In collaboration with RAI
The renewal of traditions – Germany 2020 (20′)
The Gerola Valley, a small side valley of the Valtellina, is known to be cool and offers its inhabitants ideal conditions to cope with the last seasonal efforts.
The work in the valley is traditionally carried out quickly by the experienced hands of the inhabitants, who give the customs their own personal touch: baking bisciòle biscuits in the Castello oven, the search for sawn wood, the second hay cut, the search for boleti, the slippery jack mushrooms.
Some customs remain the same, while others are renewed thanks to drastic life choices, such as those of Marco, the young university student who gave up his studies and now dedicates himself to running a mountain hut. Now, after a summer full of educational exchanges between maintenance work on cliffs and preparation of minestrone soups, Marco is thinking about his own future.
The high lands – Germany 2018 (31′)
We are in the eastern part of the Val d'Aosta. The valley is dominated by a sea of perennial ice that covers the peaks of the largest mountain range in the Alpine chain, its ridge marking the natural border between Italy and Switzerland. In the shadow of this giant lies the Val di Lys, inscised into the sonty grounds by the torrent after which it is named, but also known as the Gressoney valley.
The echo of the „high lands“, the power of their appeal, seem to have a stronger impact especially on the younger population. This holds true for Federico and Federico. They are united by name and a common project: resuming ancient farming practices, adding a few technical innovations and thus recovering the great heritage of alpine horticulture. It holds true for Marta, a young shepherd from a small hamlet of Gressoney, who raises Rosset sheep, an ancient native breed form the Aosta valley, now on the verge of extinction.
Nearby, in the Val d'Ayas, which runs parallel to the Val di Lys, the young Gondrand has decided to carry on the ancient tradition of the sabotiers, the artisans who make „sabots“, the famous wooden clogs so typical for local craftsmanship.
The value of diversity – Germany 2018 (32′)
The Val d'Isarco, in South Tyrol, begins at the Isarco springs, near the Brenner, and runs all the way south to Bolzano. The valley is dominated by mount Sciliar – with its 2,563 meters the symbol of the entire region.
The inhabitants of this area cultivate fruits given by a fertile and majestic nature, to which some of them have established a very rigorous idea of relationship. This is the case with Harald and his colourfull vegetable garden, where rare and often forgotten species grow. It is one of the hidden wonders of the area.
In his kitchen Thomas combines the flavors of Harald's garden with those of local meat and fish, while Günther, who lives on the other side of the valley, the Val di Funes, is buisy raising the typical sheep from Val di Funes. From their fleece we obtain a precious wool that is used in the processing of boiled wool, typical for these areas. But the most well-known product of this land are the grapes, from which Christian, with the help of his family, makes a wine as delicious and authentic as the land producing it.
In the shadow of the Peak – Germany 2018 (34′)
We find ourselves in front of the Bernina, in the heart of Valmalenco, a valley that the narrow but impetuous currents of the Mallero river have cut deep into the western Rhaetian Alps.
Here the Moira family is preparing for the transhumance, which will take them right under the Pizzo Scalino in the heart of the valley. Just below the mountain pasture of Moira Ladina, Simona and Arnaldo farm a native breed of goats, the frisa. Whereas Massimo and Barbara, who live at the entrance of the valley, have decided to settle in a mountain village almost entirely abandoned in order to find a more authentic relationship with nature, which even entails to cultivate their ground with plow and horse.
On Elio′s traces – Germany 2017 (23′)
Halfway between Sondrio and the Stelvio, on the banks of the Adda, there lies a village built from the very stones the river has been grinding and smoothing for centuries. Mazzo, surrounded by forests and firs, is one of those Italian gems where nothing appears to have changed over the past centuries.
Across from the belfry of the village church, crowning the ridge of the Bergamo Alps, lies the old chalet of Salina. To reach it, one must climb a steep and narrow mountain path: an old mule trail that had once been used by shepherds to drive their cattle up to the mountain pastures and that had lain idle for many years since. It was reactivated by Patrick, a stock farmer from Mazzo who maintains old traditions and nowadays keeps thirty cows that he leaves outside to graze in the summer.
Just as Patrick tries to revitalize the path, he also strives to reconstruct the ancient bonds that tie man to his environment, bonds which seem never to have snapped in the people of this region.
The film has been invited to the Bergfilm Festival Tegernsee 2014 and the Orobie Film Festival 2020.
Valtellina, the Roots of a Love – Germany 2016 (20′)
Shaded by the rough and yet delightful summits of the Valtellina lives a people who loves the land and its ancient traditions. Now it is in the process of rediscovering the value of organic farming and cultivation.
This is hard work that requires patience and a dedication that verges on devotion. But it is a passion that is requited by the soil: It rewards those that protect it with unique fruit whose flavour had been hidden in the back of men's minds for ages.
Men like Marcel and Francesco, who have discovered the ancient taste of wine, a thousand years' tradition in this Lombardian valley where the Adda flows. Like Amedeo, in whose enchanting garden more than a thousand different types of plants grow; or like Cleto, who prepares rye bread in the manner of his ancestors and who even grows his own grain on the steep slopes of the Alps surrounding the valley.
And finally Patrizio, who keeps old, nearly extinct grains from being completely forgotten. The country's new heroes are recreating the atmosphere of their environment with the changing colours of the fields that once dominated the valley, a panorama that older generations had once been familiar with, but the younger ones had never been able to know.