Maria, Matteo and Yole; three lives at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, a unique location laden with history, mythology, and literary allusions. Maria lives and works in a plant nursery just downhill from an abandoned Vesuvian villa, while “cultivating” her own intellectual curiosity and discreetly guarding the volcano itself. Matteo is a talented painter who tries his hand at making artworks out of lava which attest to his profound ties to the land; indeed, he has never left. Yole is a “neomelodic” singer, an independent young woman who sees no contradiction in also being a devotee of the Virgin Mary; Yole’s religious feeling is quite common among inhabitants under the volcano, which has embraced icons from Dionysus/Bacchus to San Gennaro. Could it be that the Neapolitans’ proverbial fatalism, which conceals a widely-held religious fervor even now, derives from the vicinity of the volcano itself, which, for two thousand years, has given to the population living at its feet as much as it has taken away? Yet today, where does the greater danger lie? In Vesuvius, which could violently awaken at any time, or in mankind, with all the damage it has done in under one century? This begs the inevitable question of how it has been possible to mar the beauty of this landscape with so many eyesores mushrooming everywhere, from illegal construction to dumping grounds of all kinds? Drawing on the stories of real people, invaluable archive material, and literary sources that evoke the volcano – ranging from Giordano Bruno and the Marquis De Sade to Giacomo Leopardi and Curzio Malaparte – On the Volcano tries to make sense of a “mad, mad land” that ultimately represents us all.
Directors: Gianfranco Pannone Writers: Gianfranco Pannone Producers: Alessandro Bonifazi, Bruno Tribbioli Key cast: Yole Loquercio, Matteo Fraterno, Maria Perfetto