Il Buco

Director: Michelangelo Frammartino
Origin: France, Germany, Italy (2021)
Language: Italian with English subtitles

The 2021 Venice competition’s Special Jury Prize winner is a gorgeous meditation on light, landscape and the passage of history.

In 1961, a team of Italian spelunkers set out to chart the darkness of the Bifurto Abyss, a 687-metre-deep cave system in rural Calabria. In Il Buco, multi-award-winning artist and filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino (Le Quattro Volte) restages this descent, crafting a poetic and nearly-wordless rumination on geologic and human time that parallels the young speleologists’ efforts with the labours of a mysterious shepherd tending his cattle in the nearby hills.

Working with luscious images from Swiss master cinematographer Renato Berta (whose past collaborators include Jean-Luc Godard and Éric Rohmer), Frammartino invites contemplation on the economic gulf between northern and southern Italy, on the passing of the old ways in the face of encroaching modernity, and on the sublimeness of the environment. Also winning Venice’s FEDIC Award for Best Film and environmentally focused Green Drop Award, Il Buco is a film of unhurried style and profoundly muted sound design that has drawn comparisons with the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

“Stunning … A feast for the senses and soft-spoken hymn to human endeavour and the transcendent, mysterious beauty of the natural world.” – Little White Lies

Please note: MIFF’s full program will launch on Tuesday 12 July. Tickets will be available to MIFF Members from Tuesday 12 July and to the general public from Friday 15 July.

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Key Cast
Denise Trombin, Jacopo Elia, Nicola Lanza, Paolo Cossi
Michelangelo Frammartino
Marco Serrecchia, Michelangelo Frammartino, Philippe Bober
Giovanna Giuliani, Michelangelo Frammartino
Renato Berta
Benni Atria
Production Designer
Giliano Carli
Premiere Status
Victorian Premiere