I happened upon this odd little documentary on the Sundance Channel tonight. An American documentarian chose to make a film about Florentine artist Lorenzo Pezzatini, whose work - from paintings to installations to live public performances - focuses entirely on what he calls "the filo" - which are strings that he's covered entirely in paint, bright paint, red & blue & yellow.
Director Nossiter interacts with the artist, the artist's wife Caterina, his crew & his producer, speaking in very good Italian as well as English (the Italian in the film is cleverly subtitled, often with parenthetical commentary by the director next to the translations), apparently attempting to understand why this local artist, who doesn't show in museums but paints on billboards or paints his "filo" in front of lines of tourists waiting to get in to see Michaelangelo's David, has spent the last twenty years of his life making colored string. He's obviously obsessed with it - my favorite part of the film is the brief tour of the artist's home, where he keeps paintings made of "filo," where he even drapes "filo" around the pictures in his photo album. Nossiter begins the film with an admission that he has failed to do this, & even laments it during the four days he spends with Pezzatini.
But I personally think that it's part of the idea of the film - at one point Caterina calls the film "four days of a communal psychodrama" - not explaining the artist, which everyone from the director to the wife to the crew attempt to do (though the artist is exceptionally noncommital), but rather enjoying the presentation of a string-obsessed man & the often beautiful things he's created with his "filo." I'm not an artist myself, but I've known people who consider themselves artists & I think anyone who has known an artist or who has created things will find a part of themselves in Pezzatini. He's one part painter, one part eccentric, & one part performance artist, & the whole of the film depicts a man, who, like his "filo," is whatever you want to see in him. I think the majority of us will be charmed.
A very enjoyable hour. I only wish I could tour his house!
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