Shortly after his controversial new film opened theatrically, Italian director Sebastiano Riso was hospitalized Monday in Rome after two men attacked him for being gay.
In a statement Tuesday, Riso said he was struck in the face, stomach and chest. “Yesterday I was hit three times, and I feel it is a threefold attack [against me]: as a homosexual, as a director and as a person,” he noted.
“As a homosexual because, while I was being hit, they addressed me with homophobic insults. As a director because the insults referred to the themes I deal with in my latest film, such as the possibility for gay couples to form their own family, and because the violence was perpetrated against my inclination to express myself through my work,” he added.
“Despite the fear and rage that I still feel … I am sure I will continue to do that [express myself] the same way and even more than before,” Riso said.
His film, A Family, recently competed at the Venice Film Festival. It tells the story of a heterosexual couple supplying black market babies for gay couples penalized by Italy’s adoption laws. It opened on Sept. 28.
Variety writes, “‘We thought this country might change, but it never will,’ reflect one pair of prospective clients — picking up the stand against socially conditioned LGBT persecution taken by Riso’s more overtly queer debut — though their plight is but one tributary to A Family’s rushing river of woe.”
Here is a trailer for Sebastiano Riso’s film A Family:
Last month, Sebastiano Riso spoke at the Venice Film Festival about his film.
“As a gay author, I felt like having a gay couple do such a terrible thing because it’s unbearable that in Italy homosexuality is represented in such a bourgeois and sugar-coated manner,” he told Reuters.
“Homosexuals as much as heterosexuals are people, regardless of their sexual orientation. We can be good, kind, terrible… like everyone else.”
Same-sex marriage and child adoptions by gay couples are hot-button issues in Italy, where they are not allowed.