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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.