Celati travels along the Po delta - the place in which the stories in the collection Verso la foce are set - on a blue coach together with about thirty friends and relatives. They are followed in a car by friend and photographer Luigi Ghirri, who portrays them in their encounters with the inhabitants and important people of the towns they visit.
With his photographs, Luigi Ghirri taught us to look at things affectively. Gianni Celati collaborated with Ghirri for many years in the study of landscape and in various researches on location. The documentary celebrates the photographer's work through the places he loved most. From the "camera obscura" of the Fontanellato castle, the images take flight on a journey through the countryside of Reggio Emilia, preserving the sense of an ongoing exploration. The plains and architecture typical of those areas, are the key to understanding the spirit of the places, which is manifested when a group of friends gather for an outdoor banquet, on a spring evening, on the banks of the Po River, with a projection of Ghirri's photos...
The countryside around the Po River, from Piedmont to the delta, is dotted with abandoned farmhouses. The surrounding landscape appears deserted, almost completely devoid of human presence. Gianni Celati documents the tragedy and loss of values in this new desolated landscape. The documentary unfolds on several narrative levels: a visit to a series of "collapsing houses"; the crew's journey on a small train through the countryside; the presence of a narrator - English writer John Berger - who explains the problem of ruins in our world; and a monologue on the collapse of peasant culture and the abandonment of old houses prepared by an actress, Bianca Maria D'Amato, together with her director, Alberto Sironi.
What’s it like to live in Africa? The festivals, the work, the mating calls, the relationship with neighbors, the religion: like Moravia and Pasolini in the 1970s, Gianni Celati uncovers the essence and appearance of another world. With a light, affectionate, and complicit gaze, he conveys to us the cheerfulness and peace, the splendor of women's dresses during festivals, the swarming of children, the slow and cautious survival of the village of Diok Kadd, where two hundred people live and that is mostly governed by women. There is no idealization, but there is undoubtedly the perception of a "different" time, a time that speaks with the voice of wind, that touches us closely.
1997. While Giovanni Lindo Ferretti and Massimo Zamboni of C.S.I. travel in Mongolia, Ferrario, on the other side of the same parallel (halfway between the North Pole and the Equator), travels the Po Valley with a Mongolian's eye. A film without a story but not without a very precise sense, with extraordinary images and atmosphere, underscored by music from the last C.S.I. album that would shortly become a huge success.
The Emilia plain until the Po River Delta lies close to the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. In this middle land, there are many research routes and itineraries. The crew's route follows a double track: the search for Sondolo, a small village in the Ferrara area where Gianni Celati's mother came from, and the journey made at the turn of the century by the woman's family to move from Portomaggiore to Ferrara.