Viterbo, the ghost town of Celleno turns into a set for the film about Gioacchino da Fiore | PHOTO – Corriere di Viterbo

The Lazio shooting of the film The Monk Who Conquered the Apocalypse, a work inspired by the life of Gioacchino da Fiore, founder of the Florentine order, one of the most studied prominent Italian figures abroad, has recently been completed. The protagonist chosen by the director is the actor Francesco Turbanti, former protagonist of the film Margini presented in competition at the International Critics’ Week of the 79th Venice International Film Festival. Turbanti is Joachim (Joachim), son of a wealthy family who leaves everything to become a pilgrim, beggar, Cistercian monk, biblical exegete, founder of the Florentine Order. He has mystical experiences and thus begins to develop his first intuitions, prophesying the advent of a new era in the history of humanity. He writes about the Apocalypse authorized by Pope Lucius III. His ideas go beyond space and time, after 400 years they reach Michelangelo, who draws inspiration from them to create the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. After a trip to the Holy Land with the crusaders, Gioacchino decided to change his life. He returns to Italy and reaches Rome and Casamari. He enters the Cistercian monastery where he receives the tonsure, a true ritual that projects man into the divine world. The actor Francesco Turbanti on the set wanted to get a real tonsure, days of diet, barefoot walks, moments of meditation away from the noise in search of silence, the intimate one. A challenging training period to explore the intimate life of a complete monk. The film, shot in very high 12K resolution, is produced by Delta Star Pictures, supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Calabria Film Commission. Directed by Jordan River (one of the pioneers of 3D in Italy), and it will be the first international film inspired by the figure of Gioacchino da Fiore, whom Dante Alighieri defined as ‘gifted with a prophetic spirit’ (he used this expression only for him) . A giant who enlightened consciences in the eleventh century, and beyond, among the most influential figures of our Middle Ages, a monastic reformer and, above all, a visionary. The film – says the director – will also appeal to atheists because it does not focus on miracles, but explores human experiences (what drives a man to leave everything to become a monk?). Joachim – Latin names will be used in the film – investigates the ultimate meaning of life and thus becomes the prophet of hope, the philosopher of human existence, the saint of non-believers. Also referred to as the ‘pictorial thinker’, one of the three examples by him in the world of the Liber Figurarum is jealously preserved in Oxford. After summer filming in unique naturalist locations in southern Italy, the film caravan of ‘The Monk Who Conquered the Apocalypse’ has landed in Lazio, in the most beautiful places a few steps from Rome, with particular attention to those less seen on the big screen . The director wanted breathtaking locations: a magical journey, full of enchantment in the Sasseto Natural Monument Wood. We have crossed Blera, an ancient Roman bridge with three arches, three arches that recall the three trinitarian circles drawn by Gioacchino in the eleventh panel of the Liber Figurarum. Stories that have intertwined in the Ghost Village of Celleno a few minutes from Lake Bolsena, in the Viterbo area.

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Troupe and cast lived the dream experience in Antica Monterano, in the heart of the Regional Nature Reserve. We continued to the Theodoli Castle, in Sambuci, to then enter the abbey walls of the protocoenobium of San Sebastiano in Alatri, an ancient monastery which in about 528 also hosted Benedict of Norcia. We also arrived at the magnificent Fossanova Abbey, the oldest example of Gothic-Cistercian art in Italy, which was already declared a national monument in 1874. On the set at Castello Theodoli (Sambuci, Rome) also the American actor Nikolay Moss, winner of the prestigious Emmy Award (the most important international television award, considered the equivalent of the Oscar for cinema), who played the role of King Richard I of England. Several Italian names in the cast, including the actress Elisabetta Pellini, who played the role of Queen Costanza d’Altavilla, as well as Giancarlo Martini (already co-star in the film Freaks Out). G-Max was also on the set, with a career in the Roman rap scene behind him as well as a creative actor in several national films, who played the character of Clairvaux’s Abbot Galfredus.

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A research work that lasted several years in which, in addition to the director and writer, journalist and screenwriter Michela Albanese, medieval historians and illustrious scholars also collaborated, including Valeria De Fraja (medievalist and member of the Scientific Committee of the International Center of Gioachimiti Studies ) and the well-known philosopher Andrea Tagliapietra (he wrote several books, including on Gioacchino da Fiore for Feltrinelli, as well as director of the Interdisciplinary Research Center of the History of Ideas). In the troupe there are numerous internationally recognized and appreciated professionals, including, just to name a few, the Makeup Supervisor and Special effects Designer Vittorio Sodano (Oscar nomination for Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto and for Sorrentino’s Il Divo, winner of two David di Donatello ), set designer Davide De Stefano (already conceptual artist for the film The knights who made the enterprise by Pupi Avati, production designer for The Cursed Ones and for the recent American production Voice from the Stone by Howell with actress Emilia Clarke, also known for the successful series Game of Thrones), the costume designer Daniele Gelsi (defined as the craftsman of the story, author among other things of some costumes used in the series on Leonardo da Vinci), the Director of Photography Gianni Mammolotti ( DoP of numerous films including Francesco with Raoul Bova di Soavi, Karol’ and The Fourth King), the Camera & Steadicam Operator Federico Martucci (over 40 national films active), sound curated a by Stefano Civitenga and Gianfranco Tortora (sound recordist of over 100 national films).

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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