A movie about the life of Vincenzo Casillo: taking care of a dream

They called him Cacciaguida, like the character in Dante’s Divine Comedy who represents the purity of ancient traditions, with his mix of universal expectations projected into the future.
This was the nickname they gave Vincenzo Casillo, who at ten years old really was like Cacciaguida: anywhere he looked, he saw infinity. Cannelonga, Masino and Pinuccio – his three dearest, longtime friends – saw the same proud look in his eyes.

His family started from here, about two years ago. They got in touch with Milanese director Davide Del Mare and asked him to film some footage. To secure the memory and to pass on its strongest values to the new generations. The young team at Lateral Film, a creative laboratory and video production company with ten years of experience, accepted the challenge with rare sensitivity and commitment. By scouting some of the most evocative locations in Trani (BT), Candela (FG) and Cerignola (FG), they redesigned the story of Vincenzo Casillo, founding father of Casillo Group.

In a wheat field, each ear seems to be raised by the fingers of an invisible sculptor who works with a medium made of sky, gold and light. Poets are talented, but in 1951 I was just a kid – and I simply called these fields my home.
The short film opens like this, capturing the viewer with light and gold right down to the last frame, managing to tell the untold: smells, flavors and textures that we discover belong to us, in an ancestral link with good things.
We witness how a child’s dream is shaped and nourished through the warmth and charm of tradition. Because this film sparks dreams and inspires viewers to take care of their dreams. Vincenzo learned to love wheat from the person that could teach him the most about love: his father. From him, he learned to weigh it and evaluate it with his hands. From him he received knowledge, and the foresight to know how to expand that knowledge through intuition and the courage of innovation. With a desire to grow and the ambition for greatness. But above all, with the joy of building something for future generations, certain that they will be deserving of every effort and goodness.

Cacciaguida is everyone’s film: the story of a simple man who was able to believe, persevere, build. And trust. It’s the story in which each one of us can feel the lure of a desire – conscious or not – for solidity, union, comfort. For family. Cacciaguida is an intimate and magical space with warm tones, where the most elementary and yet indispensable values are legitimized once again: friendship, the right to discovery, belonging, love. A space where there are no secrets, and the only rule is authenticity. Deep generosity emerges from every detail, towards people – not necessarily only the
ones we know – and towards the territory, which Vincenzo was always grateful for and considered among his priorities. He was never indifferent to pleas for help, he was never able to say no. Humbly dressed, with only a few discreet words and a handshake, he took big steps by following his intuition and his experience.

The photography and camera movements of the short film are inspired by some of the masters of Italian cinema who in the past tried their hand at storytelling through images of similar situations and characters. The camera comes to life like in some of Bertolucci’s movies, with long and slow tracking shots that highlight the solemnity of the crucial moments Vincenzo experienced as a child. The time in history, atmosphere, set design and ability to direct such a young protagonist are inspired by some of Tornatore’s works, paying the closest possible attention to the details in costumes, dialects and faces, helping the viewer set them exactly in the years when the story developed. The cast included exclusively Apulian actors, and the script was by C.A. Bassetti. Thanks to a cinema camera, Matteo De Martini’s photography is reminiscent of “I’m not scared” by Salvatores, the director who better than anyone else portrayed the wheat fields of the Italian South. Finally, the beautiful film score was composed by Michael Stevens, who has worked in Hollywood on many soundtracks, including some for Clint Eastwood movies. The score has the flavor of time suspended between the beginning and the end of a bicycle ride, a day on the beach, a kiss. And it carries with it the same authentic strength of an ancient emotion that brings everyone, and everything, together.

“Wheat is born from the soil, but the dream of wheat is born from man.”
This is the wisdom Vincenzo Casillo left us. These are the words that end the short film, like a shy but sharp goodbye. And this stays with us, with the desire to entrust to the wind and light our own goodbye to him.