Young inmates are back on the line and become part of the prison rugby team in Bologna: the most important try is to the team up because alone you are doomed to defeat.
The rugby coach Max selects three young inmates for the multiethnic prison team ‘Giallo Dozza’ in the penitentiary of Bologna. Through months of intense training and hard work, Max is able to transform defeats in desire for redemption. On the pitch, life of the young inmates changes and it is opposed to loneliness and slow rhythms of the prison’s cells. The new players grow with the team and reach the first victory of the C league season but a new unexpected challenge is waiting for them.
40 inmates of different nationalities, cultural and religious background form the prison rugby team. Their sentences vary from 4 years to life. No one has ever played before and they must learn to stand together and live together, sharing the field as the life in prison. Hard training and matches are always played at home. The fast pace matches are alternated with the slow rhythm of the prison routine, waiting to step into the field with captain Gheorghe.
Thanks to Max, the coach, his ability and human qualities, the multiethnic team becomes more and more united in the field as in the everyday life. To reach this goal he teaches discipline and the values of rugby: loyalty, solidarity, mutual support, respect for opponents and rules of the game. Both physical performance and understanding of the game must improve, but most of all, inmates personal relationships must evolve to a new state of awareness.
At the end of the championship and after many defeats and months of intense training, the team wins for the first time a very special match attended by their families. Happiness and emotion alternate during and after the match. In the third time ‘Giallo Dozza’ and their relatives share a plate of pasta and few intimate moments.
The documentary is about growth, overcoming difficulties and positive results. A unique educational project, as unique is the ‘Giallo Dozza’ rugby team, in defeat and in victory. After the victory life changes during detention but the team has to face a new challenge.
The main reason why I decided to make the “First Try” is to deepen the process of inclusion of inmates through the rugby discipline. In particular my interest is focusing on some young players of the team, the coach and the captain and my will to describe a multi-ethnic society, as only the prison is able to represent. The documentary genre allows to tell the experience, without mediation, narrating the attempt to emerge from a strong discomfort.
The narrative “prison” line, with its sociological implications, it develops parallel to the sport, the game and its rules.
Two paces of shooting and editing alternate throughout the film.
Action is represented by phisical effort, dynamics of the game and the speed of the players. It is shot with an hand held camera running together with the players and becoming the sixteenth player of the team. The daily prison life has a different pace: slow sequences with a fixed camera observing, listening, learning, self-reflecting. These rhythms alternate in the film both visually and in sound: noise, shouting and body impacts on one side and selfreflection, silence and prayer in the cells on the other. This film it’s about life in prison and social problems but it is also about being given a second chance through the values of rugby: solidarity, sharing, support and relationship.
The educational project: Rugby in the Dozza Penitentiary of Bologna, Italy.
“Back to the Pitch” is an educational project, involving 40 detainees. It provides rugby training in the Dozza prison of Bologna. Coordinated by technicians and coaches of the rugby club Bologna 1928, the goal is the physical, social and educational recovery for prisoners and young offenders.
The team “Giallo Dozza” competes in C league of the Italian Rugby Federation (F.I.R.). The matches are all played in the prison facility. Coaches are in charge of the daily workouts including physical activity, athletics, rugby principles and techniques, specific training on rules. The project is aimed at the progressive internalization of values such as loyalty, solidarity, mutual support, respect for opponents and coping with rules. Aggregation and solidarity are the fundamentals to overcome challenges in the pitch and in real life. Inmates sign a code of ethics that includes specific sanctions in cases of violation, up to the exclusion from the team.
Produced by Giovanna Canè, Oltre il Ponte and Enza Negroni, for Edenrock in collaboration with Regione Emilia Romagna with the contribute of I.B.C Movie, Unipol Banca, Illumia. With the partecipation of Giallo Dozza Association, Bologna Rugby 1928, Italian Ministery of Justice, Emilia Romagna Regional Penitentiary Administration, Penitentiary Dozza of Bologna. Project selected at pitching section of Bio to B Biografilm Festival 2015. Film in competition at 57th Edition Festival dei Popoli.