Research Communications

Cinema Culture 

Graduate Student Spotlight: Damiano Cinque

April 15, 2011

Damiano Cinque, a Venezuelan graduate student in film production, hopes to raise awareness about his native culture through his new film, “The Decapitated Chicken.” Based on a short story by noted Latin American writer Horacio Quiroga, Cinque chose the tale for its illustration of how people deal with things beyond their control.

“The Decapitated Chicken,” set in the early 1900s, is about a family whose four sons develop a mysterious disease that causes mental retardation. Unable to cope, the parents neglect the boys and devote their affections to the only healthy child, a daughter. Tragedy ensues after the boys witness their grandmother decapitating a chicken for dinner.

Damiano Cinque
Damiano Cinque directs a scene from the period drama “The Decapitated Chicken.”
Photo: Courtesy of Damiano Cinque.

Cinque filmed the movie using long shots, which is a break from the contemporary film industry style of frequent, quickly paced shots.

“I want to give the audience time to feel rather than just absorb the information. I want people to embrace the story,” says Cinque, who received an Ohio University Student Enhancement Award for the production.

For practical purposes, his interpretation of the story is set in the 1930s and only includes two sons and a daughter. The movie, which took 14 days to shoot, was filmed with university students and local actors and was adapted for locations in rural Southeast Ohio.
Finding places and props to use for a 1930s setting still posed a challenge, Cinque notes, though he and his crew eventually found costumes at area antique shops and rented items from the university’s School of Theater. They studied hundreds of period photos and chose dark colors such as brown, black, and green, to express the film’s mood. The only character to wear bright colors was the daughter, to represent the family’s sole source of happiness.

Cinque plans to screen the film this summer and send it to several film festivals worldwide.

By Milissa Hudepohl

This story will appear in the spring/summer 2011 issue of Perspectives magazine.