A bronze foundry in Milan. Hands that shape, knead, model, mix, repair, sand and polish. Work carried out on matter and fire, out of which the bronze figure of a dog by artist Velasco Vitali will ultimately emerge. The Fonderia Artistica Battaglia was founded in 1913 and is one of the oldest and most important artistic foundries in Italy. It produces bronze sculptures using lost-wax casting, a founding technique that dates back to the 4th century BC and is still done in much the same way today.
Who is the sculptor? The one who designs the work of art or the one who, with passion and discipline, forges the material to give it form? The young film director Francesco Clerici tries to answer this question by documenting the work of the artisans at Milan’s famous foundry as simply but precisely as possible. The result is a film – presented at the Berlin Film Festival Forum and awarded the Fipresci prize – that responds with the skill of a craftsman whose labour becomes the perfect model for this entirely self-produced film.
The ancient technique is only passed down by example, and this is why it’s crucial to witness manual labour, which follows a process but is also carried out with tenderness and passion. This is a testimony to a professionalism that’s at risk of disappearing in a society that’s forgotten to translate its history into art.
Programmer and critic
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