Occident Express

by Simone Marcelli
Italy, 2020, 84', color, DCP
Friday 11 September 2020
21:30 Isola degli Autori Public, free entrance
Reservation required on giornatedegliautori.com starting from August 31st

Stefano Massini

Fabio Ferri
Enrico Fink
Simone Massi

Ottavia Piccolo
L'Orchestra Multietnica di Arezzo

Catrina Producciones

press office
Adriana Vianello
Andrea De Marchi


The story of an odyssey, a "flight" log, a snapshot from hell: a true story, a shard of human experience taken from the great mosaic of humanity on the move. Occident Express is a fragment of our times. In 2015, an elderly woman from Mosul set out on the refugee trail with her four-year-old granddaughter, and traveled five-thousand kilometers, from Iraq to the Baltic Sea, by way of the so-called "Balkan route." This is her amazing story. Haifa is her name, and she doesn't choose to flee; something else, something bigger, decides for her and forces her to leave and never look back. What is she seeking? A safe harbor, or perhaps just a place to rest her weary bones. Her sister had told her once, "Haifa, you were born to stay put," and she had nodded. Now flight is the only option. It's an odyssey of the third millennium, a tale in words and music that never stops, like the terrifying race for survival it chronicles.



2020 Occident Express
2020 In viaggio con Luca [doc]
2018 Éphémère - La bellezza inevitabile [doc]
2015 A. Wildt. Il marmo e l'anima [doc]

My approach to directing this film was to maintain the structure of a stage performance as far as possible, without turning the film into a documentary. Although most of the story does take place on the stage, when the narrative tension is at its peak the camera shifts to the innermost corners of the theater itself, which practically becomes a stop on Haifa's 'journey'. And while the camera can zoom in on the hopes and desperation of the main character Haifa (Ottavia Piccolo), Simone Massi's animated segments treat us a further journey into the emotions of Haifa and her granddaughter.

Simone Marcelli (Arezzo, 1970) obtained a degree in contemporary history before going on to write and direct feature-length documentaries. In viaggio con Luca, devoted to stage director Luca Ronconi, had its premiere at Rome's Teatro Argentina in 2020, while Éphémère - La bellezza inevitabile won the Best Documentary Award al SIFF 2018, and Marcelli's third, A. Wildt. Il marmo e l'anima, was commissioned for the exhibition of works by Milanese sculptor Adolfo Wildt at the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris in 2015. Marcelli holds seminars and training courses on audiovisual media and their use on social media as well. He is a founding member of the Associazione Culturale La Catrina, which partners with the brand Catrina Producciones to make art documentaries and promote audiovisual culture.

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