Director’s notes

TO THE UNKNOWN GOD

The elaboration of a grief is always very difficult. Sometimes we may allay it, thanks to religion, sometimes through psychotherapy.
Some other times we don’t even realize it’s a trouble to solve and most of the times we conceive it as a sorrow we have to go along with.
The sensation is that who dies, gets into a great mystery, completely closed, behind a door of marble just like those made by Canova for the royal tombs.
Who stays here, is afterwards convinced about the privilege of being alive and keeps on missing his relatives in his “valley of tears”.

“To the unknown God” is the result of a long elaboration born thanks to a professional experience I had at the Hospice in Brescia. In that place I had the chance to see what my movie will talk about. That has been my first important experience with death, but not the only one.
I would like to write about another experience.
One of the most moving things, linked to my father’s death is something happened when I went to the morgue. I wanted to say goodbye so I kissed my father’s forehead, that was very cold. Here’s the sensorial and traumatic experience, the evidence that something had changed forever. That coldness got inside of me taking most of my memory.

A few months later I had invited a South African dancer in Italy to guide a laboratory focused on death theme. Mamela Nyamza is a Xhosa woman, she has a deep cultural link to her ancestors coexistence. Thanks to her I had the opportunity of meeting my father again: we were sitting on a grass, under a warm sun and she told us to think about one of our lost relatives.
I went to visit my father, just like in the situation I’ve described before. This time, when I touched his forehead, it was warm. The sun was hitting on me and in that moment my body was his body. I felt like I was taking a new path for the first time.

I have something more to help me out, that is my daughter Carlotta point of view. She’s six years old an clearly explained to me: “Do you know which is the difference between our eyes and the eyes of dead people? … Dead people can look at us no matter where we are, we can even be closed in a room, alone… because they have special eyes, they can only look at people they love”.

Life gives us the great opportunity to get ready about death starting from the very beginning. When we’re children, we discover the thought that mum and daddy will die someday. In that moment the society closes up the great chance we have, even taking into consideration something like immortality: “No, what are you talking about, your mama and daddy will never die!”. In this way the person, that is deeply involved with the great question of the existence, has no possibility of growing up consciously.

My mother says: “I’ve understood that we don’t die in an instant, but everyday a little more, because few things I had to do everyday… I may now renounce…”. Getting closer to death means approaching another way of being.

At the expense of religions and nihilism here comes the thought of this movie that shows the complexity of the everyday life, of the “all at once”, of the interaction between Death and Life that are continuously pouring from one side to the other without a clear border.
On a “Hic et Nunc” point of view, death is not an ancient memory nor the end of everything, it is a dimension that continuously affects life.