I find myself once again writing about cinema, but once again, I find find that this medium throws up, ever so once in a while, an offering which really alters my perspective on communication in general. Rarely does this happen in fashion, and rarely does it it happen in photography, unless we are consider reportage and the World Press Photographers currently being exhibited at the Corso Como 10 Gallery in Milano.
From the very first in-your-face frames of a terrifying baying dog, counter-pointed by the calming voice, and then the figure of the film's dog-groomer hero, Marcello, Matteo Garrone draws us into a violent and disturbing world. From the opening sequence, I couldn't take my eyes from the screen.
Such is the performance of the cast, brilliantly assembled by Francesco Vedovati, and in particular relative unknown Marcello Fonte, and such is the beauty of the photography in this harsh setting, that "Dogman" truly stands out os a reference for all wannabe film-makers in my opinion.
Based loosely on the true story of the "Il Canaro della Magliana" the film sets the scene for the murder which forms the movie's climax. Everything up to then is meticulous, and exquisitely constructed character and social study, highlighting the ease with which people justify their own existence, that of others, and intervene... or not, when situations become untenable.
The performance by Marcello Fonte is utterly spellbinding, and worthy of every leaf on the Palm D'Or he so deservedly won at this years Cannes Festival.
The only downside of having seen this example of cinema at it's very best, is that it really makes it tough to watch movies of lesser craft and value subsequently. A rare and wonderful occasion to restore faith in Italian Cinema, or at least a small part of it. That said, the film is as one might expect, very far from being commercial; I watched it at my local Cinema Moderno, along with a disturbingly grand total of 8 other "bums on seats". Hopefully the Cannes success will drive footfall to theatres... we live in hope!