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Interview: Pietro Marcello • Director

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"I depicted the present around me"


- Cineuropa caught up with director Pietro Marcello at the Turin Film Festival, where The Mouth of the Wolf won Best Film and the Fipresci Prize

Interview: Pietro Marcello  • Director

A man with a child’s heart and the body of a giant. A story of violence and love within a bigger story, of the underworld in a seaside city in which "memory is imprinted in the stones". The Mouth of the Wolf [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Pietro Marcello
film profile
offers profound evocations, and is steeped in a photography that gives continuity to the wonderful archival footage: the launching of ships, the demolition in a city undergoing change.

Genoa and the S. Marcellino Foundation
Pietro Marcello : "The film came about from an idea by the San Marcellino Foundation, the Jesuits of Genoa, who for years have been offering various forms of help to the city’s homeless, marginalised, vagabonds and indigent. They had seen my previous work. The intent was to depict not so much the work of the Foundation, but the world it helps, the people and the city.

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...I spent eight months preparing and observing the area. Before the film I didn’t know Genoa very well, the only memories I had were of the stories told by my father, who as a sailor from the south used to set out to sea from there, and Genoa was his ideal city for his entire youth. He would always tell me how beautiful it was, of the tripe shops – that are gone today – and of its sky; a northern city that looks to the south.

...Today, we have a completely different city from the Genoa my father used to talk about. It’s a northern city that looks to the south, with all the problems of a southern city: immigration and integration above all, just think of the alleyways, now inhabited by foreigners. I got to know a different Genoa, I lived there, in the neighbourhood characterised by those alleyways, where – like in most northern cities – the social fabric is becoming increasingly more extinguished, where memory is imprinted in the stones of the Sottoripa [Genoa’s historical district]".

The perspective
"I tried to depict the present around me, those remnants that come from a past world, while the nostalgia of the 20th century is represented by archive footage, films by both professionals and amateurs, Genoans who go back many generations. My perspective on the present is that of a foreigner talking about what he sees from the window, the perspective on the past and on History is represented by the Genoans who silently recounted it through a camera lens".

Meeting protagonist Enzo Motta
"Meeting Enzo was truly unique. I had just come out of a bakery and met this man, we began chatting and he shows me the bullet hole marks in his leg. The film was born from that conversation. I met Mary later, in the beginning she was shy and resistant to being interviewed. But she was like Enzo, who over time became more and more open in front of the camera".

Little story and big story
"This film follows two stories. The main one regards the love between Enzo and Mary, the bigger one is about Genoa, told through archival images that belong to the Ansaldo Foundation and films from amateur filmmakers, patiently researched by Sara Fgaier, the true depositaries of this film’s ‘Genoa-ness’".

The screenplay
"The film’s screenplay came after the editing. It was not a direct and independent work, we came to it gradually – everything began from the central interview".

The music
"The music is original and I wrote all the lyrics at the end. They came in one go, instinctively, only in the last part did I add a quote by Franco Fortini. I believe very much in musical hypertext and cinema allows this freedom".


international title: The Mouth of the Wolf
original title: La bocca del lupo
country: Italy
sales agent: MK2 Films
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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