Exclusive: Part Herzogian ecstatic ethnography, part Pasolinian picaresque, this Cannes premiere deserves your attention beyond its crustacean star.
Part Herzogian ecstatic ethnography, part Pasolinian picaresque, “The King Crab Tale” finds directors Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis traveling from Italy to Argentina in a two-pronged folk tale. With strands of 1970s arthouse strands in its DNA, including its immersive take-on-film imagery, the film made its world premiere at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in summer 2021 and enjoyed a strong run at the festival circuit, including at the New York Film Festival.
Now, Oscilloscope Labs will premiere the film on April 15 in New York exclusively at Film at Lincoln Center, followed by an opening in Los Angeles on April 29. Exclusively on IndieWire, you can check out the trailer for the film below ahead of its US release.
The film centers on Luciano (Gabriele Silli), a wandering outcast in a faraway Italian town in the late 19th century. His life is marred by all kinds of conflicts, from the dangers of drink to forbidden love, as well as unease with the prince of the region over passage through a certain ancient gate. But when what The conflict intensifies, Luciano, in the next chapter of the film, is exiled to a distant Argentine province called Tierra del Fuego, where he meets gold miners who incite his search for the mythical treasure. Is redemption on the horizon for Luciano?
From IndieWire Review:
Director of photography Simone D’Arcangelo (digital imaging technique in several very Woody Allen’s recent films, including “Rifkin’s Festival” and “A Rainy Day in New York”) capture the region almost like an alien landscape, abutting a rugged ocean shoreline but also variegated with rocks glistening with obsidian gleams and strange creatures that decorate the landscape.
That includes the bright red king crab from the film’s title. This cunning crustacean is quite literally the stuff of lore, as it is said among locals that when used as a compass, the crab can lead you to treasure buried in the water. In this section, Luciano poses as a priest on his quest for mythical gold, his only companions being a group of shadowy sailors and the crab from the film’s title, kept in a wooden bucket filled with water. More misadventures ensue that find Luciano, now four days starving, in a suspenseful shootout against rocks that throws up a handful of mortally wounded souls.
Italian artist Gabriele Silli makes a shocking, mostly wordless screen debut as Luciano, whose aching eyes belie wells of sadness that the film never reaches beyond the surface. But whether drunk and blinded by love or gaunt in search of buried treasure, he cuts a photogenic figure against the film’s celluloid-shot pastoral landscapes. Meanwhile, “Martin Eden” designer Andrea Cavalletto’s wardrobe suggests a profound reverence for period details.