The Institute for Public Housing in Naples employs about 100 people. When the office is open to the public, employees receive residents who live in the 40,000 houses managed by the institute. Their task is to find solutions to citizens’ problems and trigger the bureaucratic procedures to solve them. But managing these chaotic lives within rigid legal structures is not an easy task and employees are often forced to resort to a singular art: “bureaucratic compromise”.
In her first feature film, Silvia Bellotti takes us to the dusty, dilapidated premises of bureaucracy made up of offices filled with shelves of files, each containing a universe of incomprehensible laws, insurmountable protocols, stamped and signed registers and regularisation deeds that have never been received. But what Bellotti describes is also a world made up of human beings: the employees, the almost divine ambassadors of an obsolete bureaucracy whose middlemen and women are indispensable, and the users, with their dramas and their tragedies, who are in some ways the victims and some ways the executioners of this bureaucracy. During the two days a week that the office is open to the public, it becomes a stage, and the people exit the rigid scenarios imposed by the institutions to dramatise a Theatre of the Absurd, demonstrating that “without the human factor, the institutions cannot function”.
Managing Director of Festival dei Popoli
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