“I take my leave as I see you succumb to slumber; and go to furnish you with the fine dream I promised you”.
It might well be, just as Leopardi imagined the spirit telling the imprisoned Torquato in the famous dialogue, that words have no other goal but to render life less onerous. Indeed, just as it was for Leopardi, kept secluded in the family residence in Recanati – albeit delivered via the iconography of the 20th century – words have the power to transport helpless man, destined for unhappiness, to somewhere else. Beyond the fence and then some. One has only to be careful not to impose limitations on those distant horizons through definitions. As the poet Leopardi was well aware, words possess a special power when they remain suspended between their inclination to be the precipitate of images (real or invented) and the indefinite derived from convention. Words both speak and evoke at the same time. Every word resonates in two modes: between speaker and listener there is an unbridgeable gap that lies at the root of every form of storytelling.
Curiously, since it was not planned that way, but was rather the result of coincidence and different intentions, the program for this second edition of L’immagine e la parola revolves around the theme of dreaming. That intangible thread which connects the here and the elsewhere, reality and fantasy, desires and needs, vibrates throughout the selected films: in the visual phantasmagoria that anticipate the artistic avant-gardes in L’Inhumaine just as in the desire for flight that drives the protagonists of Piccola Patria; in the protagonist’s painful process of realization in L’amore molesto in bustling Naples; as in the nineteenth century so meticulously recreated by Reitz, who continues his extraordinary project of
recounting a country through the affairs of a particular family. And indeed it is Jakob Simon, the protagonist of the latest Heimat, who embodies
this thought better than any other. Like an ideal projection of Leopardi, although born into a family of farmers, Jakob too is a “giovane favoloso”, whom words enable to take wing and in them find a world he can inhabit. The words with which the young Simon falls in love convey the sounds of another world. They are heard before they are understood. Like a piece of music.
And just like music, film too sublimates words and images. And perhaps it is no coincidence – at least not for us – that this art of the real in the
aftermath of a new millennium lends itself not so much to reproducing that which exists, as to what might be imagined possible.