La Pitturessa, the new film by Fabiana Sargentini,...

La Pitturessa, the new film by Fabiana Sargentini, a portrait of her mother, the artist Anna Paparatti

It sometimes happens that some artists emerge much later than their colleagues, because they are far from the official narrative of art history and independent of the market. This friction, however, gives them a personal style that is far removed from the most famous fashions and movements. Anna Paparatti (Reggio Calabria, 1936) is an authentic artist, faithful and grateful to painting. Her gurus are Toti Scialoja, Julian Beck and the Dalai Lama; she is deeply attached to India, and her works are marked by a nostalgia and a sense of belonging to this land. She was rediscovered only a few years ago, in 2021, thanks to Elena Del Drago, gallery director of EDDart (Palazzo Taverna, Rome), Maria Grazia Chiuri, director of Dior, and the contribution of her daughter Fabiana Sargentini, who made a film about her mother, presented at the Festa del Cinema di Roma in 2023, La Pitturessa. The documentary returns a complex portrait of the artist, reconstructed through a therapeutic analysis of the mother-daughter relationship.

Fabiana Sargentini, “La Pitturessa”, Italia, 2023, 80 min, courtesy I Kama Production, FilmAffair, Lo Scrittoio

Fabiana Sargentini graduated in Film History and Criticism, and started working as an assistant director in cinema and commercials. She participated in Nanni Moretti’s Sacher Festival in 1998, with the Super8 short film Se perdo te (If i lose you), and won the Bellaria Film Festival in 2004 with Sono incinta (I’m pregnant). In 2003, she presented Tutto su mio padre (All about my father), a documentary about Fabio Sargentini, and the history of L’Attico gallery. In recent months, Fabiana Sargentini is on tour to present La Pitturessa in many Italian cinemas, including the Nuovo Sacher in Rome, with the support of Nanni Moretti. Weaving together history, biography and the most intimate themes of the mother-daughter relationship – already addressed in Di madre in figlia (From Mother to Daughter, 2004) – the director embarks on an investigation into the rediscovery of the mother.

Fabiana Sargentini, “La Pitturessa”, Italia, 2023, 80 min, courtesy I Kama Production, FilmAffair, Lo Scrittoio

Using the medium of film as a therapeutic tool, Sargentini expresses her perplexity about how the role of companion and mother may have hindered the artist’s career. Paparatti was a student of Toti Scialoja at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, was shaped by a powerful experience with the Living Theatre in 1965, and marked by a great passion for India and Tibetan Buddhism. Among her most significant encounters – all recounted in her autobiography ARTE-VITA a Roma negli anni ’60 e ’70. La pitturessa (2015, De Luca Editori) – her great friendship with Pino Pascali emerges. Thanks to him, she met Fabio Sargentini in 1966. A love affair was born, the nucleus of a great art family, an artistic partnership in the most brilliant years of L’Attico. In the 1970s Paparatti took care of the gallery’s communication, designing original invitations and posters for exhibitions and collaborating in the organisation and research for Attico festivals such as Festival Music and Dance U.S.A. (1972), Tantra Yoga Raga (1973), Musica e Danza Contemporanea (1974), India America (1977) and L’Attico in Viaggio (1976-77).

Fabiana Sargentini, “La Pitturessa”, Italia, 2023, 80 min, courtesy I Kama Production, FilmAffair, Lo Scrittoio

Among the personalities who intervene in the documentary – with the notable absence of Fabio Sargentini – Massimiliano Polichetti, director of Museo delle Civiltà in Rome, remembers meeting Paparatti as a very young man during an event at L’Attico The Music Room (1975). At that event, the artist represented for him a beautiful oriental vision serving him tea, the names of which he remembers all: sweet sugary sea, green love lost, unforgettable arabic, lotus and shiva and so on. Among the most moving are Piero Pizzi Cannella’s words: «Anna is many things, but for me Anna has always been like this. If I were a sailor, your mother would be a surprising landing place for me. It would be like dropping anchor in an absolutely unknown and magical place». The film will continue its tour in cinemas: in Rome on 29 April at Nuovo Cinema Aquila. On 21 April it will be Cinema Orione in Bologna, then the tour continues in Forlì, Cesena, Santarcangelo, Rovigo, Dolo, Bari, Barletta, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, and in other Italian cities that are being added in a series of event screenings in the presence of the director.


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