Italy / 2009 / 53'

Children’s rent was the contract stipulated between the natural family and the host family, on the occasion of the countless fairs that used to take place in the alpine arc. Monsieur Fribourg, historian from Barcenolette, the most important town of the Valleè de l’Ubaye, leads us across the town, showing the square where until the Second World War the trade of children from the Stura and Maira valleys in Piedmont used to take place. The Valleè de l’Ubaye, wealthier than the near Italian valleys, needed more labour, mostly young shepherds, for the summer herds, and young mule drivers for burden animals. The fair used to take place on four Saturdays in May. Little boys and girls would stand in a line in the square, waiting to be picked out by their new owner... “Renting” your own children was first of all a matter of survival, a necessary decision very common throughout the whole alpine arc. Often the piazzàti children did not have a normal childhood: the boys spent their time in the mountains with the sheep, the girls as maids in the houses of the wealthy people; all of them though received a hot meal everyday, which in their own houses was not always guaranteed. The documentary collects the testimonies of some people from the Occitan valleys in the province of Cuneo, who when children worked for families that gave them many responsible tasks. Their faces seamed aged with fatigue and their words opened a window on their childhood. The homesickness experienced by some due to the absence of their parents clashes with the strength and self confidence gained by others through that experience, in a movie where instead of looking for an answer, questions are asked about the meaning of childhood, family, playing and difficulties of current times, just as in the past.



Giorgio Diritti built his career working for many years with several Italian directors, particularly with Pupi Avati. He also cast many films in Emilia Romagna, including La Voce della Luna by Federico Fellini. He took part in Ipotesi Cinema, the institution coordinated by Ermanno Olmi to instruct young directors. As an author and director he has produced several TV programmes, documentaries and movies. His filmography includes: Cappello da marinaio (short film, 1990), Dio (short film, 1992), Quasi un anno (Tv film, 1993), Dal Buio (1995) and Con i miei occhi (documentary film, 2002). He participated in the TrentoFilmfestival in 2006 with the multi-awarded film Il vento fa il suo giro.

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