Film on largest piazza spotlights multi-ethnic Eternal City

A scene from the documentary

ROME -This weekend, Roman movie theatres “Giulio Cesare” and “Barberini” will be screening "Piazza Vittorio," a charming documentary that ran out of competition at this year’s edition of the Venice Film Festival. In the lagoon city, director Abel Ferrara told “La Repubblica” he wanted to show “as in a diary” the microcosm he calls home: Rome’s Piazza Vittorio. 

The "Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele II" dates from 1880 and is Rome's largest public square. Though the vast piazza counts few tourist attractions, its multi-ethnic population and sub-rented places give a better idea of how ancient Rome looked like than the famous ruins do.

 At the same time, the square will soon be more representative of Italy than the image Confindustria keeps promoting around the globe. Piazza Vittorio is where the offspring of well-to-do Chinese immigrants dress and drive more Italian than Italians do as well as home to more affluent foreigners driven out of their old haunts in the historic centre, Monti and Trastevere by sky high rents.

 In Rome’s little Chinatown, Mr Ferrara treats the themes of immigration and conviviality. Besides interviewing native residents and immigrants, Mr Ferrara also gives the word to colleagues Willem Dafoe and Matteo Garrone as to why they also chose to live in the neighbourhood.

 "Piazza Vittorio" has pace and showcases technical bravura: the documentary switches seamlessly between high definition, cell phone video and black-and-white archive footage. One of the interviews takes place in the market hall that has replaced the original, open-air market, the one that featured in the neorealist masterpiece “Bicycle thieves.”

 A burly Egyptian butcher who arrived in Italy more than two decades ago and used to work in the old market eloquently captures Rome’s relationship with immigration, culture and globalisation.

 Together with his crew, Mr Ferrara achieved his goal. He has picked a fine selection of interviewees and, interviewing his subjects from before as well as behind the camera, he managed to get the best out of them, creating a constellation of scenes that are often hilarious.

 “Piazza Vittorio” is the sincere statement of a fine director who is deeply fond of his adopted neighbourhood and its residents.


 “Piazza Vittorio” (2017, 82 minutes)

 Saturday 16/09/2017, 20h30, cinema "Giulio Cesare"

 Monday 18/09/2017, 22h30, cinema "Barberini"

 € 7.00

Ferrara (right) during shooting of Piazza Vittorio