Fortezza – An Italian Kafka Variation

REVIEW/NATION
by Albina Akhatova
20.05.2021
Many films shot in 2019 and have isolation, quarantine or imprisonment in the plot. But in the post-covid era it turns around, that all of it rhymes with the events of 2020 involuntarily. The Italian Fortezza (2019) tells a story about a physically isolated small military post: its seclusion changes people and their behavior. This is a huge and sensitive issue even without the coronavirus pandemic. Fortezza directors took inspiration from the novel "Il deserto dei Tartari — The Tartar Steppe" by an Italian writer Dino Buzzati.
A soldier arrives at the location of the military fortress, which no longer performs defensive functions, but the garrison continues to give its idleness meaning, imitating a stormy activity in total compliance with the rules, nagging, trying to find a reason to move to the "mainland", as well as remembering the past. The plot of the novel in the film is simple: in The Tartar Steppe novel the militaries are waiting for the attack of some Tartarian hordes and all the time they are preparing for it, but nothing happens.

The most vivid metaphor in the film, reflecting the senseless swarming and affairs of garrison and the groundlessness of its expectations and defenses, is the replica with insects.Working ants, as disciplined as soldiers, mirror the life of the military post. . A slow centipede crawls through the screen to the panicked and sharp shouts of the commander that the enemy is coming to the fortress' gates.

Not professional actors, but prisoners of the Civitavecchia gaol took part in the movie shooting. It is noteworthy that the directors focus not so much on the mimicking part of the acting, but on the dialogues. Their richness makes us perceive the film as play, except it has audio-visual and expressive means. The frames and mise en scene are arranged like geometric shapes and use all the existing methods of constructing the composition. Fortezza — even though it has its atmosphere – is like an inside-out mockumentary. This is also present in the cameraman's tricks — a shaking hand-held camera and unexpected defocusing, in non-professional actors, in a narrative that captures the everyday life and reality of the fortress rather than a twisted plot.
This is not the first time the novel is adapted for the screen — in 1976 another film was directed by Valerio Dzurlini. In contrast to this version, Fortezza is distinguished by minimalism — the absence of stars in the cast, short duration, general summary of the novel -without the character's names and the main plot twists, as well as the lack of action as such: the characters talk without moving much.
It is important that the idea of the movie is not political — it is not about senseless militarism or groundless expectation of an attack. It is more philosophical: the soldiers try to give meaning to their lives and cannot find it..
 
Fortezza – An Italian Kafka Variation

REVIEW/NATION
by Albina Akhatova
20.05.2021
Many films shot in 2019 and have isolation, quarantine or imprisonment in the plot. But in the post-covid era it turns around, that all of it rhymes with the events of 2020 involuntarily. The Italian Fortezza (2019) tells a story about a physically isolated small military post: its seclusion changes people and their behavior. This is a huge and sensitive issue even without the coronavirus pandemic. Fortezza directors took inspiration from the novel "Il deserto dei Tartari — The Tartar Steppe" by an Italian writer Dino Buzzati.
A soldier arrives at the location of the military fortress, which no longer performs defensive functions, but the garrison continues to give its idleness meaning, imitating a stormy activity in total compliance with the rules, nagging, trying to find a reason to move to the "mainland", as well as remembering the past. The plot of the novel in the film is simple: in The Tartar Steppe novel the militaries are waiting for the attack of some Tartarian hordes and all the time they are preparing for it, but nothing happens.

The most vivid metaphor in the film, reflecting the senseless swarming and affairs of garrison and the groundlessness of its expectations and defenses, is the replica with insects.Working ants, as disciplined as soldiers, mirror the life of the military post. . A slow centipede crawls through the screen to the panicked and sharp shouts of the commander that the enemy is coming to the fortress' gates.

Not professional actors, but prisoners of the Civitavecchia gaol took part in the movie shooting. It is noteworthy that the directors focus not so much on the mimicking part of the acting, but on the dialogues. Their richness makes us perceive the film as play, except it has audio-visual and expressive means. The frames and mise en scene are arranged like geometric shapes and use all the existing methods of constructing the composition. Fortezza — even though it has its atmosphere – is like an inside-out mockumentary. This is also present in the cameraman's tricks — a shaking hand-held camera and unexpected defocusing, in non-professional actors, in a narrative that captures the everyday life and reality of the fortress rather than a twisted plot.
This is not the first time the novel is adapted for the screen — in 1976 another film was directed by Valerio Dzurlini. In contrast to this version, Fortezza is distinguished by minimalism — the absence of stars in the cast, short duration, general summary of the novel -without the character's names and the main plot twists, as well as the lack of action as such: the characters talk without moving much.
It is important that the idea of the movie is not political — it is not about senseless militarism or groundless expectation of an attack. It is more philosophical: the soldiers try to give meaning to their lives and cannot find it...
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