The troglodyte town of Matera in Southern Italy has fascinated generations of filmmakers since the Post-war area. Documenting the making of the 1953 film She-Wolf by Alberto Lattuada set in Matera, photographer Federico Patellani provides a unique insight of the life of the provincial city in the fifties.
Following the publication of Christ Stopped in Eboli (1945) by Carlo Levi, Matera – the ‘peasant capital' – became an irresistible destination for writers, photographers and intellectuals from around the world, coming to terms with a place which history seemed to have forgotten. Cinema could of course not be excluded. The Milanese Alberto Lattuada (director) and Federico Patellani (photographer) decided to set She-Wolf (1953) there: a film in which Neorealism blends with melodrama. Patellani's photographic reportage, left in the bottom of a drawer for many years and presented here in its entirety, ranges from the search for locations to the set photography of that adventure, providing key documentation of the places and faces of Matera over sixty years ago, as well as a demonstration of the sharp artistic persona of the Milanese photographer.
Alberto Lattuada (1914-2005) was an Italian cinema director, screenplay writer and producer. After the end of the war, he focused exclusively on cinema, as assistant director for Mario Soldati on Old-Fashioned World and as a screenplay writer. Among his films, largely based on works of literature, there are The Mill on the Po, She-Wolf, The Overcoat, Tempest and La Steppa. In 1998, Lattuada left all his archive material to the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana in Milan, of which many years before he had laid the foundations together with Luigi Comencini and Mario Ferrari, saving a great number of old films from destruction.
Federico Patellani (1911-1977) was an Italian photographer. An eye-witness to Italian life thanks to photo series like Italia Magica. His link with cinema began with the production of the film Old-Fashioned World by Mario Soldati, and continued in 1953 as assistant director to Alberto Lattuada on She-Wolf. Patellani travelled the world on more than one occasion for his photo shoots with a decidedly journalistic nature.