IL VARCO

Italy

Synopsis

In 1941, an Italian soldier is leaving for the Soviet front. The Fascist army is allied with the Nazi war machine. Victory seems close. The convoy moves forward, men are singing and hopeful. The soldier’s mind goes back to the melancholic fairy tales his Russian mother told him. Unlike his younger companions, he has already been to war, in Africa, and he fears it. The train crosses Europe, reaching the interminable expanses of the Ukrainian plains. As winter arrives, enthusiasm wanes under the first mortar shells, the cold and the snow. The most heartfelt desire is no longer victory, but rather a warm bed, food, and to go back home. The immense wind ravaged steppe seems to be inhabited by ghosts.

Directors Statement

IL VARCO is a work of fiction made with both official and amateur archive material. It is the subjective account of a soldier involved in the Italian campaign in Russia during WWII. The film, as well as the footage it is made from, is populated by presences. As the war becomes more desperate, ghosts wander the Ukrainian steppe in ever-increasing numbers. Memories haunt the protagonist’s mind, taking him back to the horrors of Italy’s colonial war. And finally, fragments of a war yet to come, one being fought in Ukraine today, in the very same places. Present and past run on parallel tracks, which get closer and eventually merge. As if the wounds of over 70 years had never healed.

Director's Biography

Federico Ferrone (1981) and Michele Manzolini (1980) have worked together since 2007. Their work is focused on the creative use of found footage in films at the crossroads between archive, documentary and fiction. Their films have been selected, among others, at the Venice, Karlovy Vary, Visions du Réel, Torino and DocLisboa film festivals.

Director's Biography

FEDERICO FERRONE
2014 IL TRENO VA A MOSCA
2012 ANITA (as producer)
2009 IL NEMICO INTERNO
2007 MERICA
2004 BANLIYÖ - BANLIEUE

MICHELE MANZOLINI
2018 STORIE DEL DORMIVEGLIA (as scriptwriter)
2014 IL TRENO VA A MOSCA
2012 ANITA (as producer)
2009 IL NEMICO INTERNO
2007 MERICA
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Federico Ferrone, Michele Manzolini

Written by: Michele Manzolini, Wu Ming 2, Federico Ferrone

Produced by: Claudio Giapponesi, Roberto Cicutto

Cinematography: Andrea Vaccari

Editing: Maria Fantastica Valmori

Original Score: Simonluca Laitempergher

Sound: Simonluca Laitempergher

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Documentary Selection 2020