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Thursday, November 24, 2016

In theaters today.. Michele Placido's "7 minuti"

The entire cast along with the director and writer of "7 minuti" at the Festa del Cinema di Roma
Michele Placido's much talked about film 7 minuti hits Italian theaters today. The timing of the release coincides with an important referendum vote that will take place in Italy on December 4. Everywhere you go, "Vote Si o No".. "Io voto si" or "Io voto no".  As an American here in Italy, I can't say that one side seems to be stronger than the other. The country seems to be divided in half on this vote. 

In short, the vote yes or no would change a part of the constitution, which would affect the way in which officials are elected.. therefore affecting workers across the country. If you vote no, you are voting for the process to stay the same. If you vote yes, you are voting for an overhaul in this part of the constitution. It's quite complicated, but this is the gist of it.


With the iconic Italian actor/director Michele Placido
Placedo's film centers on a group of female industrial workers waiting on a new contract drawn up by a French company on the brink of buying out their Italian company. A clause in the contract that they will have to agree to and sign states that they will lose seven minutes a day from their breaks. The group is passionately divided on signing the contract. Half say 'no way' because they feel it's just the beginning of privileges that will be taken away from them. The other half is ready and willing to sign away that seven minutes in order to keep their weekly paychecks. What ensues is a loud, passionate debate about the rights of workers- both Italian-born citizens and immigrants. It made sense to me that a director with Placido's genealogical background would make a movie so intense. His distant relative is the famous brigade of Basilicata, Carmine Crocco that fought for the rights of southern Italian workers and peasants. Crocco would indeed be proud of his offspring, Michele Placido, for presenting such an impassioned work bringing to light the common plight of workers around the world.

I was fortunate to have attended the premiere and press conference in October at the Festa del Cinema of Rome. The entire talented cast was on hand to discuss the movie, the upcoming referendum and the challenges of workers throughout the world in our current tumultuous political climate. Below is a video (in Italian) that I recorded at the press conference in which the cast and director talk about their stances on the referendum, immigration in Italy and the current workforce issues across the country. 





If you're in Italy, I highly recommend this film. Not only is it a joy to watch for the extraordinary performances by a diverse cast that includes Michele Placido himself along with Ambra AngioliniCristiana CapotondiFiorella MannoiaMaria NazionaleViolante PlacidoClémence PoésySabine TimoteoOttavia PiccoloAnne ConsignyBruno CarielloMimma LovoiDonato PlacidoGerardo Placido, Luisa Cattaneo, Erika D’Ambrosio, Balkissa Maiga and Lee Colbert... it also serves as a social statement for where we are right now in our ever-changing world impacted by the refugee crisis, terrorism, racial prejudice and politics. Michele Placido has given us a thought-provoking masterpiece to which we can all relate. 


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