Thursday, August 4, 2011

MOUTH OF THE WOLF: Two years later, a great documentary finally gets its day in the (American) sun

TrustMovies covered the film below as part of the FSLC's annual Open Roads festival in 2010. As this wonderful documentary opens today at MoMA, here's that short review again, and updated....

THE MOUTH OF THE WOLF (La bocca del lupo), walked off with Italy's Best Documentary award at the Donatellos two years ago. I don't know what the competition offered, but it is hard to imagine that anything could have legitimately bettered this film. As strange, poetic and beautiful -- as well as crass and prosaic -- as any documentary I've seen in some time, the movie, from Pietro Marcello (shown below), is a wonderful, moving surprise. It sneaks up on you; for awhile you will not even know what it is really about.

A man moves through landscapes, a city and time, and the film also moves back and forth, too, as it combines words, images, voices, music, sound (the lack of ambient sound, in particular, is very strange) and finally character -- two fascinating examples of this -- to create a rough kind of poetry.  The experience of simply sitting quietly and letting this film flow over you is such a unique one that I hesitate to say much more about it.  Except that it does involve prison, and a man (Enzo, shown below and on poster, above) whose dark eyes, thick mustache, high cheekbones and sunken cheeks may remind you a bit of Pierre Clementi. His inamorata, Mary, is something else, as well.

A kind of mosaic of a city, its people, the past and present, and "unknown desires, forbidden remembrances of a lost world."  And finally, everyone's dream: "a country house in which to live quietly, hugging each other and waiting for old age." The Mouth of the Wolf is strange art indeed, and we are lucky to have the chance to see it in a theatrical release. It will play for one week, beginning today August 4, at MoMA in New York City. Click here for screenings and tickets. Doc lovers: don't let this one get past you.

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