Monday, 02 March 2020 10:56

When Gorbačëv changed Giffoni: the Nobel prize, who visited the festival in 1997, remembered on the occasion of his 89th birthday

This is not a commonplace": it is perhaps the most suitable phrase to describe the men and women who have accompanied Giffoni's evolution over the past 50 years. Oscar and Nobel prizes, politicians, actors, directors, protagonists of different eras, capable of talking about the world to thousands of young people gathered in a small area of ​​the Picentines. On 2 March, on the occasion of an important anniversary, the 89th birthday of Nobel proze Michail Gorbačëv, one cannot help remembering his visit to the Giffoni Film Festival in 1997.

The presence of the former Soviet president in Giffoni was strongly desired by the director Claudio Gubitosi: "At the time of the perestroika - he recalls - his face was very popular, Gorbachev appeared every day on television and in newspapers. I realized how much his image affected the imagination of the youth and I decided that I had have him at my festival. Giffoni's stage is for young people to whom we have always tried to convey a sense of hope and certainty. In this sense, his presence was a further opportunity to tell them about the great events of our time”.

And on 23 July 1997, Michail Gorbachev arrived in Giffoni Valle Piana accompanied by his wife Raissa. To welcome him, in addition to a very large audience flocked from every corner of the province and the Campania region, the young jurors of the twenty-seventh edition. An excited and incredulous crowd, capable of transmitting all the warmth of a country ready to embrace a key figure of that time.

Subdued by the questions and curiosities of young people about his favorite cinematographic works, Gorbachev expressed himself as follows: “I could talk about it until tomorrow. I love many Italian artists, Mastroianni, Sordi, la Muti ... And I love the Russians. I have a portrait of Tarkovsky in my house, his widow gave it to me, to thank me for what we have done to enhance his works. I also like American cinema, even if it often focuses more on business than on human values".  And he continued: “I never thought of a film inspired by my books, but if it were to happen I would be happy to be rewarded by the youth of Giffoni. Here is the joy and spontaneity of the world ". The love for culture and art shown by the former Soviet president is enormous: "Literature, theater, cinema are the greatest passions we have in the family: the most expert is our daughter Irina. In general, it is she and Raissa who choose what to watch, but they are able to convince me quite easily”.

With this little memory, Giffoni wants to take this opportunity to wish Michail Gorbachev a happy birthday. A fundamental man: "without him the Berlin wall would never have collapsed", as Gubitosi likes to remember. "If the wind of change had not started to blow from the Kremlin - adds the director - Perestrojka, that gentle revolution that allowed to change the fate of Europe and the world, would never have become reality. With Gorbačëv also Giffoni changed. It was a few very intense hours, his face crossed the curiosity of the jurors, stimulated their desire for freedom, to understand the difficult and sometimes obscure things behind the geopolitical balances".

23 years after that meeting, our thoughts must not stop at the memory. It must reiterate the need to always testify the need for freedom as an irrepressible need for the human being. Giffoni, a place of peace, will always testify to these values.