You’ve most likely never heard of this one before, but it can’t come recommended enough. A film made by Mara Consoli, with absolutely no budget and entirely shot using a handheld camcorder, this Italian documentary might be one of the most affectionate, warm and inspiring stories to have ever been put on screen. Vittorio, Capitan Pistone e Tutti gli Altri is indeed a revelation.
The hour-long documentary by Mara Consoli tells the story of the filmmaker’s father, Vittorio, a vibrant man who is hit during the last years of his life by Alzheimer’s disease. Vittorio’s daughter, refusing to let this difficult time break her, grabs a camera and records the last months of Vittorio’s life – his interactions, his sorrows, his fears, the love for his family. Vittorio is a man full of life, an eccentric character, a legend. But what mainly makes him such an engaging subject is his romance. This is an incredibly loving and passionate man whose love for his wife and children are stronger than any disease’s symptoms.
In fact, his interaction with his wife is something very hard to describe. Tears mix with a warm smile when one watches the aged couple together, as they kiss, hug, laugh and look after one another even under the most difficult circumstances. In one scene, Vittorio cries while singing along to an Italian song at the top of his lungs. When his daughter asks him why he’s covered in tears, he replies that he’s crying for his wife who has gone away for a few days and who he misses terribly.
At the same time, the disease often forces this very gentle and romantic man to lose his temper. The fear of the unknown, the confusion that he has found himself in and the constant struggle with recollection causes him to surround himself with imaginary friends and enemies. One of his opponents is Captain Pistone, a puzzling figure, sometimes just a competitor, others, a real adversary. Whenever Captain Pistone threatens to attack his family and kill his wife, Vittorio loses it. Other times he lets him have it, making clear that this is his house and his family and he’d better stop all his threats and mind his own business.
Mara Consoli puts everything in this documentary and delivers a film that is human and tender. The scenes and conversations are personal and honest, the people are loving and the feeling of sadness that overcomes the audience gives way to romance, love and compassion. Solutions in order to fight this disease and to make their beloved one feel safe and comfortable are found based on experience, and they are the result of unconditional love. No information is given to this family, everything they have to make up as they go. But no one gives up on the others, and they make a film together…
The documentary’s purpose is to inform, to raise awareness, to offer support to other patients and their families, to have fun, to pay tribute, to make the best out of a bad situation. Together with this film, a blog was put together by Mara Consoli in order for people with a relative suffering from Alzheimer’s disease to interact and offer each other information and any kind of assistance, as well as to share valuable knowledge that they have acquired. Vittorio, Capitan Pistone e Tutti gli Altri is eye-opening. In a world where loneliness and abandonment are the norm, Mara Consoli and her family stop and make the rest of us see, notice and think. Think about all those people suffering, all those people scared and insecure, lost in confusion and in need of our love and affection. At the same time, they make us laugh, they warm us up and inspire us in the most meaningful way possible.
Vittorio, Capitan Pistone e Tutti gli Altri is perhaps the most loving documentary I have ever experienced and Mara Consoli stands out as one of the most daring and noteworthy documentarians of our time, as she fills her work with emotion and turns it into something much more than just a film. She makes real life look like a beautiful fairytale, with romance and love conquering any disease and sorrow. And for this, you just need to see it.
Vittorio, Capitan Pistone E Tutti Gli Altri at IMDb
Vittorio, Capitan Pistone E Tutti Gli Altri official website at capitanpistone.it
Vittorio, Capitan Pistone E Tutti Gli Altri at Biografilm Festival
Biografilm Festival, Bologna, Italy
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