Two major distinctions set apart Pietro Marcello’s Lost and Beautiful from other recent foreign films: The director shot the film entirely on expired 16mm stock, and the film began as a documentary then transformed into a feature film when its subject unexpectedly died.
Marcello originally planned a film about Tommasso Cestrone, a Campanian shepherd known as the “Angel of Carditello” because he played caretaker to the abandoned Bourbon palace of Carditello. Cestrone suffered a heart attack and died mid-filming, leaving Marcello to reimagine the story as fantasy. He does so by introducing Pulcinella, the traditional commedia dell’arte masked figure, as a character who is summoned from the afterlife to protect Cestrone’s abandoned buffalo calf, Sarchiapone. Together, man and beast, embark on a long journey through a lost and beautiful Italy, searching for something which may no longer exist. The final product brings echoes Au Hasard Balthazar, Robert Bresson’s 1966 masterpiece about the exploitative lives of a shy farm girl and her beloved donkey.
From Film Comment: “The tale that grows is a slim, wandering one, as Pulcinella leads the animal to a suitable home. Lost and Beautiful, which some critics have connected to the lineages of both Pasolini’s neorealism and Italian painting, finds cinematic force in its fanciful telling—from the arresting iconography of Pulcinella’s black carnival mask and white togs, to the use of a reflective voiceover for the buffalo, to the free interpolation of news footage concerning the castle, to the storybook agrarian landscapes. Kicking off with POV camerawork for the buffalo and the amusing and estranging introduction of Pulcinella in an elaborately art-directed afterlife, the film sets its strange fairy tale into motion with bracing and heedless dedication.”
Director: Pietro Marcello | Italy | 2015 | 87 minutes
$9/$5 Brooks members and students with valid id/Free with VIP Film Pass.
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