VdR 2017. Review of “Un inferno” by Camilla Salvatore

“Un inferno” is Italian newcomer Camilla Salvatore’s third short film. A quirky and smart short doc about a little tattoo parlor in Torre del Greco, a town outside Naples, it was shown in the “Premiers Pas” section of the 2017 Visions du Réel Film Festival after having had its world premiere at the Trieste Film Festival earlier this year.

In the aforementioned tattoo parlor, it is possible to meet a lot of different people hailing from varied and various walks of life. At first sight, it may seem just like any other place. Yet, we discover it hides a microcosm of life that shows us that tattoos or the tattooing practice becomes a medium to describe an aspect of that part of society. Small talk and confessions between the tattoo artist and customers show the nature and mood of each character. “Un Inferno” is a description of an authentic place, with its myths and its rules. It becomes the portrait of a profession able to create intimacy and become involved with people’s pain, blood and stories.

Conceived, shot and edited cleverly and sensitively, “Un inferno” is purely observational and lets us in on the goings-on of the parlor, its daily activities, customers, and the stories its walls conceal. It shows everything as it is and does not embellish reality in any way. The film and the (shady) characters it portrays may seem somewhat off-putting at first because of the stories we hear and who tells them, but the film gives us a peek into an inherent part of a culture – even a subculture – and in that, it is highly satisfying and edifying.

The world depicted in “Un inferno” is not innately Italian or Neopolitan, it is universal. “Un inferno” may appear shocking in that it shows us truthfully what we already know exists but, something that most of us are not confronted with on a daily basis. People walk in to have their bodies rewritten following their lives or dreams. In that, the act of tattooing becomes one of social rebellion or even tribal sorcery. The preciseness of the strokes becomes an antidote to the chaos of life. In the sensual Neapolitan dialect, “Un inferno” also shows us the power of the story and the symbolic image (in this case, tattoo) and how big of a role it has in helping us find ourselves and tell our story.




Production: FILMaP-Atelier di cinema del reale, Arci Movie, Parallelo 41 produzioni (Italy, 2016)

Producer: Antonella Di Nocera

Director: Camilla Salvatore

Cinematography: Camilla Salvatore

Editing: Camilla Salvatore

 Color – 15 min.

Premiere: 23/01/2017 (Trieste Film Festival)

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