The artistic biography of Mario Martone (Naples, 1959) starts from afar and rests on solid foundations. Originating from Naples’ background, history, traditions, humanity, and volcanic expressionism, its work embraces the boundaries of a torn, labyrinthine, turbulent universality that is geographically, socially, and culturally stratified. Martone’s work has always been divided between cinema and theatre: what emerges is a potpourri, a mosaic of projects, intentions, works, challenges, impulses, temptations, eccentric and variously criss-crossed scripts, all part of a work in progress that is as aesthetically imagined as it is concretely defined. Mario Martone is an author who has always been critically engaged between film and theatre direction (prose and melodrama), mindful of an “adventurous” line of exploration that has never abandoned him since his beginnings in the late 1970s. During these years, with the Falso Movimento group, he redesigns the realm of theatrical experimentation in terms of “new spectacularity” (gesture, music, and electronic images constitute a single machine of vision, a single dramatic device), which was reaffirmed and revived with the creation of Teatri Uniti in 1986, strengthened by prestigious opera productions, consolidated and refined through offbeat cinematic experiments (like his debut in Venice in 1992 with “Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician”), up to his recent television venture. The latter have also been driven by an inquiring spirit in view of a new style to be passed on to the popular genre of Italian opera films (Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville”, Verdi’s “La Traviata”), and to the depiction of a transversal, eccentric, and disorienting Neapolitan identity, as the one that accompanies the memory (the “reinterpretation”) of Massimo Troisi in the documentary “Massimo Troisi: Somebody Down There Likes Me”. On the big screen, Mario Martone represents the link between the tradition of great Italian masters, from Rossellini to Pasolini to Visconti, and the reflection on modernity and the deep roots of Italian culture. From Rossellini, he inherits the ethics of vision; from Pasolini, he follows and adapts the political and anthropological analysis of the modern man; with Visconti, he is in line above all by virtue of the tragic and melodramatic premises of his cinematic and operatic staging. Martone’s films voice the relationship with nature, history, science, the pursuit of happiness, the value of illusions, glory and vainglory, the comparison between the values of the past and the static, depressing situation of the present, the emergent and psychologically fragile transience of human nature – often in relation to the literary works that serve as inspirational foundations. Martone’s cinema accepts discomfort and dissonances as necessary scars for confrontation and connection, which are an integral part of the narrative, between the drifts and disorientation and the glorious deeds of Italy, recomposed and reinvented on the debris of the contemporary; it is a heretical, experimental, and dynamic cinema consisting of open and closed spaces; a (non-)historical cinema in long shots and an existential cinema in close-ups; intimate and social, traversed by elusive male characters and complex female figures, portraits that go through a mal de vivre torn between inexpressible exaltation, enigmatic restlessness, and attraction to the abyss.