Alessio Rigo de Righi & Matteo Zoppis' Il Solengo is a documentary focusing on the life of Mario de Marcella, a man who lived in utter seclusion, alone in a cave for over 60 years in the remote Italian countryside. Given the nickname "Il Solengo" by the townspeople, which means "lone boar thats been off from the pack", the circumstances of Mario's solitude are a bit of mystery. None of the townspeople know exactly why Mario decided to live this life as a hermit, but each of them offer their own elaborate stories as to what they believe happened to Mario, with the varied reasons often contradicting with one and other. While talking head documentaries tend to offer little appeal to me as a viewer, due primarily to the didactic nature of their storytelling, in Il Solengo this method serves a major purpose, documenting humanities' incessant nature to speculate and attempt to understand. Interviewing various hunters and other townspeople who have had some form of interaction with Mario, Il Solengo becomes a study of humanities attempt to define what they cannot simply understand, as the film argues we as individuals cannot judge someone when we haven't lived in their shoes, haven't felt their pain. The photography of the film is simple, yet gorgeous, documenting the day-to-day quiet moments of some of these townsfolk, exhibiting how their quiet idyllic society solitude draws comparisons to the life of solitude chosen by Mario. Il Solengo captures the well-intentioned hypocrisy of some of these characters, who talk of Mario's seclusion as strange and enigmatic while they see their own societal seclusion as empowering, unable to see the clear similarities between their choices in life and the more extreme, but similar hermit lifestyle chosen by Mario. Nothing throughout Il Solengo is presented as fact only hearsay of various stories of interaction with Mario, and perhaps the film's most important attribute is the important reminder it presents in how the stories we hear about pain or torment are remotely the same as living those moments. Il Solengo captures that truly understanding ones situation is rare from a societal perspective, as the film becomes a deeply fascinating, humanistic exploration of the conflicting forces that exist between individuals and collectivism, particularly in times of perceived pain.
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