On my skin: a story that must never be repeated again

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“I was struck immediately by the similarity that Alessandro Borghi managed to reach with Stefano. The voice, the way of speaking. The way of walking.

Together with him I saw myself and my parents.

I felt a strange sensation at the beginning. It made me strange that all those good actors were busy trying to play us. The Cucchi family. Who are we, after all, to deserve such attention? I can not believe it seems surreal to me.

Why so much importance? I even felt a little ashamed to see us represented on that big screen in front of me, in front of everyone.

But then I relived my brother, the last moments when I saw him alive and then all the rest. Until recognition at the morgue. I relived everything, every single moment of his and of our ordeal. Needless to talk about renewed pain. I saw our lives inside that screen. With a lump in my throat I hoped, throughout the projection, that at a certain point the story narrated deviated by upsetting the course of events for a different ending. An ending maybe not quite at the end but still different.

No come on – I thought – Stefano can not die like that, in this atrocious way. Of pain.

Maybe someone in extremis intervenes and takes care of him and saves him. Perhaps those who beat him go unpunished and he remains in prison but alive, and we can finally see him again. But Stefano does not make it and he does not stay in prison.

The film ends and Stefano is dead. A different ending is not possible.

Now it’s free and looks at us from up there.

He was an exceptional guy simply because he was my brother. It did not have to end this way but it ended.

To don’t let this ever happen again. Because Stefano Cucchi, despite being a last with all his faults, had a soul, and how if he had it!

Because we all have a story behind us, a soul inside to save, even if we are last and unknown.

It must never happen again”.

I do not think there are better words than those used by Ilaria Cucchi to tell “On my skin”. The film tells the story of Stefano Cucchi, the thirty-one Roman died in the Sandro Pertini hospital on October 22, 2009 while he was in custody.

The director, Alessio Cremonini, managed to tell without a frills a time span of a week: the last seven days of Stefano, from the stop for drug dealing and detention of substances, until the recognition in the morgue by the parents. A syncopated rhythm, a gray photograph, full of shadows, as if to explain without words the contradictions and the unsaid saying of this whole story.

Stefano’s story is an affair in which it is not easy to tell who are the good ones and who the bad ones. Not even him has understood it, because he did not know who to talk to, how much speak. He did not know who to ask for help and how help to ask.

Just this torments you.

As Alessandro Borghi, Stefano’s extraordinary interpreter, said: “While I was acting I wanted to shout ‘help’ in place of Cucchi”. It is true, while watching the film, it is spontaneous to shout: “speaks Stefano speaks”. But now he can not anymore.

“On my skin” is a clean film without rhetoric, it does not take anyone’s parts. Sefano is not presented in a way that looks nice. He presents himself as he was, with his lights and his shadows, in his strange normality. No sympathy and no hero. Only the normality of a family like the others. A family that has faced the drug problems of the son and who thinks, unaware, that he has come out.

Empathy comes later, if anything in martyrdom, in pain, in suffering. Not only the human condition of those battered by beatings, untreated and not helped, lives his last moments of life. But, let me pass an “above all”, with parents and sister who know, they know that Stefano in prison is not well. They can not see him, to understand how it is, until they get home the death notice.

For absurd the empathy is felt, even if for a small frame, for that young carabiniere who knows what happened, he witnessed the barbarism and who knows if he participated, that in meeting the crumpled look of Stefano, shows frightened that the truth comes to the surface. Then there is only the wait for death. Because if we stay here talking, we all know how the story ended.

The cast is extraordinary: Alessandro Borghi, thin and ugly, managed to shake off the role of Bully Aureliano Adami of Suburra, as well as those of the playboy of Napoli Velata. We are probably facing one of the best actors in recent years. Jasmine Trinca was able to perfectly interpret Ilaria Cucchi, Stefano’s sister, whose voice and movements we now know. Trinca perfectly manages to transport the spectator from anger, from the behavior of his brother, to despair, to the frantic search for justice.

But the real surprise of this film is Max Tortora, who, interpreting Stefano’s father, has freed himself from his role as a comic actor, sometimes a speck, playing with intensity a paternal, protective and very intense role.

The film despite being on Netflix, in two days was seen at the cinema by about 15 thousand people. Also because, according to many critics, it is a very well done film, to be looked at even as a film, regardless of the story it tells.

But history, the real one, it is good that it be known. Because it must never happen again.

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