Time seems to have stopped at the Industrial Revolution in the 800’s, amid decadent buildings together with the traditional fascination of the fishermen that result in a neorealist postcard image. It is the historic centre of the Magna Graecia surrounded by a contaminated sea with its past floating back up to the surface. The backdrop is that of the steel-work hub in Taranto. The largest in Europe and also the most polluted. Where illnesses that are correlated to pollution from dioxins destroy the lives of so many families, torn between the need to work and that of safeguarding their children’s health.
Before becoming the unified midden of Italy, with more than two hundred smoking chimney-stacks, refuse dumps, refineries, life here navigated between two seas that encase both the isle of the old town and the new district. Due to the presence of dioxin in the mussels over the past two and a half years, mussel cultivators are forced to throw their harvest away. The National Research Center (CNR) carry out severe tests to prevent the emission of contaminated products, that could be harmful to peoples’ health, from getting onto the market. Despite the presence of large industries, there is an army of unemployed in Taranto: around 110 thousand people, 40% of the entire population. Today, agriculture is forbidden within a 20 km radius from Ilva while livestock is put down because it contains dioxins and many people ironically ask themselves if the same fate awaits them, too. The European Union has opened an infringement procedure against Italy concerning the Ilva affair in Taranto, saying that Italian national authorities had not guaranteed conformity on the subject of requirements regarding industrial emissions, with serious consequences for human health and the environment. The plants in Taranto have been at the centre of a tug of war between magistracy and government.
Acts of corruption, concussion and various other offenses have taken place, hypothesized within the inquest “Environment Undersold”, carried forward by the Public Prosecutor in Taranto. Now, behind bars, the authors of the disaster are beginning to go under, being at the centre of a massive turnover that played dirty with the health of the citizens: the mayor of Taranto and the governor of Puglia region are also under investigation, respectively for abuse and omission of acts of office and bribery. According to medical and epidemiological studies, in the historic centre of Magna Graecia a rise of 30-40% of all cancerous forms have been recorded, along with illnesses that are correlated to pollution from dioxins and asbestos. Therefore, many families are torn between the need to work and that of safeguarding their children’s health. In the Tamburi district there is a ruling by the Mayor which prohibits children to play in the few green areas that still exist on the outskirts of the neighborhood. For a while it hasn’t even been possible to bury their dead in the local cemetery. Taranto is a defeated city but one ready to face a new beginning, to reincarnate in a multitude of men who, whether in silence or shouting their own convictions, marching or during a protest, call for justice for the wrongs they have suffered.
Direction, Screenplay, DOP, Shooting: Matteo Bastianelli | Music: Simone Dell’Orca & Gianluca Rebuzzi | Editing: Daniele Lianka Carlevaro | Sound recordist: Giuseppina Toti | Sound designer: Federico Tummolo | Graphic project: Daniele Zendroni | Artistic Production for “Salina”: Christian Lisi |
Ettore Boccuni, Giulia Russo, Tommaso D’Ippolito, Achille D’Ippolito, Aurelio Rebuzzi, Loredana Chiapparino, Antonio Lenti, Fabio Matacchiera, Giuseppe D’Andria, Alessandro Marescotti, Francesca D’Ippolito, Valentina D’Ippolito.