Matteo and Samuele are in the summer of their twelfth year. The spend their days wandering the forest, swimming in the river, gazing about the local mall. It is just like the summers that came before, but something is changing. The empty roads and warm and everlasting afternoons quiver with some imperceptible difference. A summer without beginning and without end, marked by friendship and the inexorable passage of time.
Nuanced, poetic and observational, I Cormorani (The Cormorants) celebrates the mysteries of youth and the gauzy atmosphere of boyhood in an unnamed region of Northern Italy. Fabio Bobbio's feature film debut premiered at Visions du Reél, DOC/IT and SoleLuna Doc Film Festival.
"A cinema without the signs of writing and artifice, given as it is, with an innate aesthetic intelligence. A purifying and precious cinema which takes time and returns time, which is delivered to a marginality without compromise, not as a condemnation but a promise of salvation"
"First-time director Fabio Bobbio Sordini captures the fleeting sparkle of boyhood with an unmatched flair for landscape and composition. A precise camera work celebrates the many rites of growing up and becoming aware of the world. A nuanced style that swings from a naturalistic approach to an observational one, to an ultimately poetic one, allows the young director to share both the world and the emotions of his young and dreaming protagonists. In the timeframe of one summer, life and its many mysteries and joys are celebrated"
"In the quiet ringing of the forest, the whispered movements of the gaze… is a seductive narrative model balanced in between fiction and documentary cinema. The Cormorants finds itself in the midst of a story already begun, facing the dilated pace of an abstract, everyday life whose meaning escapes us. The beauty of this sensory loss, the subtle confusion aroused in the spectator, would be enough to justify the severity of such an alienating prologue… The Cormorants is an enchanting succession of paintings that animate the screen, a portrait of adolescence, or rather the sometimes inscrutable fracture that opens up between childhood and adulthood. More specifically, it is the story of the long events of a summer in which two boys, Matteo and Samuele, wander aimlessly through thickets, fields, dirt roads and parks; they are unconscious creatures filled with instinctive drives and inexhaustible fantasies"
"In his debut film, Fabio Bobbio explores borders between geographical and metaphorical territories. It moves on the ridge of uncertainty and restlessness that accompanies the transition from childhood to adolescence with a free and inventive look: true like a documentary, poetic like a coming-of-age novel. The Cormorants offers an unusual and sincere perspective, audacious and immersive, lyrical and moving. A concrete and evocative new path for contemporary Italian art cinema"
- Film Review, SNCCI Sindacato Nazionale Critici Cinematografici Italiani [it]
"Samuele and Matteo seem a bit like the descendants of the protagonists from Les Mistons, François Truffaut's 1957 short film which was in Italian entitled L'eta difficile (The Difficult Age). They too spy on the surrounding world while the director's eye watches them behind a seemingly neutral, 'transparent' camera, giving the viewer the feeling of spying on them in turn… The Cormorants is neither fiction nor documentary, but a rare and interesting example of cinéma-vérité"
"Bobbio's debut is remarkable, studied in detail but also intense for the way it abandons itself, letting itself be carried away by these two teenagers, recovering fragments of personal experience or memory, of readings or films seen. It floats in the water and the air, plunging and re-emerging, full of light and magic… in a feast of the eyes and senses that seems to come directly from the cinema of Franco Piavoli"