A noir documentary to delve into the secrets of violence, mysterious deaths and slavery of the criminal sect led by Gabriel Basmagi, known as the Papi, an obscure Syrian holy man who built his mission in Veneto in the late 1980s. The male voice of a middleaged man tells us the story in which he was implicated many years ago. Behind The Gate of a country farm, the Papi locks up and starves his maids, leads his eight-hour masses, punishes the mistakes of his followers with sadism, alienates families, preaches the end of the world and accumulates hidden treasures. Among the adepts is the seventeen year old Erica. The voice-off belongs to a psychologist expert of sects who, to save Erica and bring the guru to justice, dares to cross The Gate. The lifeless body of thepsychologist will be found hanged by the belt of his trousers on the stairs of the house. What we follow is the reconstruction (with original audiovisual archives of adepts and home movies) of an investigation made from the afterlife.

The Gate is a creative documentary where real-life testimonies and classic cinematic references are grafted onto a genre plot. Like most noir heroes, our protagonists have no way of escaping their fate, not even faith in their own intelligence erodes the tragic implications usually at the heart of noir narratives. Audiences can't afford not to empathize with these characters, perhaps thus being led to think how we all could be subject to similar foibles and misfortunes. The colorful, hedonistic, consumerist and cochon “outside world” (beyond The Gate) is contrasted by the dark, apocalyptic, ascetic “world inside” (behind The Gate), purged of shows, consumer goods, entertainment. Both perfectly specular worlds of the same discomfort: Not everything is as it appears.

Monica Repetto
Monica Repetto, Chiara Cremaschi
Monica Repetto, Chiara Cremaschi
Director of photography
Andrea Zambelli
Cast and characters

Erica Bonaldo, Giovanni Ristuccia, Giovanni Fioravanti, Maria Pia Rizzo, Milena Bolgan

Production Director
Monica Repetto
Organizzatore generale
Monica Repetto
con il sostegno di Film Commission Torino Piemonte - Piemonte Doc Film Fund - sviluppo dicembre 2022
Last update: 09 March 2023