Shelter Me – Riparo – Anis tra di noi (Marco S. Puccioni – 2007)

To me this film is a fine example of the power of good storytelling without the need for special effects and pyrotechnics in order to engage audiences. The premise is simple, a lesbian couple returns from a vacation in Tunis and to their great surprise discover a Moroccan guy hidden in their car, with a wish for a better life in Europe. Anna (Maria de Medeiros) the wealthy and more mature decides to help Anis (Mounir Ouadi) against the wish of her young and restless partner, Mara (Antonia Liskova).

[youtube width=”615″ height=”461″][/youtube]

From there the plot unfolds revealing rich tapestry of themes ranging from the audacity to offer genuine help to a stranger, cross-cultural differences regarding family values viewed by Anis, conservative vs. liberal tensions as Anna’s mother questions the validity of her daughter relationship with Mara. And finally, the pure wish of any person to find “shelter” in an environment that provides support and growth.

Such “shelter” can be interpreted as being a person, in this case Anna, who shelters both Anis and Mara or as a place – Europe, as provider of better opportunities for immigrants. To this effect, throughout the film we see a recurring symbol – a giant chair located at the center of a round traffic intersection, through which the actors pass through in their daily commute. You may call it an environmental sculpture, but in our context this chair serves as constant reminder of the most basic human need of finding comfort – the chair, as a tool for rest and shelter.

The film appeared first in Berlin’s Film Festival where director Puccioni immediately found an American distributor, which paved the way to screenings at New York’s MOMA to grand enthusiasm by audiences. The fact that no Italian distributor was found at the time meant the film was practically unknown in its own native country. This indeed serves as bold evidence to the challenges facing Italian cinema directors today when trying to bring new films to the public.

By Shlomi Ron

Visual marketing guy with a penchant for fine Italian cinema.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *