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Martin Eden
Special Presentation

Bold and dazzling, acclaimed writer/director Pietro Marcello’s multi award-winning drama Martin Eden provocatively transports Jack London’s 1909 novel about a self-taught and outspoken writer out of the American West and into a pivotal moment in Italy’s pre-war history.

Thirty-something sailor Martin Eden (remarkable newcomer Luca Marinelli) is inspired to remake himself as a novelist, following a chance encounter with the sophisticated, wealthy Elena (the luminous Jessica Cressy). She immediately becomes not only the object of his passionate affections, but also a symbol of the status Martin aspires to achieve. Pursuing his newfound social and literary obsessions, Martin quickly abandons his friends and working-class roots, but eventually undergoes a political awakening that triggers yet another change in him.

A passionate and enthralling cinematic achievement in the tradition of Rossellini and Visconti, Pietro Marcello’s enveloping and superbly mounted fable interweaves historical footage with an extraordinary production design of his own. The film’s ideas are universal and timeless: the hypocrisy of class, the disillusionment of ideologies, the limits of romanticism and realism, and the question of what it means ultimately, to be an individual.

A richly involving character portrait and a sprawling intellectual and aesthetic feast.
The Los Angeles Times
Best Actor, Venice International Film Festival 2019
Platform Prize (Best Film), Toronto International Film Festival 2019
Australian Premiere
Drama | Italy | 2019 | 127 min
Italian with English subtitles
Pietro Marcello
Luca Marinelli, Carlo Cecchi, Jessica Cressy, Vicenzo Nemolato


Pietro Marcello headshot

Pietro Marcello

Pietro Marcello is a writer/director from Campania, Italy. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts, Naples where he studied painting. Marcello went on to teach in a Naples prison, and make radio and video documentaries. Since 2004, he has directed more than eight documentary films. In 2015 he directed his first fiction film, Lost and Beautiful. Several of his films have been presented at international film festivals, where they received various awards and nominations.