Federica Araco - 01/01/2014
After the success at the Film Festival of Locarno and International Fİlm Festival in Ferrara, “Indebito”, the movie of Andrea Segre with Vinicio Capossela arrives in Italian movie theatres. The latest work by the director of "Io sono Li" and "La Prima Neve" tells the dramatic situation on the notes of the Greek rebetiko, which has always been a symbol of marginalization, poverty, exile and rebellion.
Following in the footsteps of “rebetes” of yesterday and today, Segre and Capossela interrogate the fate of a country that, over the abyss of a deep economic and political crisis , reveals an incredible dynamism capable of mixing poetry and social commentary with an extraordinary and drammatic intensity of those who have nothing to lose.
"Those who will become prime ministers, will all die. The people are running after them, for all the “good” things they do. I am applying to become prime minister to sit idly, to eat and to drink", sang Markos Vamvakaris in Osi ginοun prothipοurgi (Prime Ministers) back in 1936. His words, sadly still actual, are echoing in the old ouzeries of Athens, where today this music genre is experiencing a thriving season of rebirth.
Born from the sufferings of the exiles from Smyrna that went to Piraeus in 1922, rebetiko, like fado, flamenco and tango, is a music port and tavern, full of goodbyes and yearnings. In the years of the fascist dictatorship of Metaxas, it was banished for his unconventional and revolutionary nature and its eastern elements.
Among bouzouki, guitars, tzouràs, baglamas and violins, between a glass of ouzo and a ritzina, the "Greek blues" sings of unrequited love, mishaps, excesses, misery, exclusion and pain with alternating rhythms from happy to melancholic melodies, from Middle Eastern scales to more contemporary sounds.
Like a visionary and blind Oedipus, accompanied by his notebook and the tiny baglamas, Capossela wanders the deserted streets of Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and Ikaria in search of a world that has not completely disappeared. "Since a long time I care about this music, not just because of its beauty and its power, but also for the subversive inner energy that it turns on", writes the singer. "It keeps the unconventional parts of ourselves alive, like the dignity, the aversion to compromise. It slams against the truth without being afraid of it. It's not that it gives courage, it’s that it takes away the fear of pain, makes of it a friend, a companion."
All around the venues continue to close and dozens of inscriptions on their closed down shutters denounce the irreversible degeneration of the country that is the symbol of the cradle of Western civilization.
"Today’s crisis is more about identity than economy. It’s about separation, disorientation", says Segre in the director's notes. "The European cultures have been sold off with the pursuit of wealth and consumption. We were made to believe that liberation from material poverty coincides with the escape from ourselves. Today living again the poverty without ourselves is an unsustainable vertigo."
After the failure, after the Austerity, a new social class is emerging in the contry which is not very different from that of rebetes of the past: these are the new poor, the marginalized, the abandoned, animated by an impotent rage against the economic elite, and the politics that’s corrupt, violent and deaf to the needs of the people.
"At that point everyone becomes responsible, or in the words of De André, we are all involved," Capossela writes in the author’s notes of the film. Because, he says, "the real political choice today is not playing rebetiko, but listening to it."
To see the trailer and the calendar of the projections:
Documentary 2013, 84′
Script: Vinicio Capossela, Andrea Segre
Director: Andrea Segre
Translation from Italian by Övgü Pınar