Lost and Beautiful Screen 15 articles

Lost and Beautiful


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  • Even if Marcello's project tends to lose itself in questionable effects and sometimes-excessive arty surmoi, no doubt it will leave to audiences everywhere the image and memory of its starting point/character... It bares the traces of a culture, the spirit and hopes of those who do not surrender. Never mind the partly unconvincing decorations later added to the project: mission accomplished through sincerity and dedication, from one of the few essay filmmakers of Italy.

  • Lost and Beautiful is a highly unusual, assertive, and ultimately moving work. And though it may be the closest Marcello has come to making a traditional European art film, it exhibits all of the impulsive tics that make his films so singular and expansive.

  • What is ultimately important in this very odd film (one I need to see again to figure out, to be sure) is that a melánge of traditional Italian folkways serve as a vital current, one that can still be tapped into for both beauty and strength.

  • Lost and Beautiful's anthropomorphizing of the calf is its most daring gamble, yielding mixed results. The film's sentimentality is questionable, as its pining for the supposed simplicity of an older time can't help but feel overly romanticized. But this nostalgia is given a tonal notion of authenticity through the use of expired 16mm film stock to capture the story's desolate scenery.

  • The Italian director Pietro Marcello doesn’t invite you into his experimental documentary; you have to push your way in. It’s worth the fight, and patience.

  • What happens when you’re making a documentary and your lead subject dies? If you’re singular Italian maestro Pietro Marcello, your film morphs into a stupefying, bizarre, magical allegory... Call this movie an Italian neo-neorealist/dream logic/theatre of the absurd docufiction-like thing. I’m not sure I even loved it, but in a year where so many nonfiction images felt like dried leaves, Marcello’s fantasia stirred, flummoxed and remained with me.

  • The expired 16-millimeter stock Marcello used enhances the plaintive tone of this eulogy for a man, a bull, and a culture.

  • Lost and Beautiful (Bella e perduta) swims against the current of mainstream cinema in a number of ways, not least in extended voiceover from a buffalo (including the memorable and telling observation that “being a buffalo is an art”)... Despite this potentially grim material, the film’s sly humour far from the urban crowds recalls Agnès Varda’s The Gleaners and I, though, as in Gleaners, the resonances are far beyond the often rural settings and the lovely landscapes they offer.

  • The tone of the film, fantastical yet becalmed, finds an aesthetic analogue in the expired 16mm celluloid on which it’s shot, lending a soft, bucolic look to a work that functions at once as intimate portraiture and spiritual pastoral.

  • Directed by Pietro Marcello, the film has the beauty of a Romantic painting, and it allows us to hear the voice of the buffalo's thoughts as it contemplates the fate of beasts and men in this troubled world. I haven't seen anything like it this year.

  • Lost and Beautiful stretches ideas of what documentary can be. It holds that the truth is to be found in the imaginary realm and interweaves folklore with an ethnographic depiction of rural life to comment on the realities of Italy’s Campania region.

  • While fiction film tends to the centripetal, or rather, tends to concentrate the viewer's attention on what is in frame, Bella e perduta is an invitation to look beyond. Beyond the frame there are other buffalos, other realms and other caretakers who silently perform their everyday labour.

  • A movie that humbly bares its soul and the sadness that permeates it just to give way to the love that is all around us in nature. This is a realization that I had has days after experiencing this film, one that starts in a very strange and almost too allegorical way... Its humble principles make it one of the most surprising films of the year in terms of how much Marcello is capable of conjuring here, and how much more he would be able to do in the future.

  • Among the many other things Miguel Gomes’s Arabian Nights did, it helped refresh the context for an elastic art film like Pietro Marcello’s Lost and Beautiful. Layering together the past, the present, and the timeless world of nature, Marcello fuses styles to explore Italy’s bucolic traditions and fragile but enduring cultural legacies.

  • In its blending of fable and reality, it has affinities with Rodrigues’s bizarre recent excursion into gay Catholic picaresque, The Ornithologist, and with Green’s pastoral modern reworking of mediaeval quest narrative, The Living World. But Marcello’s is a much more overtly political film than any of those... It’s the curious virtue of this singularly original film that Lost and Beautiful manages to tell a truth that’s not just poetic, but political too, not just animal, but profoundly human.

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