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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione Cinema EN (new)


69th Venice International Film Festival

Director: Alberto Barbera

29th August > 8th September 2012

Special Screening

All sections »
Immemoria (1995, 1’00”)
In aprile (1995, 2’00”)
Millennio (1995, 2’00”)
Racconti (1996, 2’00”)
Niente (1996, 2’30”)
Keep on! Keepin’ on! (1997, 3’00”)
Adombra (1999, 11’00”)
Pittore, aereo (2001, 4’00”)
Tengo la posizione (2001, 4’00”)
Piccola mare (2003, 4’00”)
Io so chi sono (2004, 3’00”)
La memoria dei cani (2006, 8’00”)
Nuvole, mani (2009, 8’00”)
Dell’ammazzare il maiale (2011, 6’00”)
Fare fuoco (2011, 10’)
Lieve, dilaga (2012, 1’00”)
Animo resistente (2012, 4’00”)
He is an artist and a craftsman. He is a “resistant animator” who makes his fi lms completely by hand, one drawing at a time, in complete solitude. His works speak a poetic language, but evolve from a daily manual labor that is both diffi cult and painstaking. His work is perfectly connected to the countryside and working-class background of his family and his birthplace, Pergola, in Le Marche, where he has decided to remain far from the media spotlight. 42-year-old Simone Massi has made nineteen fi lms in nineteen years. They are all shorts, because it takes up to two and a half years of work to complete an eight-minute fi lm at the rhythm of six-seven drawings a day. He has garnered more than 200 awards at festivals around the world in 54 different countries but in Italy he is still relatively unknown because animation, at least in its highest and most elegant (and meticulous) expressions, remains the prerogative of a handful of experts and afi cionados. He won the Best Short David di Donatello for Dell’ammazzare il maiale in 2012, the year that the Venice Film Festival chose him to make its intro logo. He appeared on the Lido in 2009 with one of his most lyrical and moving fi lms, Nuvole, mani. His most well-known works are Piccola mare (2003, with Marco Paolini narrating), Tengo la posizione (2001, inspired by Pavese and the letters of Resistance fi ghters condemned to death) and La memoria dei cani (2006), considered one of the decade’s masterpieces of animated art (earning critical acclaim at the Zagreb and Hiroshima festivals, winning awards at Stuttgart and Bucharest, and selected for Annecy, Toronto, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro...). He has created his own “scratch” style, presented as a work of subtraction in which the fi gures emerge from the engraved and excavated material and in which the play of light and shadow is fundamental in a dialog between the whites and the nuances of grey-black. Simone Massi has used a variety of techniques (pencil, India ink, colored chalk) since 1993, when the 23-year-old Massi fi rst attended the Urbino Art School. The school was fundamental to his artistic development just as the years working as a factory worker were fundamental in shaping his character: he was used to hard graft and his ethic is that things are earned by working for them. His latest fi lm, which is pencil-drawn, will have its world premiere in Venice—entitled Animo resistente, it is dedicated to the massacre of Monte Sant’Angelo. However, it will also be possible to see Lieve, dilaga, also made in 2012, and an extraordinary previously unreleased work from 2011, Fare fuoco, inspired by Jack London. The festival’s intro logo – 300 drawings for thirty seconds of cinema (and four months’ work) – made with the scratch technique, is a tribute to the dream of cinema (the one so beloved of Simone Massi), from Fellini to Angelopoulos, Wenders to Olmi and Tarkovsky to Dovženko, and opens with a reference to And the Ship Sails On (Fellini’s colossus). Massi has always worked in total independence, remaining loyal to his cinematic style made up of earth and clouds, of concrete, of essential things and careworn faces, of memory and dream, in which he makes room for the rural world, his beloved Russian cinema and the works of Pavese. It is a style that rediscovers manual labor (and its dignity) and that is not afraid of silences and “empty spaces” (full of meaning). It is a way of story-telling that uses the sequence shot technique and the practice of metamorphosis, in which lines and shapes are in constant movement and transformation, drawing a world in which everything is mysteriously connected.
Fabrizio Tassi