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Room 408
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"Room 408" is a long term reportage on the Italian housing emergency.
In the country about one million and seven hundred thousand families are currently without a home and many of them find shelter in squat houses.
The project has developed for over two years, crossing the heart of the housing squat of Via Savoia and the Hotel Centrale, located within the city of Cosenza, one of the provincial capitals of Calabria, in southern Italy. Throughout the country, but especially in the southern areas, in the face of a conspicuous number of empty, abandoned or underutilized buildings, hundreds of men, women and children, Italians and migrants, are forced to live in the street, without any support and all dignities. To tackle this problem, several political-social committees have been set up to defend the right to housing. "Prendocasa Cosenza" is one of these and several hundred people are part of it, coming from all over the world. The life of the squatters seems to flow on the tracks of tranquility, but, where the sword of Damocles of forced eviction always hangs, tranquility is nothing more than a simple illusion. From the moments of struggle and vindication to the internal management of the buildings, the squatters are the absolute protagonists of a process of creative reuse of restoring to the city what negligence and blindness of the institutions have left to total abandonment. Fatigue, doubt, strength, anger, what never emerges on the faces of the occupants, surely, is the trace of resignation, of discouragement, of surrender. Local and national institutions consider the occupation of buildings, even public ones, to be illegal and, for this reason, many members of the "Prendocasa" community have been investigated and their forms of struggle repressed.
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