Gherardo Gossi. (credit: Alfredo Falvo/ Agenzia Contrasto)
Diaz-Don’t Clean Up This Blood reconstructs the events of July 2001 when Italian police unleashed a calculated frenzy of violence on protesters at the G8 Summit. During the scuffles the day before, one protester was killed. Just before midnight, more than 300 police officers stormed the Diaz school looking for Black Bloc demonstrators. Inside the school were about 90 activists, mostly students from around Europe, along with a handful of foreign journalists preparing to bunk down for the night on the school’s floors. As the police burst in, the young demonstrators raised their hands to surrender. Undeterred and unmoved, the police waded in beating up both young and old, male and female indiscriminately.
Diaz-Don’t Clean Up This Blood is a reconstruction of those terrible days from the viewpoints of the police, the protesters, the victims and the journalists who were caught up in the tragedy. It aims to analyze how frustration can erupt into raw, uncontrollable violence. The movie uses original footage taken at the scene to underline the fact that the film is based on actual events.
Cinematographer Gherardo Gossi takes up the story. “Told from different perspectives, the camera describes the events of that day, sticking close to the heels of both perpetrators and targets until the whole bloody truth is told.
“During preparation for the film, I did a lot of comparison tests to choose the right way to translate such a compelling and sad story into images,” explains Gossi. “In the end, director Daniele Vicari and I agreed to use 16mm film for its color depth, the reliability of its filming system which means handling, speed and lightness, and film’s ability to provide a striking and solid image. The light grain and the good definition in the blow-up helped me to build a strong image. A digital image would have been too light for this kind of project.
“I used three KODAK Film stocks,” he continues. “For the majority of the film that takes place at night, I used KODAK VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 7219. I chose it for its soft and very useful reading of blacks, and its flexibility in DI. For day interiors, I used KODAK VISION3 200T Color Negative Film 7213 for its saturated colors and high resolution. For the remaining day exteriors, I used KODAK VISION2 50D Color Negative Film 7201 for its absent grain setting and engraved colors.”
Much of the film was shot on a set in a back lot built by production designer Marta Maffucci. A green screen and inserts of 3-D compositing were included. To facilitate the VFX post production, the filmmakers used grain management software to lighten the grain shots and allow for better processing. After processing the VFX, the shots were re-traced in the software to re-grain the image and incorporate with other untreated shots.
“I worked at the DI with colorist Angelo Francavilla at Technicolor in Rome,” says Gossi. “Together we modulated the contrast and color saturation curves according to the film’s atmosphere. The film stocks with their tonal ranges, color brilliance and good depth in blacks and highlights helped enormously in this respect.
“The film begins on a warm and sunny day with a comparison between moments of great serenity (very colorful with a normal contrast), and moments of high tension with steadily increasing contrast,” Gossi describes. “The tension and anxiety take over on the night of the police raid, and the contrast increases at the same time as the color desaturates. The darkness and horror are mixed with the chaos of the city light’s acid colors. The film ends with the return to freedom and the bold colors of summer.
“The photographic journey was possible thanks to the excellent exposure latitude of the emulsion and the palette of the film choices.”
Diaz-Don’t Clean Up This Blood screened at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Audience Award at the Panorama.