The Pontifical Council for the Family has coproduced with RAI Cinema and Digital Studio two long video documentaries on the family, each of which lasts 50 minutes: “La famiglia siamo noi” (The family is us),
with a focus on the present-day reality of the family, with its dynamics and on-going changes; “A World of Families
”, the reality of immigrant families in Italy (including interviews with families of Arab origin, from China, Eastern Europe, Romanis, and mixed families).
Both documentaries produced in collaboration with the Italian Radio and Television Company—inspired by an idea of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the President of our Dicastery, and Franco Scaglia, who directed RAI for over forty years and was President of RAI Cinema from 2004 to the spring of 2013—are a part of the project “A World of Families”, for the production of information and transmissions about the family in countries around the world, along with other important national televisions, in preparation for the World Meeting of Families, which will be held in Philadelphia (USA) in 2015. There currently open contacts with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Nigeria and Poland.
The project is directed by Francesca Muci, who also wrote the screenplay, together with Sergio Malatesta and Daniela Giammusso. The editor is Alessandro Marinelli. Sandro Bartolozzi directs the photography. The music was composed by Manuela De Sica. The executive producer is Barbara Meleleo and the Production is by Alex Ponti. Emanuela Bambara has interviewed the director, Francesca Mucii.
1) The documentaries on the family, under your direction, are based on a social survey methodology, which takes into account the complex—affective, relational and emotional—dynamics that often elude speculative research. Is it found in this analysis?
«Yes, of course. It was precisely that, primarily spiritual and emotional social research on the meaning of family, inspired by the idea of Msgr. Paglia and Franco Scaglia to tell about the changes in Italian and immigrant families, by probing the reality in the three geographic areas of the Peninsula: the North, the Center and the South, showing different social and religious typologies of families, in order to comprehend the family’s deep significance. The general question is: ‘What is the family?’, ‘What does it mean to be a family?».
2) What differences have you noticed in the reality of families of people who come from different countries or live in the different regions of Italy?
«I was truly struck by the criticism of foreigners over the Italian model of the family, more than anything else about the family habits, beyond the ideal of the family. Foreign women, in particular, say that Italian mothers are too apprehensive about their children; they don’t allow them to grow up and take responsibility for life. Above all, we Italians are criticized for the ‘culture of waste’ denounced by Pope Francis, and for what seems to be particularly our experience: the abandonment of the elderly, the delegation of what happens to them to paid caregivers. However, I did not notice any special typological differences between the families in the Northern, Central and Southern regions of Italy, with the exception those related to working time».
3) What did you feel as you got to know so many different and exciting stories, in their simplicity? What struck you the most?
«I was very moved by the story of the Peruvian family, how the couple arrived in Italy with great difficulty, leaving the children in their homeland, sleeping for a long time under bridges, with the hope of being able to offer their children a better future. I was also touched by the story of the young woman married to a Cuban who has been in a vegetative coma for years; she continues every day to love and take care of him, because she believes in marriage and the family. I have collected many testimonies of courage like this, wonderful everyday heroism. These are simple stories, and extraordinary in their simplicity».
5) So, the family emerges with its common characteristics of solidarity and warmth, acceptance and mutual aid, with respect for personal differences. Are these values that, on a large scale, should also be those of the “human family”?
«Of course, that’s true. Many have asked what the idea of family first brings to mind, and the answer is: ‘home.’ I was struck by the bum, a little drunk and a bit crazy, whom I asked what the family is for him; he told me: love. This is what is missing today: love, the “home”, the family».