– Filming has kicked off on the Italian director’s new movie, which is an innovative and experimental docu-comedy about a search for meaning inspired by a failure

Elisa Fuksas is shooting Marko Polo

The set of Marko Polo (© Lodovico Colli di Felizzano)

A ferry, four characters and a voice embark on a journey. These are the images marking the first clapperboard slamming on Marko Polo, the new movie by Elisa Fuksas who kicked off filming yesterday in Ancona.

Fuksas’ filmography consists of fiction films – namely her 2012 debut Nina [+see also:
trailer
interview: Elisa Fuksas
film profile
]
and The App [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
from 2019 – and documentaries, the most recent of which, Senza fine [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, was treated to a Special Screening in Venice’s 2021 Giornate degli Autori line-up. Marko Polo is an innovative project which anticipates certain parts of the film being shot as if scripted and others as purely documentarian, real moments from a long and mysterious journey lasting from dusk until dawn. As the ship lurches from side to side, as if a perpetual metaphor for the precariousness of everything, the protagonists tackle life’s bigger questions.

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This docu-comedy relies on an ensemble cast: Iaia Forte (The King of Laughter [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mario Martone
film profile
]
), Flavio Furno (A Brighter Tomorrow [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Letizia Cesarini (the singer-songwriter known as Maria Antonietta), Elisa Fuksas herself and her sister Lavinia, alongside Elisa Casseri, who also co-wrote the film in league with the director. And the film does look set to be incredibly personal: when Elisa realises that the film she’s been working on for years is dead, it impacts everything in her life, including her faith. She wanted to talk about her conversion to Catholicism, but maybe she wasn’t enough of a believer? “In God or in the film?”, we ask ourselves, but not even she can answer this question. When faced with failure, all she’s ever been able to do is lose herself. “Because you’re tedious and you don’t know how to look after other people”, the Madonna tells her the first time they speak, desacralizing her crisis and inciting her to react. As a result, Elisa, her sister, her screenwriter and the failed film’s lead actor set off on a journey on board a ship, headed for a sanctuary which they know little to nothing about. Each of them has something to resolve, a knot to untie, much like all the other pilgrims on the boat.

“It’s an experiment”, the director explains, “into the search for meaning inspired by a failure, which is mysteriously capable of mending the faith and faithfulness between reality and representation, and between the protagonist and the world. I’m still looking for a road forwards, a way to be myself and Christian, and of being in the world”.

Cinematography on Marko Polo comes courtesy of Emanuele Zarlenga, editing will be carried out by Michelangelo Garrone, and Lucia Votoni is responsible for costumes. The film is produced by independent firm Indiana Production (belonging to the European Vuelta Group), who recently offered up Lubo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Giorgio Diritti
interview: Giorgio Diritti
film profile
]
by Giorgio Diritti and Dieci minuti [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Maria Sole Tognazzi, and who also co-produced the Sky series Unwanted – directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel – in co-production with Germany’s Pantaleon Films.

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(Translated from Italian)





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