Istrian Fertilia A film byCristina Mantis
On the threshold of 2021, Fertilia is still a little Istria. Looming over the village are Fascist-style buildings erected by the regime in 1936. These structures, originally meant to accommodate the surplus population of the Ferrarese Authority, were later destined, from 1947 on, for the Giulian-Dalmation refugees. Here the history of the exodus was, in contrast to what was happening elsewhere, a history of reception. That pulse, indelibly traced on the faces and in the stories of figures who, having arrived in Fertilia during that period still live there, is taken by the journalist and granddaughter of refugees, Francesca Angeleri. Francesca, who has travelled Istria far and wide, gets lost here in the streets named after Istrian towns, finding a piece of her own story.
This short documentary film probes the events that, over the years, have accompanied Fertilia since its foundation until now. Like in Magna Istria, this inquiry also follows the “fil rouge” of food. The preparation of Istrian recipes, here often adapted for Sardinian traditions, helps mitigate the difficult undertaking of remembering. As the dishes are made, we hear of the painful exodus and the equally challenging integration of refugees who found a haven here, eventually feeling at home. For, differently from what took place in other locations, in this part of the world the welcome tree took root, favoring integration and rebirth and ultimately making Fertilia a successful example of the meeting of cultures. Here the different cultures, Sardinian and Giulian-Dalmation, Algherese and Ferrarese, reached out to each other to lend a hand, just as they do today.
The story of Fertilia reconnects emotional threads by looking at some of the simplest and most treasured objects that once belonged to those refugees, such as furniture found in a classified ad. Our protagonist’s enquiry takes her to the island, and later to the Memory Museum dedicated to the exodus, where each item resonates with energy from that painful epoch.
Synopsis and Screenplay: Francesca Angeleri, Cristina Mantis, Daniela Piu
Cast: Francesca Angeleri, Marisa Brugna, Paolo Curto, Lidia Demarin, Mauro Manca, Enrico Valsecchi
Production: Gianmichele Manca, Sguardi Altrove, with the support of Fondazione di Sardegna
Organization: Daniela Piu
Editor : Cristina Mantis
Music : Mario Fragiacomo & Mitteleuropa Ensemble
Special Guest: Paolo Fresu
Cameraman: Michele Gagliani
Sound engineer: Daniele Diana
Sound Editor : Paolo Poddighe
Color correction : Alessandro Spanu
Montaggio del suono : Paolo Poddighe
Color correction: Alessandro Spanu