In the middle of January, many neighbourhoods of Naples still celebrate the ritual of the cippo di Sant’Antonio. After New Year’s Day the young boys search the whole city for firewood, also very far from their neighbourhoods. Every gang gathers its woods in a secret place – “il segreto” – to protect them from the raids of the other gangs; they wait for the day of the bonfire, among the frenzy of the search for wood, and the clashes among the gangs, sometimes real, sometimes imaginary, to defend the treasure from the attacks of the “enemies”. Everything happens in the streets, almost twenyfour hours a day: at morning they often skip school, by night they guard the hiding place. To accomplish their aim, the gangs pass over all the obstacles, either if it is their neighbours complaining for the yellings, or the police threatening them to confiscate the firewood. At a closer look, though, an internal set of rules can be found: codes and habits that are preserved from one generation to another. They are the same children that in school appear empty, lazy, apathetic, or the opposite, uncontrollable and agitated. During the days of the “cippo” you see them passionate, interested and disciplined. In the adventurous game they built with their own hands, they appear transformed, until the final catharsis arrives: when the fire is lit, they dance around it, singing, and throwing in the flames the firecrackers and their own clothes.
- IL SEGRETO (2013), a film by cyop&kaf about the ritual of the “cippo” in Naples’ Quartieri Spagnoli neighbourhood; special mention of the Jury at the Torino Film Festival, selected by Paris international festival Cinema du Réel [trailer][webpage][review in Quinlan]
- “La sfida del cippo e la città alla finestra“, by Luca Rossomando, Repubblica Napoli 1/15/2013 [here also translated into spanish], and “Il segreto di Sant’Antonio“, Napoli Monitor n. 53, march 2013.
- cyop&kaf generally paints, even if at times it stumbles on writing, urbanism, photography. When it took a videocamera for the first time, it had already spent three years before in a dialogue with Naples’ Quartieri Spagnoli. The first fruit of that long work was a book, QS, then a movie, Il segreto: two pieces-synthesis, that together try to account the complexity of a neighbourhood corroded by prejudice. To look behind and inside the appearance, often brutal, of things. See also the video Quore Spinato [trailer] and the reportage Fuoco e fiamme [link]
- Napoli Monitor, review of reportages, drawings, researches and chroniques, explaining Naples and other cities since 2007 [webpage]