Waste alarm in Stromboli in La crociera delle bucce di banana

How is it possible that one of the most suggestive place of the Mediterranean Sea, World Heritage site, has to succumb to the typical dramatic Italian issue of bad waste management? It is what happened in Stromboli, a wonderful island in the Aeolian archipelago: destination for tourists and inspiration for great artists, it is also a place that everyday has had to deal with garbage issue and its difficult management.

La crociera delle bucce di banana” talks about this crucial question. It is a documentary by the young Sicilian director Salvo Manzone, who in 2012 won the awardLa casa di domani” at Cinemambiente Festival, in Turin, and in 2014 was awarded at the FreDD Festival; both festivals are members of Green Film Network. The strenght of this movie is in the story of people who day by day fight against this issue, a plague with growing implications, that underlines leaks and contradictions of the whole society.

Poster La crociera delle bucce di bananaWith “La crociera delle bucce di banana”, Manzone shows all the factors that complicate the collection and the disposal of the waste, that in summer grows to 300 tonnes per month.  He does it collecting statements of different groups of people: the ecological operators who have to face the poor attitude of the islanders to the act of recycling on the one hand, the local politicians who denounce the unused funds for the correct and effective disposal of the waste on the other hand. The paradoxical result is the presence of trash in the sea and on the beaches, but above all the expensive trip across the sea that the garbage easy to dispose of (like twigs or biodegradable waste) is compelled to take.

Between images of islanders’ daily life and interviews that work as a smart cross-examination, the most impressive testimony is Aimée Carmoz’s. Aimée is an old French woman who has lived on the island for almost fifty years, fighting for an adequate waste collection, trying to promote initiatives aimed at good practices and home composting, organizing conferences and providing citizens right equipment. But the results she’s getting back are shy and sporadic.

Aimée talks about composting

“Aimée told me her story and the story of Stromboli”, the director reveals to us, “Her story seemed ideal because Aimée, with her words and everyday actions, embodies the simplicity and the sincerity of the ecological thinking I was looking for. Stromboli’s story is instead paradigmatic of the Sicily. In small-scale we can recognize the same dynamics that characterize the big Island and the whole Italy. The waste emergency, the absence of separate collection of rubbish, the discomfort of ecological operators, the struggles of environmentalists and the opposition of  powerful people”. Despite her efforts something doesn’t work, because of the indifference of local administrations,  that use the garbage issue to make empty promises, and because of European directives, that boycott easier solutions ignoring the practical and logistics needs of this peculiar place.

Someone gives the citizens part of the responsibility, but Aimée rebuts with firmness that during her countless attempts to change things, she could see their good attitude. She notes otherwise that politicians should create conditions and possibilities to reverse course. Once more, the environment is paying the worst consequences, victim of those who, in the name of economic interests, boycott progress and social cooperation. Values that Aimée, citizen of the world, knows well and never ceases to teach.

The film gives voice to these values and plays an important role in communicating the correct attitudes to assume in order to protect the environment. “Cinema helps to reflect”, Salvo Manzone continues, “And the reflection is the starting point for every change of ideas and behaviors. Many movies helped me to change the perspective which I saw certain things with, not only in the environmental field. For this reason films should not have a simple protest task- this should be left to news reports- but they should move the conscience, showing new points of view that enable us to get out of the conventions, rooted in our mind and the society”.