Who is Fabio Nicosia?
Fabio Nicosia, born in 1967, was born and lives in Palermo. The first artistic love is music, through which it has been told for 40 years. “I try to see beyond the bush, usually the first idea is the one I reject as it is dictated or suggested by my being a prisoner of common thought. I elaborate, evaluate and identify new perceptions; I like to make mistakes, I believe that mistakes should not be considered as such, but as an opportunity to look for new directions. “
The Grin and the Cow
The monsters of childhood images transmigrate in the various phases of the individual’s existence. The shadows, ghosts and fears that we have managed to tame but not eliminate and which continue to resurface in dreams, in language, in painting, in architecture and in narration. An unconventional film capable of penetrating the viewer’s gaze with unconventional images. Looking for that dream world belonged thatto the child we were and that we can rediscover, with his creativity and his fears.
First film by Fabio Nicosia, a independent film and experimentalthat intrigues already from the title. The director now more than fifty years old, while loving art in its various forms, has often had to put it “on hold” because he is captured by everyday life behind a desk. With maturity, the artist and his piano migrated to jazz. “Notes have always been my language”.
Fabio Nicosia, Filmmaker by Chance
For some years Nicosia has been experimenting with a new way of expression by being behind a camera. He defines himself: filmmaker by chance.
“The idea for the feature film was born, to develop it I proposed the project to some people in the sector who, having read the screenplay, unusual, particular and personal, they replied:” this is your film and you can only direct it ” .
“I enjoy playing with the actors as I did when I was a child with toy soldiers. Before the battle I made real movie sets, American Indians and General Custer’s soldiers; unknowingly I was playing the massacre of Native Americans. In those years there weren’t movies like Dances with Wolves, but those with John Wayne from which the message that came was that Indians were the bad guys and the soldiers, the good guys. “
A Psychoanalytic Explanation
“As a child I thought I saw a figure on the threshold of the door of my room, this one, with a plastic grin, silently mocked me in the dark, terrifying me”.
The monsters of childhood, especially for artists, are often a source of inspiration. There are pages upon pages of literature, paintings, sculptures, symphonies… dedicated to them. Certainly not a conventional film but some spectators are mirrored, they recognize themselves in this story of mine for a lived experience, a memory, a common experience … this journey into the subconscious seems to have helped the director to settle some unfinished accounts of his past … of course, not everybody. In life, not all debts to ourselves are soluble.
I understood a lot about my film thanks to the comments of those who saw it, here are some of them:
“A semi-dreamlike experience that can be rejected or shared”
A long sequence of images fragmented into chapters with no apparent connection between them yet, in all evidence , belonging in every frame to that uncanny that must have affected so much psyche of the director. It seems obvious, since this brief introduction, that The Grin and the Cow is not an “easy” film. Rather, a work to be decrypted, image after image. Yet it is really difficult to resist the fascination of a black and white – with studied “intrusions” of color – coming from another dimension, accompanied by piano music composed by Nicosia himself.
Two components, the visual and the musical one that become a sort of inseparable pair, absolutely inseparable from each other. A backward journey on the thread of a memory reinterpreted in a psychoanalytic key, populated with snapshots that would not have disfigured in a work directed by Federico Fellini or David Lynch. At times repulsive but perfectly able to penetrate an external look thanks to readings that could be defined universal.
In showing the child who was the director hungry for knowledge, he makes a gesture of absolute altruism, looking for and finding that common denominator that makes The Grin and the Cow (almost) totally accessible even to a stranger’s gaze. A semi-dream experience that can be rejected or shared with its author. The viewer has the freedom of choice, as it should always happen not only in cinema that arises from a circumstantial intimate need.
When the projection started following the images I tried to interpret their thoughts … it was something hypnotic … but I got nervous … then a ‘strange’ thing happened to me I no longer followed and interpreted the images I saw because I understood that those images were the notes ‘that moved’, that became images … so I found myself hearing and seeing “the music in motion”. Never in my life had I seen music ‘move’.
Reactions to Fabio Nicosia’s Film
“When they tell me“ you are strange ”I accept it as a compliment”
It is a “strange” film… with the interpretation of the broader meaning of the word “strange” and not understood in the negative sense. I must confess that initially I had a lot of effort to follow … my degree of attention was at very high levels and it was as if my brain had to strain to interpret every single scene in its representation. When I diverted this concentration, the vision began to flow more fluidly … I let it be my “feeling” to see the scenes that gradually followed one another.
Since then I have welcomed what came to me … at the end of the projection, a state of “floating” made it difficult for me to return to reality. And believe me this is a big compliment. I felt the almost physical need, for a moment of isolation to be able to process everything I experienced. I felt the need for time to metabolize and rework. This is also a compliment.
“The artist launches his challenge”
Touches that take you far. Towards an unknown, ancient, dark world but still to be discovered. The artist launches his challenge.
“A loophole capable of engulfing the chaos of the world”
This is what I thought I saw in the feature film behind that creaking door of sounds, voices, notes. A film where each scene has its own soundtrack …
… courageous, impressive, grotesque but poetic feature film, with many frames and hypnotic atmospheres, bewitching but also unsettling.
Love, pain and fear come together in the shots that capture the protagonists and the spectators like a spider’s web.
After a profaning beginning, where the viewer is intent on solving the enigma of those images where the whip pierces the body and soul, the blurred scenes of a torture mix with the opacity of the following scenes and the deliberate blurs make the mysterious environment surrounding the actors.
There is everything behind the creaking door, the house as in a “horror” film, a “reel tape recorder” that repeats absurd words through the protagonists, the close-ups where the actors with their expressiveness and interpretative ability per se they do not need many words, the muse of art between shadows and colors, the ghosts that resurface in the folds of memory.
It is a story that, to a profane eye, might seem only its own story, but it is a universal story, where each of us could be mirrored. A grin with which one collides and confronts each other between fears, obstacles, misunderstandings and adversities in the irreducible race behind our dreams in the various stages of human existence.
“I also used the eyes, those of the heart”
In this feature there is a lot of music, art, colors, and many psychological aspects. A film in which there is little dialogue, a film in which the basis is precisely the interpretation of these images that flow. Of course, for me it wasn’t that easy to follow, since I don’t see, but despite this I was able to interpret and make my own certain emotions that they managed to transmit to me. Whoever sees, looks at what appears to him, using sight, one of the senses, which is limited only to the vision of what is in front of him.
Those who do not see, on the other hand, have the ability to put all the other senses into action. I was able to follow this film using a lot of hearing, capturing the slightest noises, sounds and interpreting them according to my emotions. I also used my eyes, those of the heart, however, I opened my heart to what I was listening to and I grasped the various aspects … a journey between dream and reality, a completely abstract journey that however the director managed to transform into something concretely, to put pen to paper …
“Genius is to die, lose everything and start over”
… it took days to affirm (albeit still with strong doubt) that I was able to metabolize what I felt by looking and living the images of movie. I can say that being in the cinema and meeting monsters, dreams and memories on a screen was a surreal, dreamlike and strongly cathartic experience. It was as if photography and music were married in a sweetly violent way. Between flying notes, words and heavy and heavy footsteps, followed by pressing silences and apparently, silent, the white, the gray and the black told the torment, loneliness and musical ecstasy.
The music seemed disturbing, restless, jarring, but at the same time softly settled to the movements of bodies and memories. The idea that the genius comes from the obsession that gives torment, from sleepless nights to think, wander and then return home without a fixed address in one’s head, but with the heart always alive. Art does not accept comfort, because it is the creation of the truth of the person who creates it, even if he wears masks to bring it to life.
Pure creation, the film was not born to please a mass, but to be deeply felt by those who share the desire for a revolution that has art as a driving force for a truer and freer world.
“A film sprung from the mind of a madman and played by madmen”
When the lights in the room were switched on, we were for a few minutes with our eyes wide open, aware that we had witnessed an introspective journey. The images still followed one another in our minds like flashes, arranging themselves in a sequence where the artist’s autobiographical imprint was very clear. At first glance it could be said that it is a film that came from the mind of a madman and played by madmen, but it is not.
It is the story of a man-child who still comes to terms with the monsters of his childhood, with the turmoil of adolescence, with the pains of adulthood. Emblematic is the presence of various female figures, angels and demons who have left indelible marks in the soul of the author, figures that have determined his life choices. Music is the common thread: initiation has marked and impressed, between pleasure and pain, the determination to follow and let oneself be carried away by the only “woman”, the music, which reserves for him moments of exclusive ecstasy. … the film is an elegy to music.
“A broken mirror”
Black and white gives the viewer the opportunity to color the film through their emotions and sensations. Divided into chapters connected by a mental corridor that the protagonist Phrygian, like a guide, crosses with us spectators, placing himself and placing himself in front of what I would define as an introspective “broken mirror”, full of images with irregular and faded outlines that evoke dreams, memories, experiences, passions, loves, furious quarrels that each of us living, lives or has lived. Suitable for all visionaries , the dreamers, the curious, to those who have an open mind to new experiences.
“Nothing is as it seems, from start to finish it surprises you”
“A strong feeling of discomfort”
“There were many sensations that accompanied me, but that strongest of all, which stuck to me, it was a strong feeling of discomfort. At first I did not understand why … maybe those dark, repetitive and strident sounds that accompany some scenes … but no. The atm dreamlike and surreal osphere, to the Lynch? No, it wasn’t that either. Then I understood. My discomfort was that of the voyeur … I was uncomfortable because, from a ajar door, I was looking inside your head. I believe that this is the great strength of this work: your desire to tell yourself and to tell us about your obsessions and your demons with a sometimes unsettling sincerity “
” I was especially struck by the originality and quality of the work “
” … travel introspective full of all forms of artistic expression “
… I find myself reflecting on what extraordinary, unlikely, metaphysical and overwhelming has happened to me by participating in the realization of this introspective journey full of all forms of artistic expression.
A talented musician who wanted to bring his music to be perceived through other artistic forms as well. Colors, sounds, facial expressions, screams, sighs, tears, emotions. Only those who love art in the deep, who gets excited for it, those who enter the whirlwind of passion can understand this strange world …
“Everything will happen in and out of each its own” if
“Thisfilm not only puts out the music, but also the way of doing, of living, of behaving of each of us with their fears and insecurities… it is a mix of emotions, passion and feelings.
In this way you will discover that you are entering a fantastic dimension, only if you know how to make it yours, a little at a time, like new and unknown flavors, landscapes that reveal themselves to new perceptions of sight. Music of the heart that dialogues with the mind and transports you to new places of the imagination. This is why I invite the insatiable, the curious and the capricious to treat themselves to these new possibilities and go see and listen to the film “the Grin and the Cow”.
Everything can happen inside and outside of every “if”. Music in this film, as a visionary art, summarizes his ideas and his feelings and gives them to us, without false modesty, one note after another, on a journey without beginning or end. Just as life and death are indissolubly intertwined with the real and the unreal in an infinite moment of beauty.
“Maybe to get the answers I’m looking for I should see him again”
Il Grigno e la Mucca is an introspective and upsetting journey. Initially you look at it with detachment, as if to want to stay out of it and be what you are, that is, a spectator. Then, however, the music captures you and almost without realizing it, you are inside that corridor turning the handle to enter another “situation”. It’s like dreaming, dreams often leave you confused, full of questions. Maybe to get the answers I’m looking for I should review it again.
“And I remain with the desire to see it again and again”
The music that enters us and acts as a frame and “cradles us” accompanying us inside the sometimes pungent images, which helps us to digest the scene that could be too direct … a dance that at the end is our life where the cinema has the task of representing … having been lucky enough to see the film with the director and after the film sharing what the scenes meant for me and knowing the personal and intimate meaning for him excited me even more .. And I am eager to see it again and again
Other Projects in the Pipeline
Il Ghigno e la Mucca is my first film, I have other projects in the pipeline: “Fimmini e Santi” is the second feature film still in the phase of post production, the shots were shot in September 2020 but I don’t think you will see it soon, I have yet to understand, it is as if there was a disconnect between the “doing” and my unconscious.
Basically I am an “intellectually lazy”, I like to scroll through the images of my artistic life in slow motion, with calm and reflection.