Redemption

Years ago, in 1978, in Italy, a law was finally voted to shut down asylums.

But as too many times happens in our country, the transition from an inadequate system to a new one was not managed properly. It was like if a nuclear apocalypse hit the country. Tens of psychiatric hospitals were abandoned, almost from one day to the next, leaving families with the burden of taking care of difficult, if not impossible, situations by themselves.

In many cases, these often beautiful and architecturally opulent structures started to be illegally occupied by outcasts, giving these buildings an ironic continuity in hosting those members of society easily and conveniently forgotten by the rest of us, the sane.

In 2011 I visited one of these places, the ex-asylum of Colorno (near Parma). There, the stories of the old and the new residents of this decadent structure are inextricably linked, and the names of those who were sent there to be saved can still be found, exposed to the camera, possibly giving them the redemption they were denied throughout their entire existence.

Redemption (2011)