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Martin Eden

Martin Eden

Italy | 2019 | 129 minutes | Pietro Marcello

October 16 - December 17, 2020

Virtual SIFF Cinema

Jack London's 1909 novel is transposed to Naples, as a sailor's dream of the literary life as a way to pursue a beautiful upper-class woman clashes politically with his humbler background.

Martin Eden (Luca Marinelli), a dissatisfied sailor, dreams of becoming a writer after a chance encounter with the sophisticated, high-class Elena (Jessica Cressy). But the pursuit of his dream leads him to betray his friends and deny his working-class roots, which eats away at him until he undergoes a political reawakening. Based on the Jack London novel of the same name, Pietro Marcello's film walks a fine line between documentary and fiction, invoking comparisons to both Rossellini and Visconti.

“An absolute blast. Includes documentary footage, wealthy decadence, left-wing politics, angry speeches (in Italian!), beautiful women, square-jawed men, quotations from Baudelaire and the heroic deployment of manual typewriters, hand-rolled cigarettes, ascots and Volvo sedans. Everything I love in movies, more or less."—A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“One of the most epic-feeling Italian movies in years, a throwback to ’70s-era big-canvas statements. Lead actor Luca Marinelli, rousing in every scene, comes within hailing distance of the young Robert De Niro."—Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York


Martin Eden writer-director Pietro Marcello and star Luca Marinelli joined Film at Lincoln Center programmer Dan Sullivan recently for a Q&A on their epic Jack London adaptation. Watch below:

  • Director: Pietro Marcello
  • Principal Cast: Luca Marinelli, Carlo Cecchi, Jessica Cressy, Vicenzo Nemolato, Marco Leonardi, Denise Sardisco, Carmen Pommella
  • Country: Italy, France
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 129 minutes
  • Producer: Pietro Marcello
  • Screenplay: Maurizio Braucci, Pietro Marcello
  • Cinematographers: Francesco Di Giacomo, Alessandro Abate
  • Music: Marco Messina, Sacha Ricci, Paolo Marzocchi
  • Language: Italian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes