Burnt. Land of Fire

Grigio. Terra bruciata

  • Ben Donateo
  • Switzerland, Italy
  • 2020
  • 15 min
  • International Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

All the senses are engaged in this meticulously composed landscape film about the depopulation of the southern Italian countryside. Framed in 1:1 format, the crystal-clear shots draw the viewer ever deeper into a silent world, a village inhabited only by old people.

We see bare hills and empty streets, the solitary figure of an elderly woman shuffling along, and a dog taking a nap. A whispering voice tells us about the past and the present. About the landscape and the village. About the time when people were hungry but happy. “You hardly ever hear anyone talking anymore.” The repetitions have an incantational quality about them. The dominant chirping of crickets is occasionally broken by the sound of sheep’s hooves and a church bell. The emptiness is almost palpable.

Never-completed and crumbling farm buildings stand on the parched earth that no one cultivates anymore. The buildings, like the few remaining residents, have been ravaged by time. The only movement seems to come from the rotating blades of the wind turbines, a sign of progress.


  • 15 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Italian
  • Subtitles in: English
Ben Donateo
Ben Donateo
Executive producer
Jenny Covelli
D.R.C. Creativity Productions
Ben Donateo

IDFA history

International Premiere
IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

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IDFA history

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