A portrait of the outstanding musician and composer Lucio Dalla from one of the finest directors of his generation, Pietro Marcello, acclaimed for his work both with fiction (Martin Eden) and documentary (The Silence of Pelesjan). For Lucio premiered internationally at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival. Garage Screen summer cinema presents the Russian premiere.
With For Lucio, Pietro Marcello continues to experiment with form, resulting not so much in a literal documentary biopic as in a look at Italian history —from the end of World War II to the fall of the Berlin Wall—through the prism of Lucio Dalla’s songs (1943–2012). Coming from a working-class environment, Dalla sang about the Italy of the proletariat, his lyrics reflecting the transition from agricultural to industrial society. In that, he was supported by the Bolognese intellectual, poet and songwriter Roberto Roversi (1923–2012), who also collaborated with Pier Paolo Pasolini at one time. Together, Dalla and Roversi created conceptual yet commonly comprehensible albums that have since become classics of Italian auteur songwriting. This music documents the labor of FIAT factory workers and the ensuing car races, celebrity funerals and street protests, emigration, environmental collapse, and war. Dalla stood out from the rest of the era’s stars, beautiful and apolitical, because of both his subjects and physical appearance, being short and having long hair, for which friends nicknamed him Ragno (Spider).
Plotwise, For Lucio draws on Pietro Marcello’s previous picture, Martin Eden (2019), about a gifted romantic proletarian who believes in the power of his word, while at the formal level, just like the doc The Silence of Pelesjan (2011), it conveys the specifics of its protagonist’s creativity using cinematic language. Fragments of significant events in history, represented by scenes from feature films and archival materials, are spontaneously and by association interspersed with a mosaic from small ones, including Lucio’s TV appearances and interviews. The director isn’t present in the film, either personally or as a narrator, delegating the voice to the singer’s manager and collaborator for almost fifty years Tobia Righi, as well as Dalla’s childhood friend, philosopher Stefano Bonaga. Their monologues and conversations reveal the social implications and contexts of Dalla’s songs, painting the Italian past from a fundamentally different angle.
Dir. Pietro Marcello
Italy, 2021. 78 min. 12+