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Review

Il pianeta in mare, directed by Andrea Segre

Alessandra Lancellotti
p. 202
Bibliographical reference

Il pianeta in mare, directed by Andrea Segre (2019)

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1Porto Marghera, one of the largest industrial areas in Italy, and one of the most important European chemical hubs, was founded in 1918, just 5 km from the centre of Venice. The city had no more land, so they decided to fill the swamps of the lagoon: an area of 2000 hectares was created, with 40 km of roads, 135 km of railway lines and 18 km of navigable canals.

2This is the century-old heritage of Marghera explored by Andrea Segre in Il pianeta in mare [A Planet in the Sea], where contemporary and images of the past reveal the contradictions of such a peculiar microcosm. The film, which was presented at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019, is part of a research that Segre has dedicated to the lagoon for twenty years through documentaries and fiction films. The last effort is Molecole (2020), a view above the water level of a still Venice, during the pandemic age of 2020. The lagoon is a closed and secure place that pushes man outside, in a circular destiny that lets Segre make an uninterrupted and dialogical comparison between himself and the other. The other, in Il pianeta in mare, is represented by the crowd of workers from more than sixty different countries, managers, truck drivers and the cook of the last local restaurant.

3What is the legacy behind the Italian industrial progress? Which future does Marghera still have in the plans of the global economy? If Europe dies in Lampedusa, as we saw in Fuocoammare [Fire at Sea] by Gianfranco Rosi (2016), what does Europe represent here? Marghera is a metaphysical place that embraces the whole world, a gate through which we can go further and further north, towards a Europe that even Italian businessmen prefer to Marghera. An archaeology of myths has layered itself in the dreams of Italian migrants at first, and then in the various “souths of the world”, erupting in the global flow of people and capital.

4The multilinguism of the film creates a centripetal force, which contrasts with an opposed one that converges in a strong unity of place: the magnetism of the story always takes us back to the steel and engineering plants, to the food silos, to the shipyards, to the big cargo port and to the petrochemical settlements. Traveling through this labyrinth creates an audiovisual map where stories overlap in a living archive made of memory and orality traces. The writing process of the documentary is attached to the psychogeographical approach and finds its main detour in the “architectural belly”: it is the steel belly of the big ships under construction, one of most debated problems in recent years, as shown in The Venice Syndrome by Andreas Pichler (2012).

5The territory of Marghera is fragile, having already witnessed demolitions, abandonment, and continuous change in its vocation. The deaths by vinyl chloride, the strikes and trade union struggles drown in this cycle. What is left of the fragmented human capital of this planet is the search for a mean of community, for a shared and sustainable future, symbolically represented by two fishermen who filter the seabed trying to save the species which survive pollution, the last resource for the sea.

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References

Bibliographical reference

Alessandra Lancellotti, Il pianeta in mare, directed by Andrea SegreArdeth, 7 | 2020, 202.

Electronic reference

Alessandra Lancellotti, Il pianeta in mare, directed by Andrea SegreArdeth [Online], 7 | 2020, Online since 01 June 2021, connection on 03 August 2021. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/ardeth/2054

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About the author

Alessandra Lancellotti

Politecnico di Torino

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Copyright

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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