Il Principe di Ostia Bronx: Screening with Director Raffaele Passerini

“When you create your own world, you can beat the system a little bit.”
Dario, protagonist of Il Principe di Ostia Bronx

Sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literature and the Department of Communications, the 2017 documentary directed by Raffaele Passerini was screened at JCU on February 6, 2019.

Presented at the 13th edition of the Biografilm festival in Bologna, Italy, Il Principe di Ostia Bronx was well received by the audience and jury. After winning the LifeTales Award Italia, the Audience Award Italia, and the Biografilm Follower Award during the festival, it was recently awarded Best Film at the 2018 Cinecittà Film Festival.

Dedicated to those who have failed at least once in their lives, Passerini’s documentary explores the life of two aspiring actors who, after being excluded from the theater and cinema scene 20 years ago, decide to act on their own terms. Dario, “the Prince,” and Maury, “the Countess,” start performing at Capocotta, the gay Roman nudist beach, where they garner local fame and respect.

“After all the kicks in the butt that I got from society, I put myself on a pedestal and decided that I am “the Prince,” explains Dario in the film. Maury, whose idol is iconic Italian actress Anna Magnani, is “either an actor or an actress, whatever you like.”

In the documentary, Passerini interviews the two actors on the development of their personas, and on what failure means to them. Dario and Maury describe the obstacles they encountered, but also shed light on the happiness that came afterward. “Dario and Maury help us to redefine the concept of failure. They helped me understand that everybody has their own measure of success,” explained Passerini.

After the screening, Passerini was joined by JCU professors Federica Capoferri and Erika Tasini, and Italiaidea – Cornell University Professor Carolina Ciampaglia for a roundtable discussion. The professors commented on the film’s excellent editing, engaging storyline, and overall positive message.

From left: Federica Capoferri, Raffaele Passerini, Erika Tasini, Carolina Ciampaglia

From left: Federica Capoferri, Raffaele Passerini, Erika Tasini, Carolina Ciampaglia

JCU student, Stella Militello-Belgrave asked the director, “What did you understand about Dario and Maury’s relationship?” Passerini said, “We went to a lot of small towns in Northern Italy, where there were a lot of housewives and right-wing voters. They loved it. And I think it’s because they cherish family values so much that, because Dario and Maury are such a loving, and tender couple taking care of each other despite their craziness, their relationship was appreciated on a deeper level.”

Passerini explained that the success of the film shocked Dario and Maury. “People from all over Italy went to see the couple at the beach at Capocotta after they watched the movie, and that really flattered them. I was surprised too.”

After an MFA in Fine Arts and a BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Bologna, Italy, Passerini received a full post-graduate scholarship to study at the one-year Filmmaking program at the New York Film Academy, where he held the position of Directing and Writing Instructor for US and EU programs. He also served as Instructor and Professor at the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome and served as Dean at the Roma Film Academy in Cinecittà Studios.

He extensively worked as a 1st assistant director and producer in several indie films and documentaries in the US and Europe.  As a writer-director, he authored, among others, the internationally awarded short movies “The Nurse,” “The Birdman,” the music video “The Likes of You,” the MTV documentary “Soundlabs’ People,” and the screenplay “The Caterpillar’s Skin.”