Cinema: “forbidden to dogs and Italians”, the new animated film by Alain Ughetto

“Forbidden to dogs and Italians”, is how Alain Ughetto titled his new animated film. This new creation, entirely produced in stop-motion, retraces the exile of his Italian grandparents who came to live and work in France. Meeting with the director who lives in the Bouches-du-Rhône.

In 1984, Alain Resnais awarded him the César for best animated short film for “The ball”. This year, Alain Ughetto returns with his new creation, “Forbidden to dogs and Italians”. In this feature film, entirely made in stop-motion (animated puppets), the director, specialist in animation, recounts his family history.

He wanted to go back to his roots, to discover past lives. Under his name Ughetto, Alain found a story, the story of his ancestors, his Italian grandparents.

Luigi and Cesira, modest transalpine peasants face the harshness of the work, the lack of money, the rationed food. Desiring to offer a better life to his family, misery and the rise of Fascism push Luigi to leave Piedmont for France.

The plots of land were very small, the land did not yield much. It was misery. They ate polenta every day, my grandmother put milk in the polenta and my grandfather made their children eat with a fork so they wouldn’t take too much milk. That’s how they spoke of misery with pride and dignity,” says Alain Ughetto.

Above all, I didn’t want to be annoying. Throughout filming, I kept repeating to myself, “above all, don’t be overbearing!”. My reference was Ettore Escola, “Awful dirty and wicked”, films where what happens is terrible but it is told with humor. So I made sure to tell this story by highlighting the fact that they remained standing, proud, dignified. That’s life! You take blows you give but that’s life!“, smiles the director, specialist in animation.

Nine years of investigation and research were necessary for him to painstakingly reconstruct the past of his grandparents, the reasons for this exile and, through them, that of thousands of Italian immigrants.

It is a historian’s investigation of the oral tradition. I wanted to focus on orality. Where did they come from, why did they leave? And above all, why didn’t they come back? That’s what I was looking to find out. By working on oral memory, I reconstructed their journey in France. This oral memory, I found it in Italy thanks to a sociologist who had recorded testimonies of peasant men and women, of the age of my grandfather and my grandmother, who lived in the same village as them. and who spoke of misery, war and fascism“, explains Alain Ughetto.

Alain Ughetto inherited from his father and his grandfather a pronounced taste for DIY, which he infuses into his cinema through animation, a vehicle for exploring intimacy.

My grandfather made his own tools, shovels, rakes. This knowledge he transmitted to the hands of my father; he was a great handyman, he knew how to do everything. As for me, I wrote a story, shaped by hundreds of little hands who came to animate, enlighten, finance… bring a story to life ; all these little hands allowed me to tell the migration story of a family“, details the director.

Already crowned with numerous awards, Forbidden to dogs and Italians received last December the Best European Animated Feature Awardduring the European Films Awards (EFA) ceremony.

In France, Forbidden to dogs and Italians hits theaters on January 25, 2023.

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Cinema: “forbidden to dogs and Italians”, the new animated film by Alain Ughetto

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