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by Sheila Maria Lobo
August 20th, 2011

La Bocca Del Lupo begins with beautiful voice over narration that introduces the Quarto dei Mille neigbourhood of the Italian city of Genoa over hazy images of the sea. The sea has always been there. It holds all the memories of the past, from the time Genoa was first founded. And yet, by the very nature of the sea, its waters are also always in transition. The camera follows the main character Enzo as he traverses the city, and certain spaces he crosses seem to activate shots of archival footage. The structure of the film then seems to mimic the way that the sea’s waters from the past may be surfaced by moving currents of the present. Towards the end of the film, Enzo and his transsexual lover Mary are interviewed and explain their love story, but as the archival footage makes clear, La Bocca Del Lupo is never just about them. Like the sea, their love moves forward while always activating memories of the past, and not just their own but also of an entire people.

I watched the film early on in July, but without knowing at first that it was a documentary. Not until the explanatory interview did I catch on — it was simply too beautifully shot and embedded with too many tender and humorous moments to seem ‘real’. From what I’ve gathered, Marcello was originally commissioned to make a film about the liberal Jesuits of Genoa who offer refuge to indigents and the marginalized, but while researching in the city, he met Enzo and Mary and decided to focus on their story instead (Still in Motion). However it seems much more to be the story of all the Genoan people, told through isolated metaphor. That one non-fictional queer couple could be so successfully transformed into a metaphoric construction through film is something I’m just starting to uncover, and perhaps that is why I couldn’t tell it was a documentary originally; La Bocca del Lupo really does succeed in finding and crafting moments of life into visual poetry.

La Bocca Del Lupo truly made an impact on my entire Rooftop experience. I come away from it now with the desire to reinvestigate the possibilities for crafting my own documentaries, a cinematic form I’ve previously avoided. I think that I’m starting to understand now that sometimes, the most beautiful things just can’t be made up. They are already existing and have to be sought out. So, I’ve been trying to be more attentive of the isolated people and spaces of my own world that lend themselves to grander poetic metaphors. Perhaps it’s because I feel myself to be out in the world for the first time too that I’m finding a lot in Everything. I haven’t made a documentary yet, but I’ve certainly gained, from my increased awareness, some incredible memories that will surely surface in my projects to come.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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