Italy, Germany, France


During the economic boom of the 1960s, Europe’s highest building is being built in Italy’s prosperous North. At the other end of the country, young speleologists explore Europe’s deepest cave in the untouched Calabrian hinterland. The bottom of the Bifurto Abyss, 700 meters below Earth, is reached for the first time. The intruders’ venture goes unnoticed by the inhabitants of a small neighbouring village, but not by the old shepherd of the Pollino plateau whose solitary life begins to interweave with the group’s journey. Another work of nearly wordless organic beauty that touches on the mystical, THE HOLE chronicles a visit through unknown depths of life and nature and parallels two great voyages to the interior.

Director's Statement

In January 2007, the mayor of the Calabrian village where I was filming LE QUATTRO VOLTE, took me on a tour of the Pollino. “You must see the wonders of these mountains!”, he said. He brought me to a sinkhole where a meagre cut in the ground could be seen. I was perplexed, disappointed. The mayor, on the other hand, enthusiastic and proud, threw a large stone into that void. It got swallowed by darkness. The bottom was so deep that nothing could be seen nor heard. That disappearance, that lack of response, gave me a very strong emotion. That strange place stuck with me, calling me back to it years later, to question it and create a project within the silent blackness of the Bifurto Abyss.

Director's Biography

Michelangelo Frammartino is an Italian filmmaker and screenwriter, born in Milan to Calabrian parents in 1968.
Frammartino’s debut IL DONO (2003), a no-budget feature film, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival, won the Grand Prix at the Annecy Film Festival and the Jury Prize at both Thessaloniki and Warsaw.
Frammartino’s second feature, LE QUATTRO VOLTE (2010) premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival. The film won the Europa Cinemas “Best European Film” award in Cannes, and the main prize at CPH:DOX.
In 2013, Frammartino’s installation ALBERI, a 26-minute loop, premiered at MoMA PS1 and was subsequently shown at other museums, including Centre Pompidou’s 2021 Hors Pistes Festival.
Frammartino’s third feature film, THE HOLE (Il Buco), was shot in Southern Italy, in the neighbouring regions of Calabria and Basilicata which keep inspiring him and where all his previous works were shot. With the approach of an anthropologist, Frammartino captures the traditional and transcendent with a simplicity and spirituality that is unique to his filmography.

2021 - IL BUCO, Feature
2013 - ALBERI, Short
2010 - LE QUATTRO VOLTE, Feature
2003 - IL DONO, Feature

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Michelangelo Frammartino

Written by: Michelangelo Frammartino, Giovanna Giuliani

Produced by: Marco Serrecchia, Michelangelo Frammartino, Philippe Bober

Cinematography: Renato Berta

Editing: Benni Atria

Production Design: Giliano Carli

Costume Design: Stefania Grilli

Sound: Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich, Florian Holzner

Visual Effects: Gilberto Arpioni

Casting: Giovanna Giuliani

Cast: Nicola Lanza (Zi' Nicola), Jacopo Elia (Speleologist), Denise Trombin (Speleologist), Leonardo Larocca (Speleologist), Paolo Cossi (Speleologist and drawer), Giuseppe Campolongo

Nominations and Awards

  • European Sound 2022
  • Feature Film Selection 2022