F.: Mario Chiari. Int.: Róska, Dominique, Manrico, Corrado Costa. Prod.: Il collettivo di Fabbrico. DCP. D.: 107’
L’impossibilità di recitare Elettra oggi is a diamond in the rough, much like its principal driving force, Marc’O, a filmmaker who has largely disappeared from film history, including those accounts that attempt to recount the erratic (experimental, amateur, activist) production around ’68 of films which made use of practices and poetics other than the dogmas then in vogue.
The group of people who made it gathered in the countryside of Emilia following the local population’s occupation of the Reggio Emilia municipal theatre in defence of a show staged by Marc’O, which had been banned by the prefecture. Marc’O, the producer of Isidore Isou’s Traité de bave et d’eternité was an agitator, a theatrical innovator, a poet and cineaste (his first film, a Lettrist experiment, was screened in Cannes with support from Cocteau and Buñuel). In a farmhouse near Fabbrico, he brought together the photographer Dominique Issermann, the dynamic Icelandic artist Róska and the Roman artist Manrico Pavolettoni. Meanwhile, the neo-avant-garde poet Corrado Costa drops into and out of the film like one of his acrobatic verses.
Elettra has a long history, dating back to an encounter in London between Marc’O, Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Jean-Luc Godard, who proposed that they participate in his film Wind from the East. Marc’O accepted and started shooting some scenes in Italy, but disagreements between the two men led him to abandon the project. He used the money that Cohn-Bendit had given him to make Elettra, a film with few precidents and a variant on the “nuclear cinema” that Marc’O had theorised 20 years earlier. It was this definitive liberation from the system that in 1967 had allowed him to direct Les Idoles, a cupio dissolvi on the disintegrated society of spectacle – a work much loved by Jacques Rivette who discovered one of his fetish-actors, Bulle Ogier, precisely in that film.