Tommaso Cotronei / 76’ / 2017 / Yemen

Direction: Tommaso Cotronei
Production: Tommaso Cotronei
Script: Tommaso Cotronei
Editing: Tommaso Cotronei
Cinematography: Tommaso Cotronei
Sound: Tommaso Cotronei

What happens to the mind of a child bride? Disempowered and deprived of health, education, safety. And someone takes courage and reacts. Soraya escapes her husband to reach a village where no one knows. But the local young school teacher offers her protection and a place to rest until she figures out her next step. This is a story of two young people living in Yemen. A young woman from the city and a young man from the countryside. They become acquainted, fall in love.

TOMMASO COTRONEI was born in a small town in Calabria, in Southern Italy, where, still very young, started to work in the fields with his parents in the rural countryside. Struck by a place that gives no hopes but backbreaking labour, no chances of wishing for something different, Cotronei finds the strength to flee from his situation at 21. He spends several years looking for something that would suit his hopes while temporarly working as a manual worker in Northern Europe. He gets into the humanities, helping him finding some stability in life. He attends classes at the Philosophy Dpt. at University of Rome La Sapienza, without graduating. In 1993 he luckily becomes Film Director Vittorio De Seta’s assistant, while the former was working on his film Calabria. Cotronei finally finds in cinema a means of self-expression. In 1997 he films his first oeuvre, Lavoratori (Workers). Cotronei’s gaze is not the distant gaze of the Ethnologist, far from the “people”; he does not tease the audience to look at manifestations of subaltern, traditional life as “picturesque”, with a smile or complacent interest. Cotronei’s gaze stares at parents’ anguish while they are looking at their children condemned to lead the same, forsaken existence.