Director Pupi Avati from Bologna chose Calabria for his last film. More precisely, Rocca Imperiale, a flourishing town in the province of Cosenza on the Jonian Coast, where he has recently shot a series of TV movies based on the Gospel. “My purpose – says Pupi Avati – was not the slavish representation of some episodes from the Gospel, but rather their adaptation to the present day: in other words, the four Gospels seen as topical frames of reference for today’s world, a school of life for contemporary society”
In its final version, the project can be regarded as a new take on the Gospel in order to retrieve its true essence, which is the feeling of being close to one another or, in Pope Francis’ words, the virtue of Mercy. Although “Le nozze di Laura” (Laura’s Wedding), the first film from this series, was inspired by the Marriage at Cana, both the depicted context and the characters reference a theme that is much more relevant to today’s world: immigration. In this perspective, the miracle performed by Jesus, that of turning water into wine during a wedding banquet, becomes the miracle of making two very different human beings meet ad get close to each other. The story told by Avati revolves around a not too pretty Calabrian girl, Laura, whose father – a citrus grower – sends her to the capital hoping that she will find herself an husband there. However, as she will find out, destiny had other plans in store for her.
On her birthday, Laura buys a pair of leopard print high heels which she intends to wear to go to an open air theatre production on the Pincian Hill. While she is on her way, she is enticed by a sharp smell coming from a nearby laundry. After entering it, she engages the laundry clerk in a conversation and ends up making love with him. Some time later, she finds herself face to face with the realization of his disappearance and the sweetness of her pregnancy.
She has no other option now but to go back to Rocca Imperiale, where her father, upon getting wind of her state, punishes her by sending her to work in his orange and citrus fields. And it is right in these orchards that Laura meets a handsome African boy, the prince of Ciad, whom the hardships of life have forced to come to Calabria to pick oranges and live in utmost shabbiness.
As everybody knows however, there is always something good in the Gospel in store for those who suffer, so all we need to do is wait to find out what the destiny of this Calabrian chance meeting will be.