Day 15: Romeo Castellucci



A boy leaning against a big round window, looking at  flowers. It’s an image I’ll probably never forget. But strangely enough, I’m not so sure I will able to say the same for Purgatorio.

Romeo Castellucci is a magician. No doubt about that. There’s some wonderful things to be seen in Purgatorio, the second part of Castellucci’s version of Dante’s masterpiece La divina commedia. For starters there’s the amazing house the three protagonists of Purgatorio call their home. The kitchen, the living room, the boy’s bedroom. As if they were taken right out of David Lynch’s dreamworld. Then there’s the boy’s gigantic robot, and the window I already mentioned.

The much-fêted Italian director, once again, conjures up a few striking, even hallucinatory images, while he is telling this tale dealing with quite a few heavy issues: father and son, violation, sin, remorse, atonement, redemption and a lost Eden. But the strange thing is: although I’m in awe of these images, and of Romeo Castellucci’s theatrical powers, in a strange way I feel shut out. However poetic all of this may be, it’s a language that doesn’t draw me in. It’s as if I’m staring at a wall.

I feel as if  Castellucci is going one step too far, in his intellectual approach to the whole matter. There’s a reason for everything. But the reasoning eludes me. I needed the essay in the KunstenFestivalDesArts-brochure, written by his sister Claudia (co-founder of Castellucci’s Societas Raffaello Sanzio), to get an inkling of what all this means and how it is linked to Dante’s themes.

So, yes, I will remember that window. And, no, I won’t remember Purgatorio. And why that is, will keep on to be a fascinating affair to me. Because I’ve read quite a few reviews of people who were extremely touched and shocked by this intense piece of work.

(photo credit: Academie Anderlecht – Almudena Crespo)


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