ASINO (Donkey) - film
Director: Anatoly Vassiliev
Screenplay: Anatoly Vassiliev
Producer: Trikita Entertainment Year of production: 2017
2 hours 50 minutes • In Italian with English subtitles and Hungarian voice-overs
The renowned Russian theatre director Anatoly Vassiliev’s ASINo (‘donkey’ in Italian) is an ode with an epic tone about the four-legged animal which plays an important role in European culture and has been depicted in many different ways. The cultural history of the donkey reaches back to Greek mythology and the biblical times: the legend of Silenus’ donkey is well known; the New Testament gives an account of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey; Sancho Panza rode his own donkey; in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream the weaver Bottom turns into a donkey before he falls in love with the goddess Titania. Nevertheless, the donkey is often associated with stupidity, stubbornness, but also humility.
The philosophical film essay ASINo consists of eight 20-minute short stories which were shot in Italy. Vassiliev’s work balances between reality and allegory and triggers free associations of the viewer. The titles of the short stories (Bacchus, Medea, etc.) and the quotes from Apuleius, Pirandello and Aeschylus further broaden the context of the film, while in the third short story we encounter the donkey cult that still exists in Alba, Italy. ASINo shows the duality of the donkey’s character. on the one hand it is a common domestic animal, and on the other, a divine, mythological creature that is an important motif in our culture and in a sense, also an allegory of theatre.
(22 August 2021)