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06 February1981
The pig's butchering
Francesco Rinaldi
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

Beware, bloody images. Pig-slaughtering is an ancient ritual of peasant culture, in which the family participates; it is also a feast and an occasion for socialising, which takes place at a specific time of the year, in the winter, between November and March. Amateur filmmaking makes it possible to document it. In this sound film we are in the Modena lowlands, in Savignano sul Panaro, on 6 February 1981, a Saturday, at the home of farmer Ettore Rinaldi. His son Francesco is filming. He is a worker and has bought a camera. A man arrives from the driveway. 'Here comes the butcher,' says Ettore, in the courtyard amid the steam from the cauldron of water prepared for the killing of the pig. Amidst the vapors, one glimpses, resting on the outer wall of the barn, the axe used to break the pig. The slaughtered pig lies on the ground before being hoisted onto a plank by Ettore and the butcher. This is followed by all the cleaning, evisceration and quartering operations until the cuts of meat and organs are exposed. The next day, work resumes to make hams, sausages and other preparations.

Aided above all by Ettore, Francesco Rinaldi transforms the representation of his family's daily life into a kind of collective work, a studied but genuine staging of the passage of time in a farming family. In his films, the seasons and activities alternate and follow one another, sometimes in a ritualistic manner, sometimes ironically, in a family game in which everyone, directing or playing themselves, contributes to a choral tale that is at once individual and communal.