Archive of films Turtles on Their Backs / Tartarughe sul dorso

2004, 92 min

Section: Focus on New Italian Directors
Year: 2007

A man and a woman. She is the embodiment of the kind of woman he has always dreamed of. A lyrical film consisting of allusions and short motifs in which, to two young dreamers, the outside world appears upside down – like when the woman turns the little turtle on its back.


He’s in prison and whenever she comes to see him, they play scrabble. Every game means a trip into the past; gradually they unearth and piece together fragments of their lives up until now, either shared or spent on their own. Both are around the age of 30 and they don’t seem to have much experience of the world around them. Both behave in their environment like strangers who don’t really want to take on board the ordinary rules of life. She studied medicine but tried out all sorts of things before she eventually qualified. He only sought occasional work and still has his photography as a hobby. Both of them find it difficult to connect with the outside world. They never felt at ease in relationships and were only really looking for an impulse which would help them put an end to it. He started seeing her in the metro, her back was always turned, he knew nothing about this girl and so he started daydreaming about her. She could sense his gaze on her, but it was chance that threw them together. And chance has driven them apart again after brief moments of happiness, when they both knew that they had always been destined for one another...

About the director

Stefano Pasetto (b. 1970, Rome) initially studied aesthetics; in 1996 he graduated with a dissertation on the Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski. From 1996 to 1999 he was a student at the famous Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia where, as a screenwriter and editor, he was involved in several short films and documentaries. He later focused on film direction and, since the end of the 1990s, has made five short feature and documentary films, including the extensive ten-part series of television documentaries entitled Rebellious Italian Women of the 20th Century (Le ribelli del novecento, 2002–2003). The film Turtles on Their Backs, which he also wrote, is his feature film debut. The main female role is played by Slovak actress Barbora Bobulova.


Media Luna New Films UG
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Tel: +49 221 510 918 91
Fax: +49 221 510 918 99

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Focus on New Italian Directors
Director: Stefano Pasetto
Screenplay: Stefano Pasetto
Dir. of Photography: Paolo Bravi
Music: Banda Osiris
Editor: Alessio Doglione
Producer: Rosanna Seregni
Production: Sintra
Cast: Fabrizio Rongione, Barbora Bobulova, Gordana Miletic, Luigi Diberti, Vittorio Amandola, Antonio Manzini
Contact: Media Luna New Films UG


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