2007 Thriller 87 mins
Italian with English subtitles
Apnea, the debut feature film by documentary maker Roberto Dordit, stars Claudio Santamaria (Crime Novel), as Paolo, in a thriller about a man who discovers that his best friend, Franz was not who he thought he was.
After a brilliant career as a fencer Paolo is now thirty-five and has become a sports journalist for a local newspaper in Vicenza. His friend Franz, the former fencing champion, took a different path and became a successful businessman. But one day Franz dies suddenly and unexpectedly, supposedly of a heart attack. Suspicious of the cause of death, Paolo sets out in search of an explanation and finds himself immersed in the unseemly practices of Franz’s lucrative leather tannery, symbol of many tainted businesses in the illustrious Italian Northeast. Paolo’s investigation exposes him to ever increasing risks as he comes closer and closer to the truth.
The investigation also presents Paolo an opportunity for significant encounters, like those with Franz’s widow and with the unscrupulous factory owner and his children Chiara, the young strong-headed girl; and the little Leo, affected by a form of autism that will help Paolo shed some light on his friend’s life and the circumstances of his death.
Apnea is a film that draws you in, exposing a side of Italy rarely seen by those who live outside of it. It is a film that confronts an ugly yet very common reality, the regular occurrence of deadly workplace accidents (an average of three a day in Italy) whose victims are most often illegal migrant workers who live and work in inhumane conditions.
Apnea technically refers to the temporary suspension of breathing practiced by the tannery workers as they clean the noxious barrels, but metaphorically it suggests the suffocation of illegal immigrants by the factory owners who profit handsomely at their expense.
Director: Roberto Dordit
Cast: Claudio Santamaria, Fabrizia Sacchi, Giuseppe Battiston, Michela Noonan, Diego Ribon
Rating: M contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes