FEATURE DOCUMENTARY - in Australian Cinemas NOW




Shot Synopis: 

When Sardinian-Australian Lisa Camillo, an anthropologist and film director, returns to Sardinia, an island of Italy, after a 18 year absence in Australia, to her horror she finds her large chunks of her homeland decimated by mysterious bombs.

On her journey she uncovers secret NATO bombing ranges that have been having devastating consequences on the local human and animal population, setting her on a journey to expose the truth, join the islanders’ fight to reclaim their land and livelihoods and, in doing so, learning about herself and her roots.

Balentes at Palace Cinemas Australia

Balentes at Palace Cinemas Australia

 One Page Synopsis: 

Set in Australia and the Italian island of Sardinia, Balentes is a feature documentary that weaves together a personal journey of belonging with the disturbing revelation of secret military incursions and the destruction and suffering caused to a small community.

Lisa Camillo is an anthropologist and filmmaker based in Sydney, Australia. During her work helping Indigenous youths in detention, she witnesses an Indigenous elder brings shoeboxes filled with dirt for the youths to step in and feel connected with their homeland.

Lisa’s mind turns to her own family and home, and feeling restless, she decides it’s time for her to return home to Sardinia. Inspired by her anthropological studies she begins making a documentary about the island’s unique history and how it became the playground paradise for the rich and famous after being discovered by a Saudi Prince, the Aga Khan.

Instead, upon her return, Lisa is shocked to learn from her parents the truth of what’s been happening in her childhood paradise.

For the past 50 years or so Sardinia has been used as the testing ground for the US and NATO military. Her documentary now needs to change into an investigation of Sardinian’s past decades to unearth the reasons behind the pain and intolerable suffering and poverty that are now prevalent among the Sardinian people.

As Lisa begins to investigate these claims, she realises there is a side to Sardinia of which she is completely unaware. What has happened to the place of her childhood? Is it still her home?

The tension rises as she learns of these catastrophic historic events that have impacted profoundly on the lives of ordinary people, leading at the climax to the staging of an event in the historic town of Orgosolo, famous because it once stood up against the military. Lisa decides to stage an event to commemorate, and hopes to find that the people with whom she has come to reconnect with still have that strong inner spirit the Sardinians are known for throughout history.

At Balentes’ World Premiere

At Balentes’ World Premiere

Balentes’ is a Sardinian word indicating ‘a man of valor’, who strives for social justice, defending the weak against the bullies. Sardinians have always been a warrior people, a fact sometimes forgotten, combatting the many invaders landing on the shores over the ages, testified by the recent archeological discoveries of the statues of the ‘Giants of Monte Prama’, ready to attack all invaders with courage and valour.
Director Lisa Camillo’s Q&A in Sydney for Balentes’ World Premiere

Director Lisa Camillo’s Q&A in Sydney for Balentes’ World Premiere


BALENTES è un documentario che racconta la Sardegna di oggi in modo obiettivo e disincantato, senza nascondere le sue gravi difficoltà, le speranze e fallimenti della sua storia recente. Proiettato in anteprima nei più importanti film festival contemporanei, tra cui Cannes, Tribeca (NY), Sundance Film Festival,La Biennale di VeneziaFestival di BerlinoBALENTES porta all’attenzione del pubblico internazionale, il caso emblematico della Sardegna, isola unica al mondo e territorio vassallo per eredità storica. Ricchissima di risorse appetibili, di bellezze naturali e tradizioni genuine rimaste intatte nei secoli proprio grazie al suoi isolamento, oggi è impoverita e ridotta alla fame da speculazioni e scelte sbagliate. E’ un caso esemplare, di cui il film mette in luce i meccanismi più eclatanti, non senza cercare, con interviste e proiezioni, prospettive di futura prosperità. 

‘Balentes’ e’ un termine sardo che significa Soldati di Valore, coloro che si battono per la giustizia sociale, per difendere il debole dal prepotente. Tutti i personaggi del film sono dei ‘balentes’ che, senza arrendersi, combattono le loro battaglie per avere la propria giustizia. Purtroppo i Sardi hanno dimenticato che sono sempre stati guerrieri, che hanno combattuto nemici d’oltremare e sopravvissuto le invasioni, come le stesse nuove scoperte archeologiche stanno oggi testimoniando questa antica identità del popolo sardo, con i ritrovamenti dei Giganti di Mont’e Prama, alti guerrieri in roccia, pronti ad attaccare gli invasori con coraggio e valore.