Lettera da un tempo lontano
Six short stories developed through Lorenzo Mattotti’s visions and the crystal-clear texts by Lilia Ambrosi and Gabriella Giandelli. Six unusual ‘letters’ sent from an estranged dimension where people are able to reflect upon their lives and relationships, in the end, questioning the meaning of being humans. As in L’uomo alla finestra, these short stories delicately bring to light our frailties and our constant effort to stick to feelings, illusions, and memories in order to keep hold of a life which always seems to be on the verge of getting out of hand. The first and longest story of the volume, “Dopo il diluvio” (“After the Deluge”), is about a woman who is stuck at the airport by a strange accident, unsettling and fascinating at the same time: an invasion of vermillion crabs, so numerous as to transform the runway in a red self-propelled surface. While waiting to leave, she runs by chance into a stranger, who tells her about his difficult love for his ailing wife. Their love gets stronger when they are apart, and the same thing seems to happen to what the protagonist feels for her lover. The second story, “Il ritratto dell’amore” (“Portrait of love”), is just 2-pages long and deals with a painter who is no longer able to paint his partner, since she has stopped loving him. “Lontano, molto lontano” (“Far, far away”) follows the path of a mysterious statuette, handed around by different people, and representing freedom, and all the dreams, hopes and passions that every one of us struggles to preserve, going through the different meanings of the title of the story (a place where you can start a new life or hide, but also a place where the person you love disappears or where the mind of somebody who has lost everything can fade away). “Lettera da un tempo lontano” (“Letter from a distant time”) is a story set in an aseptic and artificial future world: a young woman, travelling on a train heading to Kiev, writes to her great-grandfather who was a cartoonist, possibly Mattotti’s alter ego, to tell him what has become of that future world he once used to try to figure out through his drawings. “How could they enjoy those odourless, motionless and soundless images” the woman wonders as she watches a video of an old comic book; and maybe that’s the same question Mattotti asks himself while considering his own work. Two further episodes, which were not included in the first edition of the book, close the volume: “Il richiamo” (The Call), whose protagonist is a woman going back to her hometown to visit her sister and her nephew, and the short and evocative “Storia blu” (Blue tale), which in four wordless tables captures all the magic of a fleeting encounter.