Daniel Luchetti
Director, writer (ITALY)

I am in a perfect Catch-22 situation. This is something that I have never ever experienced before in my creative years as a director and writer.

Ever since the deadly COVID-19 Corona virus has put the globe on a stranglehold, we have all been struggling to get free.

And for the creative ones, it has never been more confusing and difficult. For, when a virus is silently stalking you in the darkest of nights and even in the brightest of days, you are bound to feel the pressure. Creativity needs an outlet and as the artists, writers, painters, poets, singers, directors and the like, try to shake off the dreaded COVID and emerge from its’ shadows to create, they may create their worst or maybe their best. This is because they are being squeezed. Some may wither, fail and fall, others, will outlive and perform, create and live to tell the tale.

Spared today, but tomorrow?
Initially, I have felt the pressure myself. I have felt the squeeze. And I felt paralysed, unable to think, unable to react, unable to read, see movies or do anything. I felt a terrible disquiet like being thrown into an arena and waiting with dread for the monster’s turn to tear into the scene and into me. Maybe I am spared today, but there are no guarantees for tomorrow.

During those early days I worked with an alarming sense of disconnect and although work was getting done and at times not getting done, time, itself seemed to have shrunk and away from my grasp. The weeks flew by.

Will the world outlive the virus?
I kept wondering:  How will the world survive the worst-ever pandemic in 100 years (or more)? I don’t know. What I know is what I feel now, which is to plumb the depths of this situation, and unearth either mud or pearls. I am a citizen of this world and therefore I feel anxious and worried about the earth that I inhabit. Will the world outlive this killer virus? Will it decimate everything?

I am not worried about myself, I am more worried about how the world will become in the future? What kind of irreparable damage will it wreak on this planet?

A strange peace amid chaos
Now, my mind is not only on disaster and destruction. At the other end, I am thinking of how things have changed for the better too. How I can take advantage of the situation we are all in and how I can benefit from the multifarious offerings that COVID has brought along: like bringing families together and closer; like seeing less of pollution; more love and care being rendered to humans, animals, and Mother Earth. Despite the situation, my heart also gladdens at the sight of a greener earth, of a more humane concern for our fellow beings and our four-legged partners. Amidst this chaos, I feel a strange peace.

Stoking the embers of hope
I have no illusions about the depth of the crisis we are facing. Uncertainty is a dark cloud that seems to rule over each and every one. But, there are also people who are stoking the embers of hope. May it blaze into a fiery fire of energy, strength and power over this evil that has intruded into our lives!

From hope springs creativity
And from hope springs creativity, thought and action. We know creativity and ingenuity are the cornerstones of human history and commerce and we know with this fire in our hearts, we can lay a path for the world to walk on, away from this horror that seems to engulf all. Music, poetry, prose and movies can change the world and while change is already happening, what we need is to ensnare it and make it feel welcome and make it remain as an eternal force.

Opened our eyes to priorities
We had moved away from the world of books, music, films and we seemed to have ignored the fact that our actions can hurt the environment and even destroy the culture of this world. A dangerous virus has suddenly awakened us to the real world that we need to live in and taught us that we should not dig our own graves, nor should we tear our own shelters down. It has opened our eyes to heed our priorities and to slow down, to make a sense of the world we live in, absorb the good and dispel the bad and the ugly.

Let’s not forget the lessons of COVID
Which goes back to where I started this conversation with you all; which is the dichotomy that my mind has been split into thinking the worst and the best almost the same time, and feeling a strange admix of emotions that at times spills over. Yet, I hold on to myself for I know I have a bigger role to play and I need to take this forward and not succumb to its negative pressure, but instead accept the positive side.

I will ensure that not only me, but my children also gets the best out of this experience. They are the ones to inherit this world and should we just give them an empty shell that a virus has devoured? No! We will show not only them how we fought and how we won, but we will also impart to them the most significant lesson that the COVID has given us: we should never ever allow our mistakes, our ignorance and our self-imposed blindness to destroy the delicate harmony of this planet.

(*)  – Danielle Luchetti, Italian film director, screenwriter and actor, is know for his film, ‘My Brother is An Only Child (2007)’, ‘The Yes Man (1991)’ and ‘It’s Happening Tomorrow (1988)’ and many others. ‘It’s Happening Tomorrow’ was his first film as director and he won a David di Donatello award for best debuting film and received a mention in the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.

‘The Yes Man’ also won four David di Donatello awards.

Actor Elio Germano won the David di Donatello award for best actor in a leading role for the film ‘My Brother is an Only Child’.

His 2010 film ‘La Nostra Vita’ was the only Italian film selected for the official competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Elio Germano shared the prize for best actor for his interpretation of Claudio along with Javier Bardem.  

Luchetti has also directed a number of documentaries and advertisements.