MOVIES A Mockumentary against Anti-Semitism

pecoreBy Rachel Silvera

Leonardo Zuliani has disappeared and everyone is very worried about him. Zuliani is an anti-hero who loves to hate, especially to hate Jews. He lives during a time when anti-Semitism is not seen as a danger but rather the real danger is called “antisemifobia”, the fear of anti-Semitism.
Leo Zuliani is the protagonist of “Pecore in erba” (“Sheep in the Grass”), the first movie written and directed by the young Roman Jewish director Alberto Caviglia, who had previously worked as assistant to director Ferzan Özpetek. The movie is currently being shown in Italian movie theaters after making its premier at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. The film won the prize Arca CinemaGiovani, and received enthusiastic reviews.

Caviglia chose the technique of “mockumentary,” a fake documentary made with images, interviews and stories reconstructing the life of the imaginary protagonist. The movie also features some cameos of prominent Italians (journalists, media experts and actors) who explain the ‘Zuliani phenomenon.”

“The truth is that I was a real pest. I tried in every way to get them involved in the project until they got tired of me and they accepted. In the end they have become the main supporters of the movie,” Caviglia said.

Through the means of paradox and satire, “Pecore in erba” denounces the risk of hatred against Jews and how too often it is socially accepted.

Pagine Ebraiche also collected some comments from the audience.

“I thought it was very cute and funny and has an insistent rhythm. Even the photography is not to be underestimated,” explained Luca Menasci leaving the theatre. “While I was watching the movie, I recalled the first works of Woody Allen and I wish Caviglia the same fortune,” said Maurizio Olmeda. “I liked it very much. I do not think that ‘Pecore in erba’ might offend anyone, if so it would mean rejecting a fundamental aspect of Jewish culture: a sense of humor. The paradoxical situation portrayed is not so far from the news that reaches us every day: Anti-Semitism is a phenomenon much more real than we think,” Shany Guetta added. “I found it an intelligent and witty movie, that shows us that anti-Semitism is a phenomenon that still exists and persists, and in some cases is even legitimized,” Giorgio Campagnano concluded.