'Il capo' (2010) by Yuri Ancarani

‘Il capo’ (2010) by Yuri Ancarani

An artist friend tipped me of a film ‘Il capo’ (the chief) as he said it made him think of Senseness. This documentary (2010) by Yuri Ancarani is set in a marble quarry in the Carrara region of the Apuan Alps, in Northwest Italy –a place most of us would never think to visit. Yet here we get to see inside the quarry and it looks like a frozen landscape, where big chards of white rock resemble ice breaking away from the berg. Now what makes this Senseness? It is the attention to the human and tactile presence in this otherwise harsh industrial environment. We see a man – il capo – orchestrate the movements of the diggers by directing them with small and very precise hand movements. From seeing this clip we can see that the extraction process of marble is quite a delicate operation. The language of gestures and signs seems so simple yet is so sophisticated like a dance that is finely tuning into the surroundings. With this, the filmmaker captures a choreography of the sensual in a rock hard context. And, provides us with an alternative vision, a human vision, of mining that otherwise is tremendously alienating. As my friend mentioned, in the midst of the heavy-duty machinery the film is a warming tribute to the craftsmanship and care of the miners, and where small movements make a difference.