Dear Shaded Viewers,
This has to be one of the most powerful and beautiful films I’ve seen in a long time. I felt like I was watching Visconti or Pasolini. Your heart is pounding the entire length of the film. Luca Marinelli has been compared to a young Robert De Niro and rightly so. It is the first time I’ve heard of him but for sure someone I intend to follow like the director PietroMarcello. Epic.
Adapted from a 1909 novel by Jack London yet set in a provocatively unspecified moment in Italy’s history, Martin Eden is a passionate and enthralling narrative fresco in the tradition of the great Italian classics. Martin (played by the marvelously committed Luca Marinelli) is a self-taught proletarian with artistic aspirations who hopes that his dreams of becoming a writer will help him rise above his station and marry a wealthy young university student (Jessica Cressy). The dissatisfactions of working-class toil and bourgeois success lead to political awakening and destructive anxiety in this enveloping, superbly mounted bildungsroman.
For the past 15 years, Pietro Marcello has been working at the vanguard of Italian cinema, creating films that straddle the line between documentary and fiction, but which play off both a 19th-century Romanticism and a 20th-century neorealism in their class-conscious focus on wanderers and transients. Marcello’s most straightforwardly fictional feature to date.
An NYFF57 selection. A Kino Lorber release.