Welcome to the RAI Film Festival Programme 2019!

Explore the 2019 programme below, either by browsing the separate sections, or looking at the timetable view.

Student showcases films made by the new generation of ethnographic filmmakers, often as part of doctoral projects
RAI/Basil Wright features the films competing for the top prizes at this year’s festival
Material Culture focuses on films with something to say about the way we engage with our material world
Intangible Culture explores worlds of music, dance, performance, and ritual
Special Interest explores a range of fascinating topics, including programmes with a special director or thematic focus
Shorts is new for 2019, and celebrates the best in short-form ethnographic filmmaking as a cauldron of innovation


Directed by
Riccardo Palladino

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Year of production

Black and white, colour or both

63 minutes

30 March
Cinema 3, Watershed 9:00 AM
Special Interest

Every summer, on September 8th, swarms of winged ants travel to the “Mount of Ants” in Italy, where they mate in flight. The impregnated females create new colonies, while the male ants die in the ground. For hundreds of years, crowds have flocked to witness this event and imbue it with Christian wonder; a sanctuary dedicated to “Our Lady of the Ants” sits atop the mountain. Here, Palladino documents the hordes of pilgrims and tourists who attend this feast day, but also takes us with the ants in flight. Meditative, intellectually curious, and formally adventurous, The Mount of Ants teases the boundaries between art and ethnography. Soundtracked by literary reflections of ants (by the likes Goete and Maeterlinck), this is not only a record of a singular ritual, but one that considers the profound questions it raises about cycles of life and death - within and beyond the human realm.

The Mount of Ants screens in a double bill with Tindaya Variations, another innovative meditation on a scared landscape.

Location(s) depicted

Language(s) of film subjects

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