Salvatore Mereu

Italy, 2020 / 131 min / Italian OV with French & English subt. / Drama

When a fire ravages his farm stay and takes the life of his son, a father has to deal with burning remorse.

Soaked to the skin, Costantino sinks into the haystack like old timber left on the shore by a stormy sea. Torrential rain has just put out the fire that in a single night ravaged Assandira, a farm stay deep in the woods of Sardinia. But the rain hasn’t quenched the pain, the endless remorse for the son lost to the flames, the son he was unable to save. The first to arrive are the carabinieri and the young investigating magistrate: Costantino tries to tell them what happened the previous night, to explain how it all began.

Assandira is an itinerary within an understanding of human nature, an attempt to explore the most hidden, silent feelings, which nevertheless end up by moving things and people even when kept at bay.” Director’s statement by Salvatore Mereu


Mon 08/03 19:30 Ciné Utopia IT OV with EN subt. Public
Tue 09/03 10:00 Public
Thu 11/03 16:00 Ciné Utopia IT OV with EN subt. Public
Fri 12/03 19:00 Cinémathèque IT OV with EN & FR subt. Public

Assandira is Mereu’s riskiest film to date, castigating the commodification of rural heritage in a way that keeps revealing unexpected depths, muddying any attempt at easy conclusions. It’s structured like a classic detective story […] [but] [a]s the storyline develops […] it folds together a derisive depiction of tourist insensitivity with something much darker, something that’s rotting in the depths, which claims an affinity with nature but in truth mocks it and corrodes natural links. Shot with an earthy intimacy and featuring an achingly powerful performance by Gavino Ledda […] Ledda’s dignified, grounded performance anchors everything, his profound grief at the start becoming even more powerful once the full scope of his sorrow and shame are understood. König is also a compelling performer, intimidating in her provocative, calculated sexuality, and it’s thanks to her potent aura that the character remains vibrantly real rather than a caricature of the German in Italy.” Jay Weissberg, Variety, 09/09/2020

“The author of powerful works such as Ballo a tre passi, Sonetàula (in the 2008 Berlinale’s Panorama line-up) and Pretty Butterflies (Orizzonti, Venice 2013), this is Mereu’s most ambitious and complex film, bolstered by long sequence shots which lend greater authenticity to the story and its protagonist.” Camillo De Marco, Cineuropa 06/09/2020

  • FEDIC Award – Special Mention, Venice Film Festival, 2020 (Italy)
Cast & Credits
Gavino Ledda, Anna König, Marco Zucca, Corrado Giannetti, Samuele Mei, Pierluigi Riccio, Alessandro Pala
Salvatore Mereu, based on the eponymous novel by Giulio Angioni
Sandro Chessa
Piergiuseppe Fancellu, Marco Saitta, Francesco Albertelli, Mauro Eusepi
Marianna Sciveres
RAI Cinema
The Match Factory

Salvatore Mereu was born in the Sardinian town of Dorgali in 1965. He began exploring the relationship between tradition and modernity in his native Sardinia with his first feature film, Three-Step Dance (2003) which won the Venice Critics' Week and took home both the David di Donatello and Ciak d'Oro for the best up-and-coming director. His second feature, Sonetàula (2008), was screened in the Panorama section of the Berlinale, and won two Italian Golden Globes, as well as the Biarritz Festival FIPA d'Or for the best screenplay. Salvatore Mereu returned to the Venice Film Festival with his 2010 feature Tajabone, as well as with Bellas Mariposas which screenedin the 2012 Orizzonti strand.His fifth feature film, Assandira (2020), premiered once more in Venice.

  • 2020 – Assandira
  • 2012 – Bellas mariposas
  • 2010 – Tajabone
  • 2008 – Sonetàula
  • 2003 – Ballo a tre passi
  • 1995 – Notte rumena (short)
  • 1990 – L'anno bisestile (documentary short)