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Master and Vassal

2014 DOK Leipzig, Doc International Programme
Switzerland | 2014 | 72 min. | Italian | English subtitles | International Premiere
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Master and Vassal | Padrone e Sotto

A return to the village where you grew up. The memory of how you used to stand as a little boy at the men’s table in a small, dingy bar in Southern Italy, watching with equal terror and fascination how those rough old geezers passed the time playing a mysterious game of cards, bad-mouthing each other and getting systematically drunk on beer. Or, in other words: some were allowed to drink and belonged, others were forced to stay sober and were the sad losers. That was (and is) part of the hard (or impossible) to understand rules of the game that was (and is) called “Padrone et sotto”.
Thirty years later everything has changed – and yet is still the same somehow. Time has swept through the place, the big ideas of Europe and global networking have spread. But what may have been called antiquated in the past (with all advantages and disadvantages) is now called disadvantaged.
At first glance, Michele Cirigliano’s film shows the joy of being together among friends. In fact, he looks at an insular patriarchal society that can only perform its own rituals playfully, but with the utmost seriousness, today, and creates a fascinating sociogram that explores asynchronicity and universal mechanisms of power.
Ralph Eue
Original Title: Padrone e Sotto
Country: Switzerland
Year: 2014
Language: Italian
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 72 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Michele Cirigliano
Producer: Philippe Favre, Hercli Bundi
Cinematographer: Aurelio Buchwalder
Editor: Anja Bombelli
Sound: Roberto Leuzinger
Music: Peter Bräker
Hercli Bundi
Mira Film GmbH

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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.