Fabio Del Greco, independent cinema between melancholy, redemption and transcendence

Table of Contents

Fabio del Greco was born in 1974 in Pescara, an Abruzzo city on the Adriatic Sea. Already in elementary school he wrote short stories. The first movie he sees in the cinema is Flash Gordon, and the experience in the theater affects him deeply. At the age of 10 he discovers Steven Spielberg’s cinema. 

At the age of 12 he realizes that what is most suitable for him is storytelling in images: his great passion becomes making films. During middle school he made several feature films with friends, never completed definitively. These are rudimentary fantasy adventure feature film experiments, shot with an old cathode ray tube camera with portable video recorder, which allow Del Greco to understand the mechanisms of filmmaking.

Then, in the late 1980s, he was given a modern VHS camcorder that allowed him to devote himself more seriously to filmmaking. These sketches of never completed feature films turn out to be an extraordinary school of cinema. He will use fragments of those scenes more than 30 years later in the film Employee’s mystery

In this period the reference films are those of Brian De Palma, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, together with many other authors of American cinema.

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Fabio Del Greco in The Moon in Aries

In 1994 he enrolled in the Faculty of Foreign Languages ​​and Letters of the Gabriele d’Annunzio University of Pescara, the only one in the city to have a cinema course. Experience confirms his conviction that he is not interested in theoretical studies of cinema and completing his degree but to experiment with the creation of new film projects as a director, screenwriter, actor and editor

In this period he discovers he falls in love with arthouse cinema in particular with the films of Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini and the other authors of the great Italian cinema, which will completely change his idea of cinema. He will watch and study countless times what he considers the most important film in the history of cinema: Otto e Mezzo.

The first short films

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City Lights

In 1996, with material shot years before, he made his first short film Summer Days. It is a story built in flashbacks that leads the protagonist, Fabio del Greco himself, to remember all the misadventures he experienced with a friend with whom he has lost contact, and of which he learns about the recent murder by listening to the radio. The short film tells the loss of innocence and the painful passage from adolescence to adulthood. It is an awareness of how in life, despite the many encounters we have, we are destined to travel lonely and individual paths. 

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City Lights

In 1997 he made City Lights, a film of about 30 minutes in black and white about the alienation of a young bourgeois during the cold Christmas period, between wandering, drug dealers, drugs, thefts and strange childhood vision, while among the lights of the city the consumerist ritual of the end of year celebrations is consummated.

The two films were edited with analog magnetic tape technology, using an editing unit that connected two VHS VCRs. Both short films were selected by Enrico Ghezzi at the 1997 edition of the Bellaria Festival

Transfer to Rome

In 1998 he moved to Rome and studied at the Maldoror film school in Piazza Vittorio, directed by the Algerian director Kadur Naimi. He also studies at the Dams University of Roma Tre. In the meantime, he begins to frequent industrial film sets as an extra, assistant director and actor in supporting roles. This becomes a second important film school through which he learns the production mechanisms and the work on the big sets, such as that of the film The Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese, where he meets the poet and playwright Massimiliano Perrotta with whom he will collaborate in many films for the film script. 

University short

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Fabio Del Greco in The Moon in Aries

films The film school and the university did not satisfy him from a creative point of view and he proceeded to make new films involving the friends of Dams di Roma Tre. He shoots several short films with actor Karim Galici, but the most interesting result of the Roman university period is The Moon in Aries, a medium-length film from 2000, where he himself plays the protagonist. 

The Moon in Aries is the story of a young aspiring poet who arrives in Rome after leaving his provincial city. He meets corrupt publishers who steal his manuscript, meets a girl he falls in love with but who abandons him and betrays him. 

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The film, lasting about 50 minutes, is interpreted by Fabio del Greco himself with a style that oscillates between grotesque irony and existential drama. It is a reflection on art and its manipulation, shot in a very personal style. The actors Karim Galici, Valerio Mollica and the writer Claudio Lorusso collaborate on the film. 

The development of projects within the official cinema

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After writing 3 screenplays and trying to make them within the Italian film industry, between the offices of producers that Fabio Del Greco discovers to be bureaucrats linked to public funds, the director realizes that every film project depends on state and European public funding, and that that is not a sustainable way to develop a prolific and coherent artistic discourse

Development times become very long and the possibilities of realizing a project are linked to situations and mechanisms that have little to do with creativity and art. He knows many operators in the sector and realizes that cinema does not give opportunities for expression like literature and the other arts: even arthouse cinema turns out to be a passive industry, a corpse kept alive by state funding and monopolized by a bizarre cultural caste. 

Entertainment cinema, on the other hand, still exists, but it is linked to fashions, to the editorial policies of televisions, to television comedians or to the terrible Christmas films. After a period of disappointing inactivity and creative impoverishment, convinced that cinema is an art that can be practiced outside the cumbersome mechanisms of the mainstream circuit, he decides to devote himself full time to the making of independent films, producing his own films. project, without depending on the official bureaucratic mechanisms of film production, which revolve exclusively around money and the issues that interest those who manage them. 

A better life

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The film was born from the collaboration with the actress Chiara Pavoni, known a couple of years earlier in Calabria, where Fabio Del Greco had been called to shoot a short film for a film school.

After having worked in hundreds of industrial film sets in Cinecittà and as assistant director, editor and small acting roles, in the summer of 2007 he shot his first feature film, A better life, a noir on the undergrowth of the entertainment world, in which plays the protagonist Andrea Casadei, a private investigator who uses microphones and audio bugs to listen to the lives of others. 

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His investigations will cross b-movie actress Marina. From the film emerges a world of corruption and existential degradation in Rome in the early 2000s. The film is in black and white, shot with a very low budget, and was released in November 2007 and is defined by cinemaitaliano.info as the best Italian film debut. 2007. 

Watch A better life


Mondo folle

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A few years later, in 2010, he made Crazy world, a dramatic thriller that tells the life of a precarious worker in the Berlusconi era, political parties and sex scandals. Luca, also played by Fabio del Greco himself, is a precarious waiter who works in a restaurant who feeds spoiled food to customers and does not pay employees. 

The turning point comes when he meets an old friend of his from the University who is earning a lot of money with her nightclub: it is a place where politicians meet to meet young escorts and snort cocaine. Luca begins a relationship with his ex friend and manages the place together with her. The money comes in torrents but the situation falls into a web of blackmail, hidden cameras and violence, up to a pure action movie ending. 

Watch Crazy World


I am nothing

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In the following years Del Greco made I am nothing, distributed in 2015 internationally. It is an existential thriller that deals with philosophical and esoteric themes through the thriller and adventure genre. It is the story of Vasco, played by Vasco Montez, a rich palazzinario of Rome linked to the underworld who loses his memory due to an ambush by a killer. 

From that moment he began a journey around the world in search of cures that would restore his memory, between India, South America and the United States, trying both oriental methods and methods of Western medicine. But what he will really have to face will be his dark side. 

Watch I am nothing


Altin in the city

Altin is an Albanian immigrant who landed illegally in Italy who now works in a modest suburban butcher’s shop. His dream is to become a famous writer. In fact, he wrote a novel called Ismael’s Journey, which he decides to propose in a reality TV show for writers. Thus begins a journey into the artificial world of show business, which for Altin also becomes the encounter with its dark side. 

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A dreamlike and surreal film about ambition and the desire for success, and how they can slowly and inexorably destroy a human being. Altin is the tragic victim of himself, an ambitious immigrant who wants to achieve fame in the West even at the cost of severing his roots for good. 

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A man who unknowingly enters a trap, the false and relentless mechanism of the cultural industry manipulated by the media. In the role of Altin we find the Albanian actor Rimi Beqiri who gives us an intense and convincing performance. In the role of the diabolical puppeteer of the reality show, Mara Le Monde, we find the talented actress Chiara Pavoni.

Watch Altin in the city


Employee’s mystery

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In February 2019 one of his most significant films is released: Employee’s mystery. Giuseppe Russo, played by Fabio del Greco, is an employee who leads a very homologated existence, between work as a clerk, shopping for his favorite products at the supermarket, political faith, religious faith and a relationship with a rather banal woman like his wife. 

The initial twist is the encounter with a strange tramp who gives him some old VHS tapes where he was filmed himself as a kid, but of which he remembers nothing. Thus begins an existential investigation to discover his true identity. 

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It is a dystopian film that deals with the important theme of the occult will by an unscrupulous power elite to experience control over ordinary citizens through technology, shape their identities, their consumer habits and make them unaware slaves. 

Watch Employee’s mystery

The smartphone woman

In 2019 she shoots The smartphone woman, released at the beginning of March 2020. The main character, Silvana, played by Silvana Porreca, plays herself in the film in a game of mirrors and self-fiction, filming documentaries made with the smartphone, in direct contact with life, and fictional scenes built in a traditional way. 

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The film tells the life of Silvana who moves to Rome to work as a teacher and is faced with mobbing and the spirits of ancient Roman gladiators who haunt her, in a city that Del Greco once again describes as a complex circle of hell, influenced by a millennial negative karma. 

The situation becomes complicated when Silvana’s partner, played by the director Fabio del Greco himself, decides to kill the colleague who persecutes Silvana, convinced that he is doing an ethical action that contributes to the improvement of humanity. 

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A experimental film complex, layeredthat combines documentary, cine-diary, real life, fictional scenes in which dramatic and grotesque tones meet, to deviate into afinale thriller with spiritual and existential implications. 

Del Greco invents a very personal way of making cinema, using “pieces of life”, videos shot with a smartphone, to construct a story that is only partially realistic. Through filmed testimonies of reality he creates a fictional film, reinventing and giving a different interpretation to the events of life.

Watch The smartphone woman


Corona days

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During the lockdown of the covid-19 pandemic, Fabio Del Greco shoots a very unique film using his smartphone again outdoors, and the camera indoors. This is Corona days, a sort of diary of the director himself in the days of the pandemic. The film revolves around the elaboration of mourning for the loss of the father and the situation of loneliness due to the restrictions that block the protagonist alone in the house.

Watch Corona days


Slow life

Alessandro Macaluso in Slow life

In August 2021, a new film of Fabio Del Greco is distributed. The title is Slow life, starring the cartoonist Alessandro Macaluso and the music of Don Backy. The film tells the story of Lino Stella, a municipal employee who takes a period of vacation to relax and draw comics. His holidays will be destined to turn into a nightmare. Everyone against him: condominium administrator, postman, policemen, girlfriend, black cats. 

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Chiara Pavoni in Slow life

The film oscillates between grotesque comedy, surreal drama and thriller. But the true nature of the film is revealed in the finale where the director invites us to observe the whole story from a metaphysical point of view. It is the story of how our dreams and our creativity, under the pressure of the negative and aggressive influences of society, can be shattered. A society where even the ethical vision of the family is a utopia. 

Watch Slow life


The Lost Poet

In 2021 Fabio Del Greco make the film The Lost Poet played by himself. It is the story of an aspiring poet married to a materialistic woman, played by Chiara Pavoni, and relegated to work in the office of her brother’s big company. The poet runs away from home to meet an old school friend of his who has become a famous poet, with the aim of understanding his secret of success. 

But the meeting is slow to materialize. He begins to live on the street, in a city blocked by the covid pandemic, strewn with gloomy futuristic landscapes. What is the role of poetry and art in such a scenario? The film is scheduled for release in mid-2022.

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