Alessio Rigo de Righi & Matteo Zoppis / 2015, Turin, Doclisboa, Cinéma du Reél, Göteborg, Montreal, Rotterdam, São Paulo, Tirana, Vienna, Lincoln Center's Art of the Real / 80'
Outside of Rome, a group of elders gathers in a hunting lodge and recalls the life of Mario de Marcella, a man who lived in a cave for more than 60 years of his life. Why he chose to live a solitary existence is unknown, though the men seem fond of conjecture. Those who saw him while hunting referred to him as "il Solengo"— the male boar who lives away from the pack. Some say he was crazy, others say he wasn't. They all agree, however, that he never spoke to anyone.
The first feature from Italian documentary filmmakers Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis not only captures a spartan way of life rarely depicted in mainstream Italian cinema— it is a mysterious, timeless meditation on the aesthetics of absence and an investigation into the form of narrative itself. Il Solengo premiered at Rotterdam, Göteborg, São Paulo, Vienna, and both Turin and Doclisboa, where it won Best Film.
In an exclusive interview with Filmatique, Alessio Rigo de Righi & Matteo Zoppis discuss the inconsistency of narrative, aesthetics of absence, the state of Italian cinema and their next project.
Italian cinematographer Simone d'Arcangelo answers FLMTQ's Filmmaker Questionnaire. Derived from the Proust Questionnaire, FLMTQ's Filmmaker Questionnaire is designed to ascertain the thoughts and habits of filmmakers across disciplines.
Dreaming Around the Archive in Il solengo
In an exclusive essay for Filmatique, historian Jim Carter discusses the unreliability of the "archive"— a hegemonic account of history— as evidenced by the narrators of Il solengo.
Evocative Beauty and the Puzzle of Identity in Opera Prima Italiana
In an exclusive essay for Filmatique, Dr. Paula Halperin explores the diffuse and evasive nature of identity in four debut features vis-à-vis cinematic traditions of Italy's past.
The State of Italian Cinema: Five Young Auteurs
At last year's Venice Film Festival, Artistic Director Alberto Barbera bemoaned the relative lack of young filmmaking talent in Italy, leading many to question if Italian cinema was in a rut.
Rather than opining on the state of contemporary Italian cinema, Filmatique surveyed five young directors from Italy whose first films have all been well-received at prestigious international film festivals.
"Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis' Il Solengo (rural slang for a wild boar purged from its pack) studies not the titular hermit that is its ghostly structuring absence, but rather the peanut gallery of Italian villagers who speculate about his identity and reasons for fleeing from civilization.... Il Solengo is nonetheless uniquely guided by one of the burning questions posed by the Art of the Real series: How can films interrogate the very forms they inhabit, in turn encouraging their viewers to engage actively with the content they're being fed?"
"There is a side to Italian culture which, given the importance it has, receives far too little attention... For viewers who have any connection at all to Italy, this film has the potential to be a revelation, and it is very surprising to see such mature non-fiction work being produced by such young directors"
- Thomas Humphrey, Rotterdam Review, Screen Anarchy
"The talking-head documentary, anathema to the more purposive (i.e., "show, don't tell") modes of nonfiction filmmaking, is revived with stubborn, prolix determination by the brood of Etruscan elders who preside over the unassuming habitat of Il Solengo. An award winner at last year's Docslisboa, the film traces the speculative and spectral existence of one Mario de Marcella... who is said to have lived a recalcitrant, hermetic life within a forested cave in Tuscia, as withdrawn from the pack as the film's eponymous male boar. Il Solengo's narrative is literally hinged to oral tradition, emanating from the yarns unspooled by these aged hunters: the richness of the world is gleaned from a fixed stance of wine glass in hand, sauce simmering on the stove, logs blazing in the fireplace"
- Jay Kuehner, Film Review, Cinema-Scope
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