A Journey through Italy: The Constitutional Court in Prisons

Seven judges of the Constitutional Court meet inmates of seven Italian prisons: Rebibbia in Rome, San Vittore in Milan, the juvenile prison of Nisida, Sollicciano in Florence, Marassi in Genoa, Terni, Lecce women’s section.

Clipper Media

in collaboration with
Rai Cinema

Sandro Bartolozzi

Executive producer
Barbara Meleleo

Direction and Screenplay
Fabio Cavalli

Antonello Sarao

Gianluca Rame

Original Soundtrack
Richard Cimino

Live sound engineer
Stefano Civitenga

Sound design
Richard Cimino

Duration and Format
87′ | color | 16:9

Press office
Lucrezia Viti

Press Material


Seven judges of the Constitutional Court meet the inmates of seven Italian prisons: Rebibbia in Rome, San Vittore in Milan, the juvenile prison of Nisida, Sollicciano in Florence, Marassi in Genoa, Terni, Lecce women’s section. To accompany them, the prison police officer Sandro Pepe.

For the first time since its founding in 1956, the Constitutional Court – which by its nature is judge of the laws and not of people, even if its decisions have a profound effect on people’s lives – decides to enter prison. The journey begins in Rebibbia, with the participation of 12 judges and President Giorgio Lattanzi, in the presence of 220 prisoners, the public and institutional authorities. A live streaming allows 11,000 inmates from other prisons in Italy to attend virtually, to follow an absolutely unprecedented meeting, which is unprecedented not only in the history of our Republic but also in the world.

The film is the story of the encounter between two types of human realities, both “closed” behind a wall and apparently at the antipodes: on the one hand constitutional legality, on the other illegality, but also social marginality. Through listening and dialogue, the journey becomes an opportunity for mutual exchange of knowledge, experiences, and sometimes emotions. But it is also the metaphor of a language that knows no physical barriers, and which indeed gets across them, because it is the language of the Constitution, a home of everyone, especially of those who are most vulnerable.

The meeting will be destined to change the gaze of the protagonists, not without repercussions on their daily lives as women and men.

Director’s Notes

Thinking about the making of a docu-film that tells the story of the meeting between the judges of the Constitutional Court and the Italian prisons, Guido Piovene’s “Journey through Italy” comes to mind. Even in the difference of eras, intentions and contexts, for this work I took on one principle that belonged to Piovene: to really go and discover what one illusorily believes he knows. The goal is to open our gaze to the aspects of reality that are not in the light, covered by the glow of the reliefs; find the shadow in the round.

Stories of travel and encounters; men, women, unique and ordinary people (Judges, Prisoners, prison staff…); stories of unexpected places (the Prisons, their architectural habitat and their anthropological context); and stories of visually powerful landscapes, their profound spirit, drawn by time, also affecting the spirit of the people who live there.

This journey is giving three-dimensionality to the Constitution of the Italian Republic, through the points of view of its custodians and interpreters: the judges. And the same with that “system of punishment”, that is so evoked, vilified and invoked, and fundamentally unknown. The meeting between those of the Institution and the men and women who have violated it, could succeed in shedding some light into the shadows.

Fabio Cavalli

Fabio Cavalli holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and a Diploma from the Academy of the National Theater of Genoa. Actor, director, author, set designer, producer, university professor, he has collaborated with the major protagonists of the Italian scene (Enrico Maria Salerno, Franco Zeffirelli, Alberto Lionello, Gastone Moschin, Sandro Sequi, Mario Missiroli).

As an author, he won the International Theater and Science Award (1996), the Lazio Theater Award – Fondi La Pastora (1998), the Sicily Award (2001), the Anima Award for Theater (2009).

Founder of the Teatro Libero di Rebibbia, since 2003 he has created about twenty shows with inmate-actors. He is Director of the “Enrico Maria Salerno” historical archive. Author of numerous documentaries and docu-films, in 2012 he was the screenwriter of “Cesare must die” by the brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, which was recognised with the Golden Bear at the 62nd edition of the Berlin International Film Festival, 5 David di Donatello and Silver Ribbon 2012, Italian candidate for the 2012 Oscars. In 2016 he received the special mention of the Jury Migrarti Award at the Venice Film Festival for the short movie “Shipwreck with a spectator”, on the problem of Islamist radicalism in prisons. He teaches “Ethics and aesthetics of theater in prison” at DAMS RomaTre University.

Press Review

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