70th Berlin International Film Festival: Semina Il Vento Review

Nica (Yile Yara Vianello), a 21-year-old student, returns to Apulia to her parents’ home after being gone for three years. There, she finds that her father (Espedito Chionna) struggles with debts, the local workers are about to be laid off and her grandmother’s land and its olive trees are dying of an insect infestation. Deeply attached to nature and her family’s land, Nica is desperate to find the solution to save the olive trees. While trying to resolve the issue with the land, the girl discovers that due to her parents’ financial problems, her father agrees to a drastic measure by allowing a local mafia to enter the land. 


Photo © Semina Il Vento

Nica is stubborn and deeply touched by the suffering of the trees, but as time is running out, she comes into conflict with her father and the locals. Although she finds the answer to the infestation, she is quickly silenced by the family as her father tells her: “you worry about the trees, not the people”. While Nica wants to build a different future for herself, sadly, her life philosophy is fated to collide with the one of her father, in whose mind, nature – his land in particular – is the source of money, nothing more, nothing less. 

The subtle yet strong character of Nica is beautifully incorporated into the story of a land that is in great need of saving. The protagonist’s profound connection to nature and the past belief that nature is the source of all life – almost seen as a pagan one – builds an absorbing bridge between humans and nature.


Photo © Semina Il Vento

Semina Il Vento is Danilo Caputo’s second feature in which he wasn’t afraid to use the tradition of paganism as opposed to the background of the Catholic country that Italy is. The filmmaker also intertwines that old tradition into a modern yet conservative way of living of the Apulian people. The film is rich in beautiful cinematography and camera work, with a few head-on frontal views which make the viewer feel engaged with the subject as well as Nica’s character. In addition, the use of natural sounds in the film creates a deep atmosphere and reinforces Semina Il Vento‘s narrative.


Photo © Semina Il Vento

It took two years for Caputo to find his perfect Nica, but when he found her, Yile Yara Vianello gave the character an “inner life”. Her intimate and spiritual relationship with nature gave another perspective and a deeper understanding of how one might grasp nature itself. 

The film arguably reflects on the importance of the environment and humanity’s personal attachment to it. The portrait of Nica’s rebellion against the conservative locals of Apulia is one we ought to pay attention to; her protest is not another Rebellion Extinction battle, but a call for an understanding that without nature, we have no place to exist.

Rating: image-2

Written by Maggie Gogler

Edited by Julia Litwinowicz

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