Country: Italy
Year: 2023
Duration: 73'

In Crotone, Calabria, every year on December 13, people honor the tradition of the bonfires of Saint Lucy by burning majestic pyramids of wood. Legend has it that Saint Lucy was blinded and paintings depict her gazing into the void, holding her eyes on a small silver plate. The rite is meant to give light back to Saint Lucy through fire. The protagonists are the young people of the Fondo Gesù neighborhood; as they wander the streets in search of wood, they come to terms with their daily lives. Many of them, at 15, are already living without their fathers – who are dead, in prison, or whom they never met. They are forced to be husbands, as they bear on their shoulders the insurmountable weight of the loss of their adolescence. The rite of the bonfires of Saint Lucy unites them like brothers in the name of one single objective: to build the town's highest and most imposing structure.


film director

Matteo Russo

(Crotone, 1992) in 2011 studied film at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna and founded a collective to shoot his first video clips. In 2014, he worked as a director’s assistant on the set of Confusi e felici (Happily Mixed Up) by Massimiliano Bruno and in 2015 directed his first films, Voglia di fragola and Storia di una donna che amava suo figlio, participating at national and international festivals. After directing videos, commercials, and a documentary about the singer Clementino, between 2019 and 2020 he directed the shorts Amal and Amare affondo and studied at the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy, where he made the short Tell Me Your Name (2020). In 2020, he founded the Calabria Movie International Short Film Festival. He collaborates with various production companies, such as Italian International Film, Fabula pictures, 11 Marzo Film, Daitona, and Naffintusi.


Voglia di fragola (cm, 2015), Storia di una donna che amava suo figlio (cm, 2015), Clementino Miracolo Documentour 2015 (doc, 2015), L’idea si fa impresa! (adv, 2017), Amare Affondo (cm, 2019), Amal (coregia/codirector Antonio Buscema, cm, 2020), Tell Me Your Name (cm, 2020), Lux Santa (doc, 2023).


film director

“The aim of Lux Santa is to lift the veil from crime news and show glimpses of a beauty that is usually hidden. To document a thousand-year-old tradition that has resisted over the years and to raise it to a spiritual level. Through their eyes full of pain, the movie's protagonists lead us through the streets of a hostile neighborhood, showing how life, friendship, and togetherness help them survive their fathers' absence. The film's first objective was to shorten the distance between me and my 'new friends' and, as a consequence and in a totally natural way, bring the spectator closer to those lives. To give the viewer the feeling that they there are with them, to overcome every obstacle and reach the top of the majestic pyramid. Thus, to shorten the distance between the work and reality, subject and object.”


& Credits

DIRECTOR: Matteo Russo. STORY, SCREENPLAY: Matteo Russo, Carlo Gallo. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Andrea Manenti. Musica: Ginevra Nervi. EDITING: Mattia Soranzo. CAST: Francesco Vaccaro, Francesco Scarriglia, Enrico Scerra, Antonio Citati. PRODUCTION: Naffintusi. COPRODUZIONE: Rai Cinema.

CONTACT: Orazio Guarino