Lost and Beautiful | Chicago Reader

Lost and Beautiful

Part documentary, part fable, this picturesque but somber 2015 feature takes place in Italy's bucolic Campania region. The real-life subject, shepherd Tommasso Cestrone, was renowned as volunteer custodian of the derelict Reggia di Carditello, an imposing 18th-century neoclassical palace once used as a royal hunting lodge but more recently as a stash house for the Camorra crime syndicate. When Cestrone died midway through filming, director Pietro Marcello created a new protagonist: the commedia dell'arte masked figure Pulcinella (Sergio Vitolo), whom the director says originated as an Etruscan demigod bringing messages from the dead to the living. This character wanders the countryside, seeking a new home for an unwanted buffalo calf that Cestrone rescued, and struggles with his own desire to become mortal. The expired 16-millimeter stock Marcello used enhances the plaintive tone of this eulogy for a man, a bull, and a culture. In Italian with subtitles.

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