News from the Locarno Festival

The Madonna of the Marginalized

Fuori concorso – Anatomia del miracolo

The Madonna of the Marginalized



Naples is an inexhaustible source of characters and stories, all extreme in their mixing reality and fiction, dreaming and waking. But despite this exuberance, Naples is a hard city to pin down, and to film: without a precise point of view, one risks getting stuck on the surface like a fly on glue. Alessandra Celesia has found in a Madonna with a bruised cheek the denominator with which to encompass several characters grappling with an unusual relationship between their body and their desires.

There’s the young woman in a wheelchair preparing a thesis on the Madonna, opposite which she lives and in which she has stopped believing. Or Antonino the music obsessive, who finds his personal transcendence in melody. Or the transsexual who trusts in the Madonna absolutely. Or the Korean woman studying music who is fascinated by the background buzz of the city… Their faces and bodies are imprinted with marks of a marginality, either suffered or sought out. Filming them with a proximity that never becomes voyeuristic, Celesia exalts as much their desire for normality as their unique beauty.  Anatomia del miracolo is a fascinating film because of how it goes beyond the coordinates of the documentary genre, abstracting it completely from places and a narration that want to guide the viewer to specific responses. In the film, the miracle is neither a point of arrival nor departure; rather, the subject becomes a membrane that envelops the characters with a particular light, protects them and carries them along to the final sequence in which a song (already heard a thousand times) reveals a further meaning.

Carlo Chatrian

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