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Review: The Mouth of the Wolf

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An homage to Genoa’s marginalized


- Applause at the Berlinale welcomed the Best Film winner of this year’s Turin Film Festival, a docu-fiction on violence and love in a Genoa caught between the past and the present

Review: The Mouth of the Wolf

The surprise film (for now) of the relatively understated Turin Film Festival is Italian. Screening in competition today is The Mouth of the Wolf [+see also:
film focus
interview: Pietro Marcello
film profile
(from a novel by Gaspare Invrea), which director Pietro Marcello dedicated to Genoa and its most marginalized citizens, those who live among the decrepit, labyrinthine alleyways of the city’s historical centre.

Marcello’s second feature, after the beautiful Il Passaggio della Linea, escapes facile classification. A blend of documentary and melodrama, it tells the (true) love story of Enzo, sentenced to 20 years in prison after shooting two police officers, and Mary, a junkie whom only Enzo could save from heroin.

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They are two people who have seemingly lost everything, beginning with their liberty. Their meeting in prison will change this man so strong he even makes the guards tremble yet is a sensitive soul who is moved watching Bambi, and a woman who upon her release promises to wait for him.

The film rises above genres and conventions, to tell a personal story with admirable grace, and depicts with as much clarity how the places that are the backdrop to the two lives portrayed here have changed. It does so through archive footage chosen and edited by Sara Fgaier.

That such a personal film was essentially “commissioned” is a further sign of intelligence: by the commissioners (the Jesuits of the Fondazione San Marcellino, working since 1945 to help the marginalized and sick of Genoa) and the director, who also produced through the new L’Avventurosa Film (founded with film critic Dario Zonta) with Indigo Film and in collaboration with RAI Cinema and Babe Films. The film will be distributed domestically by BIM.


international title: The Mouth of the Wolf
original title: La bocca del lupo
country: Italy
sales agent: MK2
year: 2009
directed by: Pietro Marcello
screenplay: Pietro Marcello
cast: Vincenzo Motta, Mary Monaco

main awards/selection

Berlinale 2010 Forum - Best Documentary
Caligari Film Prize
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2010 

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