A bronze foundry in Milan. Hands that shape, knead, model, mix, repair, sand and polish. Work carried out on matter and fire, out of which the bronze figure of a dog by artist Velasco Vitali will ultimately emerge. The Fonderia Artistica Battaglia was founded in 1913 and is one of the oldest and most important artistic foundries in Italy. It produces bronze sculptures using lost-wax casting, a founding technique that dates back to the 4th century BC and is still done in much the same way today.
The film draws on a purely observational mode. It takes note of the workshop and its equipment, the peeling posters on the walls showing how long people have been working here. The sounds of work blend into the noise of the radio and the conversations in the background. The camera’s concentrated, patient gaze corresponds to the handwork being carried out. The individual stages in the creation process are interspersed with historical images of the foundry, revealing a continuity that spans decades. It is the hands and their gestures that link us to the world and create a connecting line from the past to the present. (Annette Lingg)
Production: Velasco Vitali, Bellano; Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, Milan
Screenplay: Francesco Clerici
Camera: Francesco Clerici
Cast: Andrea Boccone, Nicolae Ciortan, Mario Conti, Luigi Contino
Format: DCP 1:1.78 (16:9), Colour & Black/White
Running time: 77 min