LOVERS GOES INDUSTRY 2022
CARMINE - CANTO DI STRADA
ORIGINAL TITLE: Carmine - canto di strada
ENGLISH TITLE: Carmine - Street chant
DIRECTOR: Andrea Grasselli
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Malfé Film and Onira
with the collaboration of Collective OmVideo
PRODUCERS: Enrico Giovannone, Matteo Tortone
CO-PRODUCERS/CO PRODUCTIONS: Filippo Schiaffino, Rodolfo Lissia and Andrea Grasselli
COUNTRY: Italy, Netherlands
RUNNING TIME: 80'
GENRE: Creative Documentary
STATUS OF THE PROJECET: Development
Goals at Lovers Goes Industry: Funds, Sales Agents/Distribution, Festival Screening
Zenerù (doc, 30’, 2021)
Nostalgia for an unfamiliar state of being (doc, 73', 2019)
Babel - Judgment day (web-doc, 150', 2019)
Solemn triduum of the dead (doc, 14’, 2017)
Incant - the statues auction (doc, 25’, 2017)
Someone said: let them sleep (doc, 26’, 2015)
Vortex outside (doc, 60’, 2014)
The game (web-doc, 2013)
The personalities of Armandə, a cross-dressed, photographer and sex worker, converse with his past and the changing of
Carmine district in Brescia, immersing the audience in the fluidity of gender and community.
The room is no longer like the damp and dirty one in the “Casa delle Bambole” (Doll’s House), a dilapidated apartment
block inhabited entirely by the trans* world in Brescia in the 1970s. Today the renovated flat is clean and tidy. The
welcome is always the same: to satisfy the pleasures of clients and lovers.
Armanda and Armando lead their lives, harmoniously exchanging roles. Like a Virgilo in two voices, they accompany us through the district and introduce us to the people who live there; they go back in time to a distant past and reflect
themselves in the transformations of our contemporary world. Armandəʼs duality has given her a privileged position to
get to know the neighborhood and all its realities in greater depth, by day and by night. Since the end of the 1960s, when
he moved to Carmine, Armandə began to work as a sex worker and to photograph the trans* world of Brescia, made up of
clients, friends and colleagues. Her/his photographic heritage shows the artist able to express direct, raw and intimate
emotions with ease; a personality that mirrors Nan Goldin in New York. Two identities united by a passion for
photography and an adoration of sex. She and he entwined in an erotic, affective and loving embrace.
"I put on make-up and disguise myself, and then become a man again in five minutes; without letting the actress leave
completely to give away to the other me". (Armandə)
Today we follow Armandə in his daily life, between the sacred and the profane, between prayers and prostitution,
between perversions and bourgeoisie, between love and friendship. Through an emotional journey we discover that
Armandə over time has acquired a central social role in the neighborhood community and in the trans* microcosm. The
background context is that of the Carmine district, near by the well know Piazza della Loggia in Brescia; a fragmented
and heterogeneous reality: a scene of immigration, crime, artists, solidarity, prostitution, vitality and drug dealing.
People and friends huddle around her/him: they know that Armandə is the last outpost of that romantic and painful
world of which they still have vivid memories.
Armandəʼs fragile stability in the face of death, painfully formed in the past with the disappearance of numerous
colleagues and in the present with a colleague suffering from ALS and his drug-addicted ex-wife, is now further
undermined by her illness. Armanda and Armando must come together again to face it. How long can Armanda continue
to profess her vocation? What will become of Armandoʼs photographic heritage?
Armandəʼs performative life shows that there is no single identity, that sex is not stable and that gender can be a
constantly changing performance. Disguises, listening to oneʼs own body, emotions and carnal acts are portrayed in the
film in a direct way: performative actions, expressions of the deepest desires, manifestations of the perversions of the
human soul in an attempt to free itself from cultural factors.
With references among Pirandello and Goffman, the intention is to present reality as a show, challenging the
documentary practices and investigating the presentation of Self in everyday life.
The themes of gender, sex working, urban gentrification, identities and self-representation are the structural background
of the narrative of the protagonistʼs existence, in an emotional storytelling that investigates the dynamics of life through
the passions, pulses and needs of Armandəʼs multiple lives.
My intention is to research, learn about and restore, through a poetic use of audiovisual language, the experiences,
gestures and acts of individuals and their communities. My practice is based on building bonds of mutual respect and
esteem with the protagonists of the narratives. I pay particular attention to the interactions between people and the
environment (as habitat), investigating the anthropological, sociological and psychological aspects that tell the story of
human beings through their relationships, activities and rituals. The aim of my work is to immerse the audience in
unusual and original life stories, capable of building bridges to reach other worlds.
The need that drove me to plan this documentary stems from my interest in performance, which I consider a tool for
poetic investigation of the human being. The events are told in the first person and the point of view accompanies the
protagonist throughout the film.
The visual approach aims to restore a close, deeper and non-invasive proximity to the protagonist. The 4:3 aspect ratio of
the images shot today, in order to gather the protagonist more closely in his intimate world, will establish a strong
dialogue with the Super8 images shooted by Armanda in the 1970s at “Casa delle Bambole” (Dollʼs House) and the VHS
videos from the 1990s made during Armandoʼs many travels, among fragrances, foods and exotic loves.
Building a timeless and non-chronological story, the sound design of the film will have the crucial role of overlapping the
temporal layers, creating sound environments linked to the past on the images of the present-day and contemporary
sounds on the archive images.
I got to know Armandə, one of the most famous sex workers in Brescia, thanks to the artist Dorothy Bhawl who edited the
book "Lei, Armando" (“Her, Armando”). The book contains images taken by Armandə that represent, with a poetic style
reminiscent of Nan Goldin, moments of his working life between the 1970s and 1980s.
With this documentary, I want to go deep into the personal story in order to deal with collective themes: the innermost
drives and desires, listening to and researching oneʼs own body, reflecting on gender, performance and social role. I
would like with this film to be able to show, as Judith Butler says, the complexity of gender, the limits of identification
and that the gender is a constantly changing performance (the acts are continuously constituting the identity).
In the contemporary world it is difficult, if not impossible, to organize the pieces of our lives into a perfectly and logically
narrative universe. Armandə seems to have found his own possible solution in the fragmentation of the characters she/he
plays. The necessity to tell and tell itself shows that the definition of the Self can never be definitive. Armando and
Armanda, in this whirlwind of emotions, show us the daily challenge that concerns us all: the search for our own
Andrea Grasselli. Author, director and producer. He is one of the founders of the OmVideo collective. His research is
aimed at experimenting different ways of storytelling the relationship between the individuals and their communities,
exploring its most intimate dimensions and the sphere of collective rituality for immersing the audience inside of
identities of the documentary's characters. He also cooperates with artists, performers and sound artists to create
installations and exhibitions.
Enrico Giovannone. Editor and producer. He founded BabyDoc Film in 2007. He has produced and edited, among others,
documentaries by Daniele Gaglianone, Andrea Deaglio, Enrico Verra. In 2016 he founded Malfé Film.
Matteo Tortone. Filmmaker and producer. His last film Mother Lode (prod. France, Swiss, Italy), winner of the Eurimages
Lab Award2019 and has premiered at 36° Settimana Internazionale della Critica at the 78° Mostra del Cinema di Venezia.
Rodolfo Lissia. Filmmaker and producer. Director and producer, he began making video clips and short films from a
young age, founding the film studio Rombo Productions in 2012. His works have been screened and won prizes at
numerous international festivals, including the 49th WorldFest-Houston Film Festival, the Heartland Film Festival and
the 32th Girona Film Festival.
Filippo Schiaffino. Producer. Filippo worked at Groenlandia, a leading Italian production company, creator of
award-winning films and TV shows produced in partnership with international players such as Netflix, Amazon and Sky,
where he specialised in production, financing and budgeting. Together with Rodolfo Lissia, he co-founded the
production company Onira, focusing on original and inspiring artistic voices with an international appeal.
Malfé Film. In the first years of activity, the company focused in the area of creation documentaries: we developed and
produced Tutti pazzi per Paolo by Donato Canosa (2018) (with the support of Piemonte Doc Film Fund) and Un uomo
deve essere forte by Elsi Perino and Ilaria Ciavattini, presented at Festival dei Popoli 2019 and other international
festivals, winner of the Female of change Award at Female Filmmakers Film Festival Berlin. In 2018 we collaborated with
Vrai Vrai Film (France) for the production of Joel Akafou's Traverser (After the Crossing), presented at Berlinale 2020 and
Vision du Réel. Our internationalization work has led us to present our projects at the most important international
festivals and industry markets. Our interest in a cinema that explores the line between reality and fiction does not stop at
creative documentaries: in 2017 we produced Bar Malfé, with the support of FCTP a self-produced fiction film and in 2019
we co-produced with Atacama Film and Ouverts the short film Zheng by Giacomo Sebastiani.
The growth process of our company is based on the constant investment in the internationalisation of projects, both in
the development of international collaborations and in the constant presence in international industry events. Over the
years we have presented projects or participated in various capacities in: Industry Days in Turin, Milano FIlm Network,
Mia, CPH Doc Market, When East Meet West, Thessaloniki Agora, Nebulae Doc Lisboa, Ventana Sur, European Film
Market, Cinéma du Réel. Mother Lode by Matteo Tortone is a co-production with France and Switzerland, with the
participation of RTS. It won the Eurimages Lab Award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and had its world
premiere at the 36th Venice International Film Critics' Week, before being presented at numerous international festivals.
International sales of the film are handled by INTRAMOVIES.
The soul of our work is the creative documentary, both because it is the field in which we have developed more skills and
experience, and because we consider it a field of constant experimentation. We are therefore developing two projects by
structured and acknowledged authors from Turin: I'm in Heaven, by Daniele Gaglianone (creative documentary for
cinema) and Healing Trauma by Andrea Deaglio (documentary for TV). In addition to these two projects, we also
developed a documentary by a young and promising author: "Carmine - canto di strada" by Andrea Grasselli.
Onira. An independent film production studio focused on cinematographic works capable of bringing significant topics
to the general public. Founded by Filippo Schiaffino and Rodolfo Lissia and based in Amsterdam (Netherlands), ONIRA's
mission is to support original and inspiring artistic voices with an international appeal. Both Filippo and Rodolfo bring
experience in production and directing, having worked on the development of several feature films - one through the
production company Groenlandia, a leading Italian production company, the other through personal projects shown in
numerous international festivals.
OmVideo. A collective founded in 2011 by Giorgio Affanni and Andrea Grasselli, with the aim of researching through a
poetic use of the audiovisual tools the experiences, the needs and the cultural practices of people and their communities,
with a particular interest in the complex exchange between human beings and their environment. OṃVideo creates
evocative and immersive documentaries, museum installations and multimedia products. The anthropological,
sociological and psychological approach adopted narrates the human experience by focusing on people's relationships,
practices, rituals and legends.