Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sergio Castellitto and Anna Ferruzzo become Angelo and Angelina Vassallo in RAI's "Il Sindaco Pescatore"

I’ve been seeing a ton of press on social media about a new RaiUno fiction that will air tonight in Italy about a fisherman turned mayor. “Il Sindaco Pescatore” which literally translates to the “The Fisherman Mayor”, boasts an amazing cast and reconstructs the story of an honest man who stood up for his beliefs and in doing so, paid the ultimate price.

Sergio Castellitto portrays Angelo Vassallo, a professional fisherman who faced the dangers of his job knowing that he may or may not return from a day’s work on the tumultuous sea. Described as an “angry fisherman”, Vassallo was outspoken about his observations on the general disrespect of the environment and government policies whether local or national. So he decided to take matters into his own hands and run for mayor of his seaside town of Pollica, a commune of Salerno in the region of Campania. He was victorious in his pursuit and when he transitioned to a career in politics, the bravery and realism of his days at sea accompanied him as he fought for the rights of the people in his community.

Pollica, Italy
Vassallo remained the Mayor of Pollica for 12 years right up until his murder by the organized crime group of Naples- the Camorra. On 5 September 2010, Vassallo’s voice was silenced by nine bullets, but his memory, his values and the rage of his community for his untimely and violent death are still very much present today.
Angelo Vassallo’s brother, Dario, who is also president of the foundation that bears his name said in an interview with la Repubblica newspaper that “the movie will serve as a method of finding the truth.” The General Manager of RAI, Antonio Campo Dall'Orto, calls the film “a true public service”. He went on to say, “We are certain that this story will leave a mark in the minds of those who will be able to watch it on TV. It is important to RAI to leave in the minds of people something that can influence their behavior. Each of us is called to be part of a community. TV movies have a message and may therefore be a point of reference for future generations.”

Sergio Castellitto with Anna Ferruzzo in the background
The role of Vassallo’s wife, Angelina, is played by one of my favorite rising stars, Anna Ferruzzo. In preparing for the role, Ferruzzo told that she had the pleasure of talking with and getting to know Angelina. She acknowledged how the story of the Vassallo’s seemed more like a story of heroes, but she and other cast members made an effort to give a human dimension to their characters because they are and were such descent people. In talking about her costar, Sergio Castellitto, she said that he was just in love with this project and engaged with the story in such a way that left room for improvisation.

“Il Sindaco Pescatore” will air tonight on RaiUno. I haven’t seen any listings yet for the program to air on RAI International. Check back here or Twitter for updates.

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