Paolo writes the music for the film West of Babylonia with a non-neutral approach that is reflected in the search for a largely dirty and imperfect sound, in the preferential use of analogue synthesizers, in the irony with which certain artificial forms of religion are addressed, but also in the unconventional use of a typical American instrument such as the guitar.


Slab City is located in the desert, on the edge of a military base where explosive devices are tested. There is no running water or electricity in Slab City, and the roads are made of dirt.

Slabbers are young and old, hippies and neo-Nazis, outlaws and artists who share a desire to be free of the rules of American society. They see everything outside Slab City as “Babylonia”.

Emanuele Mengotti was born in 1986 in Venice, Italy. He moved to Los Angeles, where he is currently living. In 2015 he directed his short film ‘The writer’ Selected at The Venice Film week, SAFILM and finalist at MIFF. In 2016 he worked as line producer on ‘Hallucinaut’ a short film produced by Terry Gilliam.

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What the viewer wonders, in watching the documentary, is who the people he or she is observing are and what stories they are hiding. This will remain unknown but it is possible, by observing the faces, to glimpse, in the hollowness and simultaneously in the expression, the whole existence.


West of Babylonia is a successful attempt to show such a unique reality, creating an intimate, interesting and visually successful cross-section of it.


An Italian documentary about the most hidden United States, a work made up of breathtaking images and underground characters who through their lives show us the many faces of states never really “united.”

The Vision


Director: Emanuele Mengotti

Cinematographer: Marco Tomaselli

Editor: Michele Castelli

Editor TV version: Carlo Borean

Music: Paolo Cognetti

Color: Marco Materassi

Sound mixer: Lawrence Fancelli

Re-recording mixer: Filippo Rossi

Recording Studio: Officina Sonora del Bigallo

Distribution and sales: Berta Film

Special Thanks: Eastjesus, Salvation Mountain, Katamari, The Range, Slab City Library, Spyder Family, Giuseppe Lo Fiego, Elena Mannocci, Liliana Ochoa, Matt Talajkowski, Clelia Colin, Barraza Family, Dalhia Rivera, Domani Studio, Davide Santoli, Jader Zani, All the people from Slab City, Famiglia Mengotti

In memory of  Zack Wild