RAI Cinema reveals Pietro Marcello’s upcoming project L’ultimo fronte
- The next documentary by the Italian director will reconstruct the Battle of Stalingrad based on soldiers’ letters
Stalingrad, now known as Volgograd, was the site of the longest and bloodiest battle of the Second World War, a clash between the German Wehrmacht and the Soviet forces which lasted from the summer of 1942 to the winter of 1943. The written words of the soldiers caught up in that infernal bubble testify to the atrocity of the war. Excerpts of these letters – which come to form a mosaic of audio and visual tiles, developed using archive images from Germany, the Soviet Union, Italy, Hungary and Romania – are at the heart of the upcoming film by Pietro Marcello, who opened the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday with Scarlet [+see also:
interview: Pietro Marcello
film profile]. Presented by RAI Cinema at Cannes’ Italian Pavilion, Marcello’s documentary will be called L’ultimo fronte and will be produced by Avventurosa and Stemal Entertainment alongside RAI Cinema and Match Factory.
‘'Pietro Calamandrei said that if you wanted to learn anything about the resistance you had to look to those who’d taken part in it'', the director remarked, revealing that he’d been carrying this project around with him for 20 years. “The Italian resistance was born in Russia, I spent a long time carrying out historical research in Russia’s archives, but the project often ran aground. There’s not much material in Italy; we’ll start with the Letters from Stalingrad. It will be an international project; we’ll need to carry out research in unknown military archives, some of which have been destroyed and others lost. Given the current situation, it won’t be easy accessing the Russian or Ukrainian archives’”.
RAI Cinema’s CEO Paolo Del Brocco stressed that ''in an era characterised by fluidity, cinema du réel allows us to reclaim a lost form of humanism’’, and reminds us that ''auteurs who hadn’t ever worked in Italy, such as Gianfranco Rosi (of Sacro Gra [+see also:
interview: Gianfranco Rosi
film profile], awarded the Golden Lion in Venice 2013, and Fire At Sea [+see also:
interview: Gianfranco Rosi
film profile], which won the Golden Bear in Berlin 2016), or who hadn’t ever enjoyed the production attention they deserved in our country, such as Roberto Minervini (What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire? [+see also:
interview: Roberto Minervini
film profile] ), finally felt at home in this genre. And others, such as Pietro Marcello, were able to confirm their talent on a national and international level, also making the leap to fiction film and corrupting the relationship between fiction and documentary, alongside many other youngsters such as Maria Tilli, Enrico Maisto, Federica Di Giacomo, Leandro Picarella, Michele Pennetta, Beniamino Barrese, Martina Melilli, Valentina Pedicini and Martina Di Tommaso, to name just a few’'.
In addition to Marcello’s doc, the Head of Documentaries at RAI Cinema (475 documentary films in 10 years versus an overall investment of 33 million Euros) Gabriele Genuino revealed a further 9 projects out of the 30 they have in the pipeline: Gianfranco Rosi’s new documentary, of which we only know the title, In viaggio; Roberto Minervini’s I dannati (Okta Film, Pulpa Film, Michigan Film, Shellac Sud); Fabrizio Ferri’s Portrait of the Queen (Nexo Digital); Marco Ponti’s La bella stagione (Groenlandia); Manlio Castagna’s Il viaggio degli eroi (One More Pictures); Adele Tucci’s In-Visibile (Pepito Produzioni); Massimo D'Anolfi and Martina Parenti’s Bestiari, erbari e stupidari (Montmorency Film); Ruth Beckerman’s The Emperor (Citrullo International); and Federico Ferrone and Michele Manzolini’s I fratelli Segreto (Stayblack).
(Translated from Italian)
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