Paolo Benvenuti

Paolo Benvenuti, TIBURZI

The director

Born in Pisa in 1946, Paolo Benvenuti graduated from Florence Art School in 1965 to become a painter, but by 1968 he had decided "to give up his brushes for a movie camera." An admirer of Rossellini and Dreyer, he began to make a series of independently-produced shorts and medium-length films. After working as assistant director to Jean-Marie Straub and Daničle Huillet, he made his first feature in 1988, Il bacio di Giuda (Critics' Week selection at Venice). In 1992, he competed at Locarno with Confortorio, which dealt with 18th century Roman ideology via the true story of two Jews condemned to be hanged.

Director's statement

There is a region, between Tuscany and Latium, with an ancient and suggestive name: La Maremma, a mysterious place with an age-old history and Etruscan, Roman and medieval vestiges. Here lived the most famous of Italian outlaws at the end of the last century: the legendary bandit Domenico "Domenichino" Tiburzi, who has remained to this day a popular legend among the people of la Maremma. We have sought to describe the final hours of his existence (in October 1896): the words and deeds of an old loner closely associated with the pagan culture of the region, a fierce champion of a world being rent asunder by the blows of so-called "modernity." Tiburzi would not forsake an ancient cultural identity: the last Etruscan on the threshhold of the 20th century, the bandit moves inexorably (but serenely) towards his death. In the strong contrast between the first part of the story (a court inquiry with the overtones of a Western) and the second (the last night of an old man awaiting his destiny), one detects the tragedy of an entire pre-Christian peasant culture doomed to extinction within several decades.