Vancity Theatre Screening | Panorama
Luca Marinelli stars as the aspiring writer in this audacious transposition of Jack London’s novel to Italy in the first half of the Twentieth Century. A working class auto-didact, Martin falls under the spell of wealthy, beautiful Elena (Jessica Cressy), and strives to prove himself worthy of her love. With the help of Elene’s wealthy family, Martin plunges headlong into the classics, but it’s his experience with Baudelaire, the seminal poet of modern life, that affects him most deeply. From here on out, he endeavours to engage with his most immediate realities, to comment on the growing class divide, and to ride the tide of socialism—endeavours which put this burgeoning novelist at the forefront of the social debates of the 20th century.
Martin Eden is in some senses a throwback to an earlier era of grandiose Italian political filmmaking, think Visconti and Bertolucci, though with its bravura switches in style and tone it is also its own unique thing.
"A richly involving character portrait and a sprawling intellectual and aesthetic feast, Martin Eden transplants Jack London’s 1909 Oakland-set novel to Italy at an unspecified moment during the 20th century. Luca Marinelli gives a star-making turn as London’s semi-autobiographical alter ego, an uneducated sailor who falls hard for the daughter of a wealthy Neapolitan family, sets out to become a writer and experiences a political awakening." Justin Chang, LA Times
Winner: Best Actor, Venice Film Festival; Platform Award, Toronto International Film Festival
"A spectacular performance… Marinelli is a force of nature in every scene and doesn’t play Eden so much as inhabit him." Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter
"An absolute blast. Includes documentary footage, wealthy decadence, left-wing politics, angry speeches (in Italian!), beautiful women, square-jawed men, quotations from Baudelaire and the heroic deployment of manual typewriters, hand-rolled cigarettes, ascots and Volvo sedans. Everything I love in movies, more or less." AO Scott, New York Times
"One of the most epic-feeling Italian movies in years, a throwback to ’70s-era big-canvas statements. Lead actor Luca Marinelli, rousing in every scene, comes within hailing distance of the young Robert De Niro."
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Luca Marinelli, Jessica Cressy, Vincenzo Nemolato, Marco Leonardi, Denise Sardisco
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