Scorched Earth – Terra Bruciata

A short documentary by David Capone


In the arms of the system

In the middle of one of the hottest summers of all time, we found ourselves lost in the burning streets of the Lazio hinterland, in the direction of Sermoneta, Italy. Suddenly, an old man in a jacket and with a glass eye hangs from a cross and begins to rail against the cars, his face marked with madness and sweat.

Everything happens almost by magic, something of a curse. The beauty of the landscape starts to blend without remedy with an inferno of fire, rubbish, and women selling their body in the sunlight, covered with umbrellas or shadows of abandoned buildings — factories, schools or farmhouses — that today serve as filthy brothels by the hour. That circle lasts but a few miles, until beauty and artworks return to look out between patches of burnt earth.

In Italy, in recent years, fires seem to have become a real business for companies dealing with extinguishing them. But apart from the destruction of landscapes, the most unsettling event is that more and more often, Civil Protection finds irrefutable evidence of intent on what’s left of the places devastated by flames.

“They are destroying our country,” and with it the future of our children, whose destiny will be to learn how to trudge. “Fending for themselves to survive,” in a world that with no more dreams or passions, goes scorched earth all around.


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