Filming in the Lazio region of the film “Joachim and the Apocalypse,” a work inspired by the life of Joachim of Fiore, founder of the Florensians order and one of the most studied Italian leading figures abroad, has been completed these days. Also on the set at Castello Theodoli (Sambuci, Rome) was American actor Nikolay Moss, winner of the prestigious Emmy Award (the most important television award internationally, considered the equivalent of the Oscar for film), who played the role of King Richard I of England.
The director’s chosen protagonist is actor Francesco Turbanti, who already starred in the film Margins presented in competition at the International Critics’ Week of the 79th Venice International Film Festival. Turbanti is Joachim, the son of a wealthy family who leaves everything behind to become a pilgrim, a mendicant, a Cistercian monk, a biblical exegete, and the founder of the Florensians order. He has mystical experiences and thus begins to develop early insights, prophesying the coming of a new era in human history. He writes on the Apocalypse authorized by Pope Lucius III. His ideas transcend space and time; after 400 years they reach Michelangelo Buonarroti, who draws inspiration from them to create The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. After a trip to the Holy Land with the Crusaders Joachim decided to change his life. He returned to Italy and reached Rome and Casamari. He entered the Cistercian monastery where he received the tonsure, a true ritual that projects man into the divine world. Actor Francesco Turbanti on the set wanted to get a real tonsure, days of dieting, barefoot walks, moments of meditation away from the din in search of an intimate silence. A demanding training period to explore the intimate life of a complete monk. The film, shot in ultra-high 12K resolution, is produced by Delta Star Pictures, supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Calabria Film Commission. It is directed by Jordan River (among the pioneers of 3D in Italy), and will be the first international film inspired by the figure of Joachim of Fiore, whom Dante Alighieri described as “endowed with a prophetic spirit” (he used that expression only for him). A giant who enlightened consciences in the 11th century and beyond, among the most influential figures of our Middle Ages, a monastic reformer, and, above all, a visionary.
The film, says the director, will also appeal to atheists because it does not focus on miracles, but explores human experiences (what drives a man to leave everything to become a monk?). Joachim – Latin names will be used in the film – investigates the ultimate meaning of life and thus becomes the “prophet” of hope, the philosopher of human existence, the saint of non-believers. Also called a “pictorial thinker,” one of his three specimens in the world of the Liber Figurarum is jealously preserved at Oxford. After summer filming in unique naturalistic locations in southern Italy, the film caravan of “Joachim and the Apocalypse”has landed in Lazio, in the most beautiful places within walking distance of Rome, with special attention to those less seen on the big screen. The director wanted breathtaking locations: a magical route, full of enchantment in the Sasseto Natural Monument Forest. It crossed Blera, an ancient Roman bridge with three arches, three arches reminiscent of the three triune circles drawn by Joachim in the eleventh panel of the Liber Figurarum. Stories intertwined in the Borgo Fantasma of Celleno just minutes from Lake Bolsena in the Viterbo area. Troupe and cast had the dreamlike experience in Antica Monterano, in the heart of the Regional Nature Reserve. They continued to Theodoli Castle, in Sambuci, and then penetrated the abbey walls of the protocenoby of San Sebastiano in Alatri, an ancient monastery that also hosted Benedict of Norcia in about 528. It also landed in the magnificent Abbey of Fossanova, the oldest example of Cistercian-Gothic art in Italy, which was declared a national monument as early as 1874. Several Italian names in the cast, including actor Giancarlo Martini (already co-starring in the film Freaks Out) as well as actress Elisabetta Pellini, who played the role of Queen Constance of Altavilla.
Also on the set was G-Max, with a career in the Roman rap scene behind him as well as a creative actor in several national films, who played the character of Abbot Galfredus of Clairvaux. It was a research work that lasted several years in which, in addition to the director and writer, journalist and screenwriter Michela Albanese, medievalist historians and distinguished scholars collaborated, including Valeria De Fraja (medievalist and member of the Scientific Committee of the International Center for Gioachimite Studies) and the well-known philosopher Andrea Tagliapietra (he has written several books, including on Gioacchino da Fiore for Feltrinelli, as well as director of the Interdisciplinary Research Center for the History of Ideas). In the crew numerous internationally recognized and appreciated professionals, including, just to name a few, Makeup Supervisor and Special effects Designer Vittorio Sodano (Oscar nominee for Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” and for Sorrentino’s “Il Divo,” winner of 2 David di Donatello awards), set designer Davide De Stefano (former concept artist for Pupi Avati’s “I cavalieri che fecero l’impresa,” production designer for “The Cursed Ones” and for the recent American production “Voice from the Stone” by E. D. Howell with actress Emilia Clarke, also known for the hit series The Iron Throne), costume designer Daniele Gelsi (called the artisan of history, author among others of some costumes used in the series on Leonardo da Vinci), Director of Photography Gianni Mammolotti (DoP of numerous films including Soavi’s ‘Francesco’ with Raoul Bova, “Karol” and “The Fourth King”), Camera & Steadicam Operator Federico Martucci (to his credit more than 40 national films), sound by Stefano Civitenga and Gianfranco Tortora (sound recordist of more than 100 national films).