Kihlgren’s Walls – Postproduction - Germany/Italy - 70'

Irreverent, bohemian, iconoclastic, Daniele Kihlgren is the rebellious third child of a wealthy family of cement-industry magnates.

In the late 90s on board his BMW R80 he visited Santo Stefano di Sessanio, a medieval village perched on the top Abruzzo’s rugged mountains. It was love at first sight.

He realises that this is the place to develop one of his old ideas: to authentically restore a dilapidated medieval town and turn the entire village into a hotel.The idea is to make profit from the conservation of the landscape rather than from its destruction, as all too often happens in Italy.

The idea is good and it works. Tourists start flocking there. Buoyed by enthusiasm Kihlgren starts buying houses in other similar villages and also sets up an analogous project in Matera’s Sassi.

However Daniele has more of an artistic than an entrepreneurial temperament. Careless financial management combined with an almost obsessive perfectionism soon creates problems.Things reach breaking point: the dream of a private-sector project to preserve numerous cultural artefacts –without a penny of public money – risks being shattered on the rocks of debt and financial crisis.

Against the backdrop of Italy’s spectacular landscape, director Alessandro Soetje unravels the metaphorical story of a man that, like his country, has a deep soul, but cannot love himself.


In coproduction with Nantucket