“Spes Contra Spem, liberi dentro” (Hope Against Hope, Freedom Inside) explores the reasons why people commit crimes and what goes on during their incarceration that will help them to turn their lives around once they are released. The film will not be available to view before it premieres at the Venice Film Festival. However, through research and correspondence with the director, I've learned a lot about this topic. I appreciate the way in which Crespi aims to show this perspective, expressed with profound but subtle poetry when describing the minds of the prisoners:
"When you’re alone in your thoughts, the voices in your head become loud.
They are paying with their guilt. They have to wait the time of their incarceration. There’s no hope to have hope."
|Activist/Politician Marco Pannella|
In researching, I learned about the Italian chapter of the international organization against the death penalty called "Hands Off Cain" (Nessuno Tocchi Caino). Made up of citizens and members of parliament working side by side since 1993, the organization's goal is to abolish the death penalty in every corner of the globe. With this film, the director hopes to shed light on the hopes of the movement's chief crusader Marco Pannella, who passed away in May of this year.
I spoke with the film's director Ambrogio Crespi about this unique documentary film. He explained his motive for giving this perspective and what he hopes to accomplish. Our interview was done in Italian, so both versions are included.
|Ambrogio Crespi on set|
The people who participated in this documentary film are men serving life sentences.
Therefore, they are not actors. The actors appear in the real life flashbacks. They externalize their experience, their pain, their wounds. They are men who do not seek any pardon, but who have acquired the knowledge and understanding of the evil they caused in the first place, which led them to a life behind bars.
These detainees have taken part in the film by the association (against the death penalty) "Hands Off Cain" (Nessuno Tocchi Caino).
Other important presences and relevant participants are: the director of the prison, Giacinto Siciliano; the head of D.A.P Santi Consolo, and the prison guards who work directly everyday with the prisoners.
I hope, as (Giovanni) Falcone said, the film will act as a "big white sheet" upon which we will display the images of our documentary film.
The message of the detainees to young people, especially for those young gangsters or homeboys of the neighborhood, can be really helpful through the drama of their stories. For this reason, I hope that this documentary film will reach these kids. Culture is one of the most powerful means to defeat evil.
Marco Pannella, who has been an important point of reference in my life, always lives by a phrase "Be hope, rather than have hope". I would like these words to become a starting point to create major changes.
Il messaggio dei detenuti verso i giovani, soprattutto per quei ragazzi di periferia o di quartiere, può essere veramente utile attraverso il dramma dei loro racconti. Per questo motivo spero che questo docufilm possa raggiungere questi ragazzi. La cultura è uno dei mezzi più potenti per sconfiggere il male.
We will keep you updated on the date and time of the screening for “Spes Contra Spem, liberi dentro” in Venice. The festival has not yet released this information.
Click here to watch the trailer.