Fragments Film Festival ’19: ‘Normal’ is a Kaleidoscope of Cultural Observations

In Normal’s brief but valuable cinematic experience, Adele Tulli paints a tapestry of Italian society, investigating the gendered constructs of everyday life from birth, through to childhood, through to adulthood and marriage. The breadth of settings capture scenes of conscious indoctrination, in seminars concerning the correct behaviour of men and women, and the subconscious influencing of individuals through the assignment of hobbies and interests, the over-sexualisation of women, and the suppression of female independence.

Tulli avoids over-stating her point: Normal rests entirely on the power of its images, and the truth of the environments depicted on screen. Many scenarios ring scarily true, with the normalcy of each subject forming a striking declaration in itself; these are not extraordinarily misogynist circumstances which Tulli has sought out, rather, the collection of such institutionalised trends when arranged together under the heading of ‘Normal’ naturally invites the consideration of absurdity. 


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“I Wanted to Reflect How Suffocating Gender Norms Can Be” — An Interview With ‘Normal’ Director Adele Tulli

Italian documentaries had a field day at Berlinale this year. Whether it was the innovative Selfie, allowing its subjects to become the cameramen themselves, or the harrowing depiction of Cosa Nostra brutality in Shooting The Mafia, the Southern European country asked hard questions of its society this year. The standout was Normal, the latest documentary from Adele Tulli, which takes a fresh and innovative look at gender stereotypes. Allowing its images — whether it’s boys riding motorbikes, or girls dressing up as princesses, or mothers exercising in the park — to truly speak for themselves, Tulli pushes the absurdity of fixed gender norms to their very limit. We sat down with her to discuss her unique documentary.

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