“Il Posto” (“A Steady Job”), which world premiered Tuesday at Visions du Réel film festival, is set to launch in Europe on Franco-German channel ARTE and German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk in September. The film is directed by Italian duo Mattia Colombo and Gianluca Matarrese, whose “Fashion Babylon” premiered recently at CPH:DOX.
“Il Posto,” which is competing in Visions du Réel’s Grand Angle section, takes the viewer on a road movie between southern and northern Italy alongside Italian nurses in search of a steady job.
The bus service is run by Raffaele, an unemployed nurse who decided to set up his own company to help freelance nurses like himself travel to the north at low cost to pass an exam that will secure them a job in the public health system.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hits, Raffaele sees the number of his clients drop and, with his business on the brink of bankruptcy, he decides to go back and take the test himself one last time.
“ ‘Il Posto’ is a documentary about the mirage of a steady job and the tragedy of a nation grappling with unemployment,” Matarrese tells Variety. “It’s a journey into the heart of a great moral and economic social crisis that, although it is set in Italy, in part reflects a European condition.
“The overnight bus journeys and the inhuman mode of recruitment through giant public examinations perfectly embody the social change we are facing. The voice of the nurses is the voice of an entire generation, who make up the emptied, impoverished, devalued workforce. In a changing world of smart working, start-uppers and freelancers, what does it mean to fight for a steady job?,” he asks.
While it follows multiple journeys over several years, delving into the intimacy of each character’s story, from the young graduate nurse to the disenchanted veteran who has lost all trust in the system, or the single mother struggling to make ends meet, the story is always the same, says Colombo.
“Each trip has similar dynamics; the emotional arc is replicated almost identically every time. Even the feelings that move the characters are often similar. And this is why all these overnight journeys, in the end, become a single journey. The end may have the bittersweet taste of defeat but, as in a real road movie, it will bring home our protagonists with a different awareness of who they are, what they dream of and what they want for their future,” says Colombo.
Matarrese is currently working on several new projects including a doc set in an elite Paris high school, a hybrid project based on an adaptation of Emile Zola’s “L’Assommoir” and another on the psychoanalysis of famous drag queen Miss Fame. Colombo is currently in the editing phase of his new doc “Pure Unknown,” about a Milan lab where nameless bodies are identified. He is also co-writing and co-directing a fiction crime series based on the writings of renowned Italian forensic scientist Cristina Cattaneo.
“Il Posto” is an Italian-French co-production between Altara Films and Bocalupo Films with NDR/ARTE and Vosges Télévision, in association with Milan-based outfit The Family, with the support of France’s CNC, Procirep and SCAM.
“Il Posto” picked up pitching and doc lab Agora awards at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in 2020, and two further industry awards in Italy (Medimed and the Milano Film Network).
The festival runs in Nyon, Switzerland until April 17.