Passages is composed of materials gathered since beginning to work in digital video, in spring of 1996. This medium, with its exquisite aesthetic capacities coupled with its low costs opened the possibility of pursuing avenues of exploration which were simply not available in film, or to me personally, in electronic media earlier. Some of this has to do with the costs, but much has to do with the technical range, as expressed in aesthetics, which digital systems provide. It was a quantum leap beyond previous analog video.
As with much of the work I have done since 1996, Passages was not planned or in any way intended, but rather was the natural outgrowth of experiments and play using digital media for its many varied capacities. Other films which arrived in this manner included LONDON BRIEF (1997), NAS CORRENTES DE LUZ DA RIA FORMOSA (1999), 6 EASY PIECES (2000), and in some manners also MURI ROMANI (2001), ROMA, un ritratto (2001), and OUI NON (2003), as well as the installation work, presented at the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, TRINITY. In each case aspects of digital media were explored in depth as a working process, without, at least at the outset, any clear idea as to where the experimentation would lead. The resultant films were more indicated by the material generated, than imposed from outside as an idea.
Passages was culled from several hundred hours of saved materials, that retained after earlier selections in which much uninteresting was discarded. Some of these images have been heavily worked in digital manner, but much of it is untouched camera original. In some very vague form this material coalesced in my mind over the years, though I did not sit down and organise or edit it - it floated in the back of my head like a cloud.
When informed that the Rotterdam festival was doing a section in their festival dealing with 1960's and '70's psychedelic and drug related films, I sent them some 20 minutes of completely unedited material of a flicker-style, a small selection of hours of such material I had generated in the last years. I suggested that if they were interested I could probably put this into some of kind shape suitable for their program. In December 2005 I was informed they would indeed like this and commenced editing. As the material sorted itself out curiously very little of the flicker material I had sent found a proper place, being somewhat out of tone with what the rest seemed to aim towards. In relatively short order I had a film shaping up, though no longer something I'd quite call "psychedelic." In process I re-found an image which seemed to fit, one of my daughter Clara in a lake near Rome. Only in the last phase did the material speak to me and reveal that indeed, it was "about" my daughter Clara, and for her. In hindsight it made sense, as much of the material in this work was shot while Clara was with me as I was her full-time caretaker, as her father, for her first three and a half years of her life. I was constantly with her, and her voice can be heard in many of the films shot in the period March 27 1997 to November 2000, and those edited afterward. She was, and is, very much an inspiration for me, a now silent guide.
[Clara Jost was kidnapped, a felony crime in Italy, from our home in Rome on November 2, 2000, by her mother, Teresa Villaverde. Teresa had almost just completed shooting on her film Agua e Sal, in which a woman who was cast to look just like herself, is breaking up with her husband and has a child, played by Clara; in the film the child is abducted by the mother - this scene was shot in January 2001, a clear instance of child abuse, by Teresa Villaverde despite the lodging of a formal objection to the Portuguese courts. Since her kidnapping, the Portuguese judicial system, ministry of justice, and even its President, Jorge Sampaio, engaged in an illegal and criminal conspiracy to violate the laws of Portugal and the international agreements to which it is a signatory in order to retain Clara, against the law, in Portugal. Teresa Villaverde has perjured herself in court in respect to this case, and committed other criminal acts, including breaking and entering the apartment of an acquaintence of mine, threatening violence and taking a cellular telephone and the keys to the apartment; this was all reported to the police and the Procurador Geral, which did nothing.]
Clara has been physically prevented from seeing her father since August 2001, a direct consequence of the criminal behavior of Teresa Villaverde, in collusion with the supposed legal system of Portugal, a system widely acknowledged in and out of Portugal to be totally corrupted. Ms Villaverde comes from a politically connected and "important" family in Lisbon. The actions of Teresa Villaverde are consistent with those of paranoid schizophrenics who abduct their children as cited in much clinical literature on the subject. The consequences for children of such treatment is invariably highly negative and tragic.