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Il passaggio della linea

filmmaker : Pietro Marcello
Composer : Mirko Signorile, Marco Messina
Italy, 2007
Production : Indigo Film

French, English


A nocturnal tale, a trip to the heart of Italy on the night trains that carry the poor and the immigrants who travel the length of the peninsula from south to north and vice versa. The journeys, stations, landscapes, industries, architecture, the faces and the dialects, all come together to offer a snapshot of the country.

Tënk's film review

In the beginning, the director takes the old express night trains that were decommissioned shortly after the film’s release with the arrival of high-speed trains. The result of hard and tireless work, the film travels from Salerno to Trento, from Genoa to Sicily: an endless voyage during which a new Italian landscape is depicted through the window. The journey, from night to morning, features countless encounters on board the old trains, contributing to the composition of a portrait of an invisible Italy with its commuters, seasonal workers, migrants, vagabonds and ageing anarchists. Winner of the Orizzonti Section at Venice, the strength of this film lies in a simple transformation: conceived as an inquiry without any defined intrigue and with a tiny budget, it turns into an unforgettable nocturnal poem revealing a world that’s about to disappear. 

Daniela Persico
Programmer and critic

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Pietro Marcello

After studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Pietro Marcello made his debut in 2000 as assistant director for the documentary "Gennarino" by Leonardo Di Costanzo and directed the short documentary film "La Baracca" (2005). In 2007 he shoots "Il passaggio della linea", a documentary shot at night on Italian express trains. In 2009 he directed the dramatic documentary "La Bocca del lupo", which won the Torino Film Festival and then the Nastro d'Argento, the David di Donatello for best documentary and the Vittorio De Seta prize at the Bif&st 2010 for best documentary. In 2011 he presents two documentaries at the Venice Film Festival: "Il silenzio di Pelešjan", about the avant-garde director Artavazd Pelechian, and "Marco Bellocchio, Venezia 2011", a short portrait of the director Marco Bellocchio. In 2015 Pietro Marcello presents the feature film "Bella e perduta" at the Locarno and Toronto festivals. In 2019 he directs his first feature film, a project he has been working on for a long time, "Martin Eden" - based on the novel by Jack London - which was presented in Venice (where actor Luca Marinelli received the Coppa Volpi) and in Toronto where it won the Platform Award".

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