from the novel Horcynus Orca, conversations with the translator and impressions from Sicilian readers are interwoven with statements of the local administrators and voices of citizens from different social backgrounds. Thus the images of the seas between Scylla and Charybdis become a literary and political metaphor of the "trans-position": from one culture to another, from connections between history, politics, and territory, to the upheavals of the current social situation between traditions and the challenges of tomorrow.
       “…
Messina” is a multilayered cinematic narrative, creating links between past and present, real and symbolic interpretations of reality, and opens up compeling questions about the future of the Mediterranean region.

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Appreciations

Really impressive Story; in my opinion exactly the kind of European film, we need now: concrete, on-site, reassuring, not postulating but developing values out of the subject matter.
Martin Hagemann, Film producer and Professor of Film and Television Production at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF

I watched the movie at once, and it was truly gripping. It is the same type of real-life fiction that inspires novels. Not to mention that absolutely great D’Arrigo.
Claudio Magris, recipient of the Erasmus Prize, Prince of Asturias Award, Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, visiting professor at the Collège de France

I finally watched your movie – and I am glad that I waited for a quiet and concentrated moment to do so. Because the pictures clearly depict the fictional world of D’Arrigo. The necessarily vague contours are given a clarity I felt I was living in for moments. 
And without being able to precisely analyze and describe it, I had the impression that the rhythm of your movie transferred the book’s often dominant prosaic rhythm to a new dimension. 
A commentary, an intellectual debate – and at the same time a “realization” in the medium of pictures.
I am very grateful to you for this.

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Professor of Literature and Comparative Literature, Stanford University, California, USA, visiting professor at the Collège de France

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Featuring – Contributors in order of appearance:
Moshe Kahn
Translator, Berlin
Ivana Parisi Sociologist, Messina
Renato Accorinti Mayor of Messina
Antonio Le Donne City Director Messina
Mario Reader of Horcynus Orca, Messina
Pier Paolo Zampieri Sociologist, Messina
Prof. Gaetano Giunta Physcist, President of the Horcynus Orca Foundation, Messina
Pietro Cirone Pensioner, Messina
Luigi Sturniolo Local Polician, Messina, Nizza di Sicilia ME
Prof. Girolamo Lo Verso Psychoanalist, Reader of  Horcynus Orca, Palermo
Paolo Pagani Fiumefreddo CT
Prof. Paolo Jedlowski Sociologist/Philosopher, Università della Calabria, Rende CS
Prof. Guido Signorino Vice-Mayor of  Messina, economist
Giovanni Rotondo Pensioner, Torre Faro – Messina
Anna Monastro Employee, office of the Mayor of Messina
Alessio Ciacci Director, Liquidator Messinaambiente, Capannori LU
Prof. Antonio Maria Perna Culture Senator of Messina, Sociologist, Economist, Reggio Calabria RC
Salvo Trimarchi Bookseller, Messina
Gaetano Cacciola Senator for Mobility, Ernergy, Innovation, Municipal Police, Messina
Bus driver ATM, Messina
Resident Giostra-Alta, Messina
Fisher boy Grotte, Messina
Vittorio Condurso Boatman, Lega Navale Italiana - Sez. di Messina
Gigi Spedale Culture-Producer, Messina
Clelia Marano Social Worker, Messina
Protester-choir Messina
Pier Ferdinando Casini UDC, Chairman Senate Foreign Committee
Mohammed Refaat President of the Islamc Cultural Center, Messina
Vincenzo Floridia Noto SR
Massimo Camarata School Occupier, Messina
Filomena Romeo School Occupier, Messina
Mohammed Aguennouz Vice-President of the Islamc Cultural Center Messina
Prof. Lucia Risicato Criminologist, Uni. Messina
Giovanni Forestieri Newsstand, Messina
Man Messina
Imam Messina
Procession Carrier of the "Madonna of the Letter", Messina
Antonio Tavilla Leader of the Procession Carrierr of the "Madonna of the Letter",  Messina
Chor Universität Messina "Ode to Joy"
Stefano Lanuzza Florence
Trainer Migrant occupied School, Messina
Oarsmen Lega Navale Italiana - Sez. di Messina
Giuseppe Spadaro Coxswain, Lega Navale Italiana - Sez. di Messina
Cecilia Caccamo movement “Cambiamo Messina dal basso” (“Let’s change Messina from the ground up”), Messina
Benjamin Geissler Hamburg
and many others

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Credits

Idea, script, cinematography, cut and effects
Benjamin Geissler

Sound
Patrizio Celano
Gigi Spedale
Benjamin Geissler

Producers
Benjamin Geissler, Germany
Gigi Spedale and Vincenzo Tripodo, Italy

The novel HORCYNUS ORCA by Stefano D'Arrigo is published in the original by Rizzoli (RCS Libri S.p.A.)
HORCYNUS ORCA is published in German translation by Moshe Kahn by S. Fischer Verlag, 2015
HORCYNUS ORCA was translated
into English by Stephen Sartarelli
into French by Monique Baccelli and Antonio Werli, Éditions Le nouvel Attila
into Spanish by Miguel Angel Cuevas

The quotes from the HORCYNUS ORCA were read in 3 language versions by
Bernt Hahn
– German 
Antonio Gullo – Italian 
John Reed Middleton – English

German and Italian subtitles by 
Benjamin Geissler
English subtitles by
John Reed Middleton 

Production 
Benjamin Geissler Filmproduktion
, Germany and MARVIN BROS Film Production s.r.l., Italy
realized in cooperation with Regione Siciliana – Sicilia Film Commission:

  and 

Thank you to
Maurizio Acri, Moshe Kahn, Stephen Sartarelli, Bernt Hahn,John Reed Middleton, Giuseppe Cardullo,
Monique Baccelli, Antonio Werli, Miguel Angel Cuevas
CITTÀ DI MESSINA for the free patronage, the choir of the Università degli Studi di Messina
la Lega Navale Italiana - Sez. di Messina, Boatman: Vittorio Condurso, Coxswain: Giuseppe Spadaro, 
Oarsmen: Antonio Fiannacca, Andrea Rotondo, Nino Neri, Roberto Manganaro
and all those who make the realization of this film possible

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Locations

Messina • Province of Messina • Reggio Calabria • Province of  Reggio Calabria • Berlin • Hamburg

Technical Characteristics

Germany / Italy 2016, Länge: 139'15" Min., Farbe und s/w
Original format: Digital Full HD 1920x1080, 16:9, Stereo
Other available formats: DCP, DVD, VoD
Available LANGUAGES
English version: subtitled with spoken English Literature quotations
German version: subtitled with spoken German Literature quotations
Italian version: subtitled with spoken Italian Literature quotations
– optional versions: French and Spanish

Distribution:

Benjamin Geissler Filmproduktion

Grandweg 90 B

D-22529 Hamburg

Tel.: +49 - 40 - 551 66 82

Für weitere Informationen: info(at)benjamingeissler.de

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