a production Baires Produzioni / Maurizio and Manuel Tedesco
in collaboration with Istituto Luce Cinecittà, la Regione del Veneto
and in association with Gruppo Banco Desio
in accordante with current legislation on Tax Credit
under the High Patronage of the Presidency of the Republic, inserted in the national program of the commemorations of the historical scientific committee for anniversaries of national interest and with the patronage of the Ministry of Defense
The film, made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 90th of the Historical Archive of the Luce Institute, narrates the story of the millions of young people involved in this tragic event. The symbol used is precisely he who will be chosen to represent the huge multitude of the fallen who remained anonymous: The Unknown Soldier.
In particular this is the story of Mario, his friends and his girlfriend. Ordinary boys from the small-town middle class, enthusiastic and full of projects for a future that will be denied to many of them.
In addition to containing a part of fiction, "Mud and Glory" takes advantage of the archive material from the Historical Archive of the Luce Institute, which has undergone colorization and sound procedures to achieve even more evocative and original results.
The Great War, the first global one, atrocious and absurd, a fierce storm of steel which destroyed Europe and in Italy alone killed six hundred and fifty thousand and injured a million soldiers. The first war of machines, men and industries fought by all, the interventionists and pacifists, by the socialists and nationalists, by the illiterate and great intellectuals.
"Mud and Glory" makes use of a particular, original narrative style. The film is in fact assembled with fiction and stock footage that interact continuously to the point that the archive no longer represents, as is normal practice, only and solely the past, the fact, the cold and final irrefutable testimony of the event, but enters and exits from the reconstruction of fantasy embodied with the pathos of reality thus imprinting its likelihood.
The characters migrate from the shot that represents them and moves them into the archive world and vice versa. In order to achieve all of this, so as to fully permeate the shot and archive, my first goal was to "update" the historic films, that is make them approachable as if they were shot today and not a century ago.
In the Luce laboratories and in other highly specialized ones, the precious films of the Historical Archive were then scanned in High Definition, scratches and smudges were removed, and the digital acquisition was carried out by varying the sliding speed - to remove the fluctuations that the movie cameras of the age had and which caused the ridiculous, accelerated movements to which we are accustomed.
Finally the black and white images were colorized, but in full respect of the philology and history, with a process whose results look very similar to the two-color printing at the beginning of the century, like Charles Urban’s Kinemacolor.
"In search of the lost colors", you might say, to see places, people and things with eyes of today, to give new life to the thousand unnamed faces imprinted a hundred years ago on the films kept in the archives of the Luce Institute and have them become the actual protagonists of the film story again, shoulder to shoulder with the actors that evoke them.
Stark daring choices, which may not be shared by those who feel nostalgic for the patina of antiquity of old images that we are all accustomed to, but in which I firmly believe, because they have been adopted not for technical exhibitionism or desire to win over the public, but, on the contrary, because necessary and crucial, as they generate dramaturgy and allow the viewer to identify with the story in the most lively and participative way possible. The war of yesterday is like today’s, seeing it in color and at the right pace accentuates its tragic topicality and induces us to reflect on the nature of man.
The coloring operation, the first in Italy as far as I am aware, was carried out by a pool of twenty "colorists" coordinated and led by Marco Kuveiller while the elaborate and evocative photography is the work of Stefano Paradiso that shot with a RED 4K camera.
The locations of the film’s fiction are in Verona and its surroundings. The trench where some of the more dramatic scenes take place, was built on the slopes of Monte Baldo, with an extraordinary accuracy under the direction of the set-designer and historical consultant Mauro Quattrina.
The main character of the film is Mario, an ordinary boy born in 1914. He was born in the center of Italy, in a small town on the Riviera Romagnola, deliberately not specified. He is enthusiastic and full of projects for his future, a future that he will never see.
Mario represents his peers, the five million that were called to arms during the three years of the conflict: they came from Sicily, Piedmont, Sardinia, Veneto, from every region of that young Italy and it was exactly in the mud of the trenches that they got to know each other and, according to some historians, even concretely completed national unity.