Film Short Description:
An old shepherd looks out on a vast terrain as a group of spelunkers venture into what was then the third-deepest unexplored cave in 1960s Italy.
In 1961, when the world was scrambling to shiny new heights with towering skyscrapers and novel machinery, the young explorers of the Piedmont Speleological Group ventured to the rural Italian South, in search of undiscovered caves. They descended deep into the Pollino plateau, a vast meadow of geological importance, where they uncovered the Bifurto Abyss, the third deepest cave in the world then.
A languid re-enactment of this subterranean expedition, Il Buco flits between images of the lush Italian plains and the sultry dark of the cave, all the while exhibiting an awareness of the relentlessly advancing metropolis beyond them. The film straddles the past and present, refusing its audience the clarity of a distinct time. The intricate sonic details Il Buco offers is a layered and textured soundscape that almost entirely eschews expository dialogue, privileging the act of listening as a form of immersive cinematic experience.
Michelangelo Frammartino’s third feature film is an extraordinary technical feat. Shot over six weeks in the blanket darkness and absolute humidity of the Bifurto Abyss, the underground footage featuring real-life spelunkers is a stunning testament to his filmmaking prowess. Equal parts dramatic and artful, Il Buco is a restless adventure and a love letter to a forgotten analogue existence overwhelmed by the deafening humdrum of modernity.