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Arcadia, A Short
Film by Jacopo Benci
At once absurd, funny - and tragic.
A team of reindeerless Santas roam the back
streets of Rome playing 'Jingle Bells' on what
appear to be ethnic instruments from another part of Europe (or maybe even some
part of Asia). The element of tragedy that
haunts this short film is hinted at through two superimpositions and only
becomes fully apparent after the fade that leads into the final image. We are
offered visions of another time and place; the past in some other country,
indicating the past of the roving, busking 'Santas' as refugees from one of the
world's many disaster zones (if read, as is possible, as a portent of the
future, then the message becomes grim indeed, with the refugees in question
being condemned to eternal wandering, to an eternal displacement, reduced to
the role of roving beggars for the rest of their lives). Taken on the level of
the present - as an action parallel to that of the 'Santas' - we are reminded
of the present flow of refugees from parts of the world that have been allowed
to fall into a state of collapse.
Arcadia. Is the reference
in the title to the possible utopian status of Rome as a destination for asylum seekers or the
pastoral landscape that we glimpse in the superimpositions? Either way, rural
or urban, the reference is ironic.
Copyright, Peter Nesteruk, 2003.