INFINITO. L’universo di Luigi Ghirri

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Marazzi is supporting the documentary, directed by Matteo Parisini with the voice of Stefano Accorsi, which pays tribute to the great Emilian photographer 30 years after his death. The film is starring in an Italian tour that takes it to some of the most important fall film festivals and art venues.

Thirty years have passed since the death of Luigi Ghirri, the great photographer born and raised in Reggio Emilia and Modena, whose unique sensibility revolutionised modern photography. Marazzi participates in the anniversary celebration by sponsoring the documentary Infinito. L’universo di Luigi Ghirri (Infinite. The universe of Luigi Ghirri), directed by Matteo Parisini (Il nostro Paese, La mia virgola) and narrated by Stefano Accorsi, which was presented at the Rome Film Festival 2022 in the Freestyle section.

The bond between Marazzi Ceramiche – established in Sassuolo in 1935 by Filippo Marazzi – and Luigi Ghirri – who moved to Sassuolo with his displaced family immediately after the Second World War – is not only represented by the territory between Modena and Reggio Emilia which formed the setting for the growing success of the company as well as the life of the photographer, who was born and made many of his seminal works there. The bond between Marazzi and Luigi Ghirri became a fully fledged fellowship which, for ten years – from 1975 to 1985 – opened the factory gates to the photographer, allowing him to experiment and develop new aspects of his style and visual language. This connection was the focus of 2021’s Luigi Ghirri. The Marazzi Years 1975 – 1985 project which, with the publication of a book, a show and two exhibitions, brought to light a unique cultural experience and enriched our understanding of the work of one of Italian photography’s greatest masters.

Today, Marazzi once more celebrates the life and work of Luigi Ghirri in its sponsorship of the film Infinito. L’universo di Luigi Ghirri.

“The space between the infinite and the infinitesimal is filled by something infinitely complex: man and his life, nature. The thirst for knowledge is thus born between these extremes (…) with the urge to translate and interpret the real, thought, memory and the imagination. This is the seedbed of my work.”

The words are by Luigi Ghirri, one of the greatest and most influential Italian photographers of the twentieth century, who broke the bounds of definitions and genres to create a visual aesthetic which profoundly changed the photography of his time.

His pastel portraits of the province, considered the “locus by definition” and a vantage point from which to view the world, has become part of our collective imaginary, while his ability to capture the landscape with its banal details, its architecture and the beaches of Romagna has influenced the way present and future generations see.

Ghirri went against the trends of his time to develop a very personal method and style, and continued to meditate on the meaning of the image throughout his life in his writings. He was a prolific author, publishing sixty-nine texts over nineteen years, including poetical statements, existential arguments and daily interrogations of his time.

“Reflection is foundational to the work of Luigi Ghirri,” says director Matteo Parisini, “and just as his thinking is deeply intertwined with his photography, so I wanted to cast light on Ghirri both as a man and an artist.”

In an intense work of synthesis, the director sculpts out his thought, given voice by Bologna actor Stefano Accorsi. Ghirri’s words structure the entire film, which reviews the fundamental stages of his career in a journey through Italian provincial life in the Seventies, still caught between its rural past and the economic boom, and in the landscapes of the Padanian Plain.

“Along with his beautiful photographs, Luigi Ghirri struck me for his ability to analyse and synthesise with words as well,” says Accorsi. “It is as though he were able to immortalise exactly what he saw and recounted. He recounted the mystery that lies behind the image.”

A deep dive into the world of Luigi Ghirri, the documentary brings together the photographer’s own words with those of the people who most closely accompanied him along the milestones of his journey. These include concept artists Davide Benati and Franco Guerzoni, with whom he travelled around the province in an old car, his first printer Arrigo Ghi and art historian Arturo Carlo Quintavalle. But there are also intimate memories, recounted by his family, his “anchor to the world”, and by musician Massimo Zamboni (CCCP, CSI), with whom the photographer collaborated.

The film features numerous new videos and images from the “Archivio Eredi Ghirri”, which gave the producers full access to their archives.

Ghirri’s thought is continually reflected in his images, which in turn create a dialogue with the voices of the film’s other characters, continuously asking the viewer the same question the photographer asked himself throughout his life: what do we see when we look at a photograph?

Infinito. L’universo di Luigi Ghirri is produced by Lorenzo Cioffi, Ladoc in collaboration with Adele Ghirri, Eredi Luigi Ghirri, with the patronage of Modena City Council and the Emilia-Romagna Regional Government via the Emilia-Romagna Film Commission, with funding from Marazzi and Bper Banca, in collaboration with the Reggio Emilia City Council and the Campania Film Commission and the Campania Regional Government, Sky Arte and Rai Cultura.

It is distributed internationally by Rai Com.

Infinito. L'universo di Luigi Ghirri
Directed by Matteo Parisini
Narrated by Stefano Accorsi