Hand Gestures follows the process of creating one of Velasco Vitali’s famous dog sculptures, from wax to glazed bronze, at the Battaglia Artistic Foundry in Milan. The film observes the work of a group of skilled artisans in this 100-year old foundry and reveals the ancient traditions of bronze sculpture making, unchanged since the sixth century B.C. This method is not taught in school, but is passed on in the ancient oral tradition and through apprenticeships from artisans. This documentary observes and feels the work of the Battaglia Artistic Foundry: a place where the past and present share the same gestures and where each gesture is a sculpture itself.
“A strong documentary debut which illustrates the benefit of intimate proximity to one’s chosen subject. …wonderfully simple, daringly direct…” – Neil Young, London Tribune
An artist who sculpts, who works the waxes, is treated in the same way as a craftsman who turns that wax into bronze, building and destroying other ephemeral sculptures: they have been making the same gestures for centuries, and by showing this to the camera they reveal historical “jumps” in time. Director Francesco Clerici has made a fine-tuned, carefully-observed study of a glorious thing to watch: artisans practicing their craft on film. Winner of the FIPRESCI award at Berlinale Forum 2015. (Dir. by Francesco Clerici, 2015, Italy, in Italian with subtitles, 77 mins., Not Rated) Official Selection: Berlin International Film Festival