Pugni Di Zolfo (Fists of Sulfur) – History of Caruso
A pugilist reflects on his past
This article is from 2013.
As a boxer leaves the ring from a rare defeat, he looks back on the traumatic events which changed his life. As a child, he was taken from his family and forced to work down the mines with his brother, mining sulphur in dangerous conditions.
Written, directed and performed by Maurizio Lombardi, Fists of Sulfur doesn't pull any punches in evoking two brutal worlds. The toughness of boxing is a familiar subject, but the plight of the ‘carusi’, children forced into work at the start of the 1900’s, is less familiar territory, and Lombardi tackles it with zeal. Clad only in a loincloth, he sits under a wooden table, lit by candlelight, and creates an intense picture of how a community willingly allowed their children to be exploited for material gain.
The weakness here is in the language; describing the sea as ‘where stars and anchovies shine together’ demonstrates that not all the poetry in the original Italian dialect translates poignantly into English. With a little more work on the text, Fists of Sulfur could speak to a wider audience yet.
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