NEGUS by Invernomuto – Screening and Talk at Cinema Trevi in Rome

Cineteca Nazionale presents Negus, a new film by Invernomuto, on Friday the 11th of March 2016 at Cinema Trevi in Rome. Invernomuto, or Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi, are two italian artist-filmmakers who have collaborated as an artistic duo since 2003. Employing a “multi-format” experimental approach, they integrate sculpture, publishing and performance in their practice.

Begun as a multimedia installation in 2011 at the PAC of Ferrara, then presented in a film version at the ninth edition of the Premio Furla and in various other exhibition venues in diverse forms, the screening of segments from the film Negus is the final chapter of a project that has multiple semantic layers. The film follows a circular structure, and its locations (the vertexes of a triangle which unites Vernasca, Ethiopia and Jamaica) are constantly mixed, almost superimposed, demanding that the viewer abandon the limitations of geographical orientation. Indeed, it lingers on the in-between spaces, uniting the narrative in a sensual contemplative mood.

The Negus project (or cycle of works) grew out of a historical event dating back to the Fascist period, explain Invernomuto. In the colonial era after the conquest of Abyssinia, effigies of the last Negus of Ethiopia, Hailé Salassié I, were burned in the main squares of some Italian towns, including the duo’s hometown, Vernasca; the episode in Vernasca – of which no photos remain, only oral accounts – coincided with a soldier’s victorious return to the village from the colonial war. Hence, continuing Invernomuto’s constant excavation of their native area, Negus brings together historical fact, obscure local rituals and celebrations, cultural phantoms and political scenarios from the recent past. It proposes that the trajectories of peoples, ideologies and mythologies are never one way vectors, but always exist in the complexity of infinite feedback and recourse.

The overture of Negus (the film) is focused on Italy: Vernasca and Rome, narrating some specific chilling moments of Italian colonial conquest in Ethiopia. From here we move to Ethiopia, to a town called Shashamane, one of the most ancient Rasta communities outside of Jamaica. Shashamane was founded on land granted by Hailé Selassié I himself to diasporic Africans to return to the promised land (in support of the “back to Africa movement”). The move to Jamaica is spontaneous and natural, facing Rastafarianism’s initial and continued repression in Jamaican society, and later, its global impact through reggae music and sound system culture. Bob Marley’s sound engineer explains the scientific and religious importance of bass frequencies for Jamaican music, and how they serve as a vehicle to reach a meditative and revolutionary state of consciousness. Finally, Lee “Scratch” Perry, a key figure in the history of Jamaican contemporary music, the godfather of dub music and an architect of the foundational sounds of reggae, has a double presence in the film: as a spiritual ghost in the Black Ark, his recording studio in Kingston, Jamaica, which he burned to the ground in the 80’s – and, as a master of ceremony in Invernomuto’s hometown. Lee Perry’s spiritual practice is a Gnostic Rastafarianism that treats fire as a powerful meditative and magical force. His performance in Vernasca closes the film, an epiphany that combines the multiple routes of the project in one singular ritual of purification and resurrection.

8:30 pm – Meeting with Invernomuto and Roberto Silvestri.
Moderated by Alessandra Mammì.

Booking essential:

Free entrance to the following screenings:

4pm – Africa addio di Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi (1966, 138’)
6:25pm – Lo squadrone bianco di Augusto Genina (1936, 96’)

Cinema Trevi – vicolo del Puttarello, 25 Roma
Friday 11 March 2016