Umbria in Celluloide

ITALY, 2017, 63’

Director: Riccardo Palladino
Screenplay adapted by: Riccardo Palladino
Production: Riccardo Palladino, Lara Brucci, Luca Ricciardi


For centuries, every year on September 8 myriad swarms of winged ants have been arriving on the Mount of Ants. Similar to clouds obfuscating the sky, these small insects mate in a wonderful flight followed by the death of all the males, which fall exhausted onto the yard of the church rising on the mountain top, once called “Santa Maria Formicarum”. The mating flight blazes out like an ecstatic apparition before the eyes of the curious, of tourists and the faithful, who arrive here every year to admire and to celebrate this feast dedicated to the “Virgin of the Mount of Ants”. This singular event is the starting point for reflection within the film, which asks questions about the small insects’ nature and that of human beings. Great writers like Nobel Prize-winner Maurice Maeterlinck and entomologist Carlo Emery have studied them a lot: their words echo out again, nowadays, in the voices of witnesses in the film.


Umbria in Celluloide

Riccardo Palladino

Riccardo Palladino was born in Terni (Italy) in 1982. He studied at DAMS in Bologna. He works as a filmmaker, has written several essays on cinema and teaches cinematographic language in various Italian schools. He directed photography for Daniele Segre’s film Vestiti di vita (2004). His first medium-length documentary Brasimone (2014) was selected in competition at Visions du Réel, at the Bellaria Film Festival (Gianni Volpi Award), at Visioni Fuori Raccordo (special mention), at the Trento Film Festival, at DMZ DOCS, at the Perso – Perugia Social Film Festival, and many other festivals.