THE RED TREE / L'ALBERO ROSSO is a short documentary that tells the little known history of Italian gay men being arrested and exiled to a remote island during Mussolini's Fascist regime.
In the film, an elderly man returns to the island of San Domino where 60 years before during the Fascist era he was imprisoned with hundreds of other men for being homosexual.
As he walks the island alone, memories come back - of all-male dances in his home town in Sicily in the 1930s, of his beating and arrest, the difficulty of prison life on the island, the suffering of gay men under fascism, and their public humiliation after their return. And of this unique island where all the prisoners were gay, and the seeds of a community were first sown.
Narrated by Leo Gullotta (Cinema Paradiso), the film combines footage filmed on present day San Domino (now a popular tourist island) with innovative treatments of archival material and re-enactments filmed in Brooklyn. The narration is written by Luca de Santis (In Italia Sono Tutti Maschi), while the dense immersive soundtrack is by frequent Still Films collaborator Aperture Records artist Oberman Knocks.