Wednesday 22.5. / 6.45 pm / Kinoteka Cinema

La chimera

Italy/France/Switzerland, 2023, 130'
Director: Alice Rohrwacher · Screenplay: Alice Rohrwacher, Carmela Covino, Marco Pettenello · Photography: Hélène Louvart · Editing: Nelly Quettier · Production: Carlo Cresto Dina, Paolo Del Brocco (producers); Olga Lamontanara, Michela Pini, Olivier Père, Amel Soudani (co-producers); Tempesta Rai Cinema, Ad Vitam Production, Amka Films Productions, RSI-Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Arte France Cinéma · Roles: Josh O'Connor, Carol Duarte, Vincenzo Nemolato, Alba Rohrwacher, Isabella Rossellini

We all have our own Chimera, something we want to achieve but can never find. For a gang of robbers targeting Etruscan tombs, the Chimera means freedom from labour and a dream of easy money. For Arthur, the Chimera means Benjamina, a woman he lost. Trying to find her, he challenges the invisible, looks everywhere, and goes into the earth itself in order to find the mythical door to the afterlife. On a magical-realistic journey between the living and the dead, between forests and cities, parties and solitude, the fates of colourful and eccentric characters are intertwined, all in search of the Chimera. This dreamy picaresque drama set in Tuscany in the 1980s also grapples with materialism seeping into every pore of society. Children are taught that the invisible isn’t real (including the mythical daughter of Typhon and Echidna, who was a lion in the front, a dragon in the back, and a goat in the middle), and money becomes the only means of empowerment. Just like other Alice Rohrawcher films, La chimera reveals the filmmaker’s fascination with unusual communities that cultivate specific codes of behaviour and collective values – from its destructive aspect in the form of tombaroli (grave robbers), who are joined by the renegade archaeologist Arthur after losing the only person who connected him with the living world, to its constructive, emancipating aspect in the form of an abandoned train station that Italia transforms into a communal home where he can start a new life (“if it belongs to no one, it means it belongs to everyone”). At the same time, the film itself goes beyond identifying with the main (anti)hero’s story – it is just one of many threads that form a complex pattern, like those we find on ancient Etruscan ornaments – and becomes a collective ritual.

Awards and Festivals:

Cannes Film Festival (2023) – world premiere, AFCAE Art House Cinema award; Chicago International Film Festival (2023) – Best Cinematography, Best Ensemble Cast Performance; European Film Awards (2023) – European Production Designer; David di Donatello Awards – 13 nominations; São Paulo International Film Festival (2023) – audience award; Valladolid International Film Festival (2023) – Silver Spike for best film; Festival Cinéma Méditerranéen de Bruxelles (2023) – Official Jury Special Prize; Telluride Film Festival (2023) – Silver Medallion


Alice Rohrwacher (Fiesole, 1981) is an Italian director and screenwriter known for her films Corpo celeste (2011), The Wonders (2014), which won the Grand Prix at Cannes, and Happy as Lazzaro (2018), which received the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay and was also nominated for four European Film Awards. The documentary Futura (2014), which she directed in collaboration with Pietro Marcello and Francesco Munzi, was shown at the 14th Subversive Film Festival.