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El Apóstol

Agli americani non va giù. Ai francesi anche meno. Io l’avevo messo per iscritto fin dal 1983, ma loro no, duri: è bruciato, come fai a dire che era proprio un lungometraggio? In Argentina, poi. Prodotto e diretto da due italiani! Solo adesso si stanno rassegnando, nell’anno del centenario. El Apóstol fu prodotto da Federico Valle (astigiano), e fu diretto da Quirino Cristiani (pavese). Anno 1917. Primo lungometraggio d’animazione al mondo, cachada porteña (presa in giro nell…o stile di Buenos Aires) del neo-eletto presidente Hipólito Yrigoyen. Trama: Yrigoyen si addormenta, e sogna di salire al Cielo; lassù incontra Giove, che gli affida i suoi fulmini per incenerire la corrotta Argentina dei conservatori. Ma era, appunto, un sogno. Da sveglio, il presidente dovrà vedersela con la realtà, e senza fulmini. 

Nel 1980 incontrai il cineasta e studioso argentino Simón Feldman. Per combattere la mia titubanza (di El Apóstol esisteva una sola, vaghissima menzione) mi spedì un pacchetto di ritagli di vecchi giornali. Mi misi d’impegno, e alluvionai di lettere tutti i miei contatti sudamericani. Dopo un anno ero in possesso di qualche punto fermo e di un rosario d’interrogativi. 

Fu allora che un funzionario della Cinemateca Argentina, mosso a pietà, mi consigliò: “Se tiene tanto a quel film, scriva al regista”. E allegò l’indirizzo. Quirino Cristiani aveva ottantacinque anni, ma era vivo e sanissimo. 

Eravamo entrambi italiani. Lui aveva dimenticato la lingua, ma io parlavo lo spagnolo. Facemmo amicizia. Scrissi un libro su di lui, che uscì nel 1983 e che lui fece in tempo a vedere e a sfogliare. Morì nel sonno nel 1984, a ottantotto anni di età.

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