Michele Pennetta’s new documentary Il Mio Corpo (2020) is a poetical reflection on agency and the possibility to determine the course of one’s own life. Slow-paced and cinematic, this partly fictionalized documentary portrays the realities of Oscar and Stanley, two young men of different backgrounds having something fundamental in common: at this point in their lives, they both have no other option but to let life happen to them, driven by their own circumstances and by others.
Oscar and Stanley
Oscar spends his days working for his father together with his older brother, scrapping for valuable materials in landfills under the bright Sicilian sun. At the beginning of the film, from the top of a bridge looking down the landfill, we see his father coordinating the search and recovery process offering, instead of encouragement, threats and curses, making sure to remind Oscar constantly of how useless he is. Such instances are not occasional. Throughout the film, the only resourcefulness the father shows is his ability to find new ways to control and humiliate his son, blaming him for a wide range of shortcomings, imagined or otherwise, including his own. The father is the ultimate toxic parent, using his two sons as personal assets he can deploy to do work for him while he smokes and observes. And even after a good day of finding valuables, he cannot find a good word for Oscar, instead of telling him he would, at any …
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