Storyteller-writer-actor Ascanio Celestini captivates audiences with monologues that combine great wit, historical commentary and genuine despair over a range of social injustices. Celestini’s striking feature debut, The Black Sheep, in competition at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, tells the story of Nicola, the “black sheep” of his family. Living as a patient in a psychiatric hospital for 35 years, he heads for a supermarket once a week.
“The madhouse it's a condominium of saints. Saints are the poor foolish lunatics between the Chinese sheets, shrouds of manufacture. Saint is the nun that with the lamp on her bedside-table nearby brightens like an ex-voto. And the doctor is the Holy of Holies, he's the father of all saints, he's Jesus Christ.”
This is how Nicola narrates his 35 years of “madhouse electroshock” and in his confused mind, reality and imagination clash, by producing inevitable flashes of inspiration.
Nicola was born in the Sixties, “the fantastic Sixties” and the world he sees inside the hospital is not so different from the one running outside, a more and more voracious world where the only thing that seems to never run out is the fear.
Ascanio Celestini will also perform live the monologue Silhouettes, an extract of the book “Io Cammino In Fila Indiana” (2011).
Followed by Q&A with Nico Marzano (ICA)
Ascanio Celestini is an Italian actor, director, and author. He has always been keenly interested in the commedia dell’arte and had run a number of workshops. Since his first play Cicoria (1998), centered on Pasolini, he has performed numerous monologues based on testimonies and encounters. His film La pecora nera (2010) was an official selection at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, and his latest story collection is titled Io cammino in fila indiana (Einaudi, 2011).
Nico Marzano is the Film and Cinema Manager at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (ICA). Recent curatorial work includes a film season on the Italian director Elio Petri, and coming up in November 2014, a full retrospective of Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Decalogue, including a selection of his early works. He has regularly contributed to Film Ireland as well as various academic film journals.