We’re delighted to bring you the official poster and an exclusive clip of Hand Gestures (Il gesto delle mani) ahead of its UK premiere screenings at the London Film Festival this weekend. This observational documentary, from debut director Francesco Clerici, is a hypnotic and visually engrossing glimpse into the workings of a historic Milanese foundry and won acclaim at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year.
Established in 1913, Milan’s Battaglia Artistic Foundry produces bronze castings using almost exactly the same techniques that have existed since the fifth century BCE. First-time director Francesco Clerici’s engrossing documentary follows the process, from an original wax model of a recumbent greyhound created by noted Milanese sculptor Velasco Vitali, to the finished heavy-metal artwork.
It’s a necessarily slow and methodical series of often quite startling, even dangerous procedures, which Clerici, who was his own cinematographer, illustrates with a largely static camera and almost no narration or dialogue. He does, however, interweave 16mm monochrome archive footage shot in the same foundry some five decades earlier, a device that emphasises the unchanging relationship between artist and artisan and the heavy physicality of the work.
There’s few tickets remaining for its two shows at the London Film Festival this weekend. Hand Gestures has a limited UK release on Friday 20 November before it plays across Picturehouse Cinemas on Tuesday 1 December as part of our weekly strand dedicated to championing exciting new features, Discover Tuesdays. Follow @GestodelleMani on Twitter.
Watch the exclusive clip…