Archive of films The Embalmer / L' Imbalsamatore

2002, 100 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2003

A dark drama about fulfilling dreams, rejected love and repressed desires within a bizarre love triangle formed by the diminutive taxidermist Peppino, the beautiful Valerio and the frivolous Deborah. 


An excessively small older man, an excessively tall younger man and a mysterious young woman form an odd triangle in this disturbing Italian film. One day Peppino, an aging taxidermist, meets 20-year-old waiter Valerio and offers him a position as assistant in his studio. An unusual relationship forms between the men, based on Valerio’s naive admiration for Peppino’s worldly manner and on Peppino’s painful awareness of his lack of love. Valerio is pampered and spoiled by his employer until Deborah comes between the friends and wins the favour of the beguiled young man. Desperate Peppino, whose object of affection is being drawn away from him, refuses to accept a state of affairs condemning him to return to isolation. Selected last year for the prestigious Directors Fortnight section at Cannes, the movie is engaging for its suggestive rendering of the disquieting milieu surrounding the three loners, an atmosphere rife with suppressed emotion and hatred. The impressive Ernesto Mahieux (Peppino) took the Italian Academy Award (David di Donatello) for Best Supporting Actor.

About the director

Matteo Garrone (b. 1968, Rome) has had a passion for painting since his days at an art high school and he spends much of his free time at an easel. His first feature, Terra di mezzo, took the Special Jury Prize at the 1997 Torino International Festival of Young Cinema, and the documentary Oreste Pipolo, fotografo di matrimoni was screened at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival. His next two features, Ospiti and Estate Romana, were also festival successes. Selected filmography: Silhouette (1996), Terra di mezzo (1997), Benvienido Espirito Santo (1997), Un caso di forza maggiore (1998), Ospiti (1998), Estate Romana (2000). 


Via Eustachio Manfredi 15, 00197, Rome
Tel: +39 06 807 7252
Fax: +39 06 807 6156

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Matteo Garrone
Screenplay: Matteo Garrone
Dir. of Photography: Marco Onorato
Music: Banda Osiris
Editor: Marco Spoletini
Producer: Domenico Procacci
Production: Fandango
Cast: Ernesto Mahieux, Valerio Foglia Manzillo, Elisabetta Rocchetti
Contact: Intramovies

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