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photo © Berg Film

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2013

“I will live for 23 whole days in my cell,” says performance artist FLATZ. “People can’t see me but as proof of my presence my heartbeat can be heard in the cell next door. Every hour I have one hour of courtyard exercise, just like any usual inmate. Instead, however, they have granted me one hour visiting time. I have sent handwritten letters in advance to prominent people in politics, culture and the arts, requesting they visit and bring me three gifts; their favorite book, film and music.”

LA CELLA is based on true events from 2009, when an exhibition of the same name in Rome was closed by the police in a very heavy-handed manner: by order of the Italian Ministry of Culture the project artist FLATZ was violently ejected by the Carabinieri from the premises of the Complesso Monumentale di San Michele a Ripa Grande.

This complex in the Trastevere district was built between 1686 and 1715 during the reigns of Popes Innocent XI, Innocent XII and Clement XI. It is the first prison in the world to have been constructed using a cell structure, as we know today, and is a World Heritage site.

What prompted the authorities to such massive intervention was that FLATZ, in the face of all agreement, had turned his assigned cell from top to bottom into his own artwork, “Sixtine Chapel”. Today, this piece of art is in the possession of an important collector in Munich.

The Italian authorities still have an arrest warrant out for FLATZ, charging him with vandalising a World Heritage site.

Genre Art
Category Docu-Fiction
Director Ulli Lommel
Cinematography Bruno Pacelli
Cast Flatz
Producers Ulli Lommel, Flatz, Andreas Lechner
Production Companies Berg Film/Munich, Hollywood Action House/Los Angeles
Shooting Dates February-March 2013

Berg Film Produktions GmbH
Andreas Lechner