A beautiful summer morning in the port city Naples turns out fateful for the young sailor Martin Eden. His beloved comes from an aristocratic family, which motivates the impoverished young man to educate himself in culture and literature so that he can become a writer – one of the eyes through which the world sees itself. Love, Baudelaire’s poetry, Herbert Spencer’s political philosophy, as well as his own spite and personal charm, land Eden a place among the elite… eventually leading to bitter disappointments that strip all value from everything he has achieved.
Loosely based upon Jack London’s 1909 iconic American novel Martin Eden, the film takes place in a period that encompasses the key distinctive passions, cultural aspects, and emerging ideas of 20th-century Europe via a magnetic collage of images and sound. Shot on 16mm film, it features impressive original music by Italian composers, as well as leitmotivs by Joe Dassin, J.S. Bach, Debussy, Oleg Karavaychuk and others that underscore the emotional travails of the lead characters. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, where its lead actor, Luca Marinelli, won the prestigious Volpi Cup for Best Actor.
Foreword by the programme curator: Jack London's character is recast into Italy’s class conflict and reborn in a stylised form of impressionist cinema.