Pagani: Mother nature and the virgin Mary

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Sunday, 12 January 2020
Exeter Phoenix, Studio 74

Dir. Elisa Flaminia Inno2017 | 52 mins | ItalyItalian with English subtitles


  • £8* – Standard
  • £5* – Student / Under 25
  • £3 for members of Italian Cultural Association
  • £21* – 3 film tickets for £21

Plunging into the heart of rituals inherited from ancient cults that celebrated Mother Nature, Pagani explores the extent to which fertility and rebirth and the coming of spring have attached themselves to Christian events.

In a dilapidated neighbourhood in a small town on the outskirts of Pompeii, as spring draws near, a busy man  carries out various rituals and prepares for days that lead to Easter. A procession carries the statue of the Virgin Mary through the town, “the death of carnival” carries a wooden mannequin through the streets, men dress as women and, in the secrecy of a house, act out the birth of the statuette of a black baby with a disproportionate penis.

These are all meticulously organised rites which, from bonfires to fireworks, dancing to chanted prayers culminate in the day of celebration. Deeply rooted in local society, this is a cult which the director manages to convey with incredible passion, placing the viewer in the shoes of those practising.