The Lack is quite an appropriate title for the latest work of Nicolò Massazza and Iacopo Bedogni, aka Masbedo, an Italian creative duo active within video art, performance and photography. On 31 August their first feature film was screened at the 71th Venice Film Festival as a special event within the Venice Days section.
The movie is set in Iceland, a country that served as a location for their 2012 documentary Tralalà, and in the Aeolian Islands, at Lisca Bianca to be precise, where Michelangelo Antonioni shot The Adventure. Although The Lack carries the recognisable traits of their previous works, it is definitely a further step into a more traditional narrative production for Masbedo.
Massazza and Bedogni have tried to inject their themes into a different format, in this case a 76-minute story whose intensity is conveyed by six female characters immersed in a sublime landscape. The austere beauty of nature was photographed by cinematographers Gherardo Rossi and Giuseppe Domingo Romano, while its “voice” was captured by Benni Atria’s intense sound design.
Composed of four variations on the topic of absence, The Lack attempts to build a bridge between the fields of film and video art, which, at least in Italy, are perceived as too distant and distinct. Indeed, as explicitly stated by Bedogni, the lack of communication (and cross-fertilisation, I would add) between various sectors of the creative and cultural industries is a major problem.
According to the director critics play a part in this by not pushing their boundaries (i.e. film critics don’t consider the video art, or vice versa art critics don’t dare to approach the so-called narrative film), while the industry is perceived as too inhibited and hinged on old schemes.
This situation, says Bedogni, will be overcome in the near future by the audiences themselves. That is why this is a very exciting moment for those artists working across film and video art and trying to redefine the boundaries between the two. In the meantime, Masbedo’s way to dismantle old habits is by contaminating languages as much as possible.