by Francesco Ranieri Martinotti
Country: Italy
Year: 2023
Duration: 55'

In Prato in the 1990s, an episode occurred that involved the city's cultural life, a gem in the Italian textile industry. It was a case of patronage that prevented the Teatro Politeama from falling victim to real estate speculation. The theater's auditorium, stage, and the entire structure from the floor to Nervi's dome were transformed into a steep ramp for accessing various levels of an immense garage. Unlike what happens today, the patrons who funded this initiative were not the typical brands of sponsorship but rather the owners of a small cleaning business along with many other private citizens.


film director

Francesco Ranieri Martinotti

(Rome, Italy, 1959) during the 1980s won a Raitre competition with the screenplay of Singolo, a story about right-wing terrorism that became a TV movie he directed. On that occasion, he met Ettore Scola, who involved him in the activities of a writing laboratory at Cinecittà. In 1991, he wrote and directed the film series I Tarassachi, presented out of competition in Venice. With his short Overdose (1990), he won the critics' award at the Montreal Film Festival and in 1993 he made Abissinia, selected for Cannes, the Sundance Film Festival, and Cinema Giovani in Toronto, and which later won a David di Donatello award. In 1997, he wrote the screenplay of Cresceranno i carciofi a Mimongo, for which he was nominated for a David di Donatello award as best producer. The next movies he directed were Branchie (1998), Ti lascio perché ti amo troppo (2007), and La seconda volta non si scorda mai (2008). He also wrote the screenplays for various fiction movies that aired on  Rai Uno (L’assalto, La notte di Duisburg, Comboni, Il bambino sull’acqua). In 2012, he made the documentary Furio Scarpelli: il racconto prima di tutto, presented at the Torino Film Festival and nominated for a Silver Ribbon. In 2015, his documentary Il segreto d’Otello participated at the Berlin Film festival, and half a million spectators watched Barbieri d’Italia (2016) on Raitre. Since 2015, he has been the president of the National Association of Film Writers (ANAC).


I taràssachi (co-regia di Rocco Mortelliti, Fulvio Ottaviano, 1989), Singolo (1989), Overdose (co-regia di Rocco Mortelliti, Fulvio Ottaviano, cm, 1990), Abissinia (1993), Branchie (1999), Un altro mondo è possibile (registi vari, 2001), Lettere dalla Palestina (registi vari, doc, 2002), Ti lascio perché ti amo troppo (2007), La seconda volta non si scorda mai (2008), Fuori Scarpelli: il racconto prima di tutto (doc, 2012), Il segreto d'Otello (doc, 2015), Barbieri d'Italia (doc, 2016), L’onda lunga - Storia extra-ordinaria di un’associazione (doc, 2021), La donna che riapriva i teatri (doc, mm, 2023).


film director

“Drawing attention to a story that unfolded in the mid-1990s, bearing the hallmarks of a genuine feat, seemed important to me. Especially at a time when the Italian province is closing in on itself and succumbing to more perilous forms of individualism, it's as though a story was almost invented in which numerous ordinary citizens reached into their pockets to finance the rescue of the city's ancient theater, which would otherwise have become a garage. The uniqueness of the picture is complete when you consider that the central figure in the story is Roberta Betti, a woman of humble origins and the owner of a cleaning company. It was she, along with her partner Elvira Trentini, who rallied the community. They challenged the banks and the Consob, involved famous artists, envisioned a Public Company, and individually brought their fellow citizens before a notary to collect the required shares. They reclaimed the property and returned the Teatro Politeama to Prato. Today, all of this seems almost like a fairy tale. Drusilla Foer is the one who tells us this story, having personally known and been friends with Roberta Betti.”


& Credits

DIRECTOR, SCREENPLAY: Francesco Ranieri Martinotti. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Riccardo De Felice. EDITING: Emanuelle Cedrangolo. MUSIC: Andrea Fornaciari. SOUND: Federico Tummolo. CAST: Drusilla Foer. PRODUCER: Camillo Esposito. PRODUCTION: Capetown S.r.l., Rai Cinema, Teatro Politeama Pratese, Associazione Arteinscena.

CONTACT: Capetown Srl capetownsrl@gmail.com