Terra dei Padri

PerSo Short

By Francesco Di Gioia
Italy, 2021, 11’

Sunday, Oct. 02, Méliès Cinema, Via della Viola 1, 6:30 p.m.

Director and Editing: Francesco Di Gioia

Sound: Giulio Sereno, Francesco Lilli, Michele Baroni

Director of photography: Vincenzo Marinese

Music: Ziad Trablesi

Voice – Over: Yousri Manoubi

Producer:  Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia


1910s. Poems with alternate rhymes narrate a journey by sea and by rail. These are the verses of Fadil Hasin Ash-Shalmani who witness a historical fact often forgotten: the deportation of numerous civilians during the first years of the Italian occupation in Libya. The short film follows the poet’s experiences and memories using only archive footage, thus subverting the original propaganda function of the images. 



Driven by the interest in investigating the history of Italian colonialism, Fathers Land  took shape after reading Fadil Hasin Ash-Shalmani’s poems. As a Libyan poet deported to Favignana Island between 1913 and 1920, Ash- Shalmani used his verses to give us a rare testimony of an often forgotten historical fact. Although it is mostly based on this testimony, the archival research at the base of the short film-making was not philological. The main intention was to transmit the direct experience of the man, which has been made possible by choosing among a large spectrum of images. Therefore, the footage from different periods and places are mixed, including many films from the Fascist period that leave their propaganda message to depict a pre- colonial Libya. The sound is entirely reconstructed and mixed with the verses in Libyan Arabic. In this way, we tried to accompany this subjective narration by expressing the poet’s most visceral emotions. If poetry is often untranslatable, this is an attempt to translate it into sounds and images.

Francesco Di Gioia

Francesco Di Gioia (Gorizia, 1993) obtained a degree (Hons) from the Milan Polytechnic in Communication Design, after which he began a course at the Civic School Luchino Visconti in Documentary Filmmaking. During this course, he had the opportunity to co-direct the documentary short film Cast Iron Days (2018). Since 2019 he has been studying video editing at the Experimental Center of Cinematography in Rome. In 2020 he approaches found-footage cinema by making the short film Fathers’ Land (2021).




The film opens on the VHS images of an introduction to bodybuilding, which shows us the extremely muscular bodies of the Italian champions. Over thirty years later, the bodybuilder Dino Fumagalli, who is also one of the video’s protagonists, is found to be in his gym in Brianza, while he tells us about a life dedicated to this discipline. 


Alessio and Edoardo have always been friends, united by a bond that seems indissoluble. During a leaden afternoon in late summer, the two take refuge in an abandoned shed. They are both driven by the desire to be together, to honor a promise, to share a challenge. As long as it is possible.


Roberto and Claudia meet for the first time for dinner in a restaurant. They get along well, they joke, there seems to be multiple affinities between them. Claudia, smiling and self-confident, seems to be the girl Roberto has been looking for his whole life. As soon as the waiter brings the dishes to their table, Claudia begins to eat and chew rudely, while Roberto is petrified and begins crunching his fingers nervously. The dinner turns into an eyes wide open nightmare, from which Roberto will come out for good.