The Chief

Yuri Ancarani extracts a striking portrait of marble

“Marble quarries are places so unbelievable and striking, they almost feel like they are big theaters or sets,” says Yuri Ancarani, the filmmaker behind today’s excerpt from the documentary, Il Capo (The Chief), which follows a quarry boss as he guides his men through the extraction process, using a silent language of gesture and sign.

Ancarani was captivated by the otherworldly landscapes of the quarry. He spent nearly a year filming on Monte Bettolgi, in the Carrara region of the Apuan Alps, in Northwest Italy, eventually deciding to focus his film on the hypnotic, and rather dramatic moment when the monumental marble blocks are freed from the mountainside, and fall to the ground with an earth-shattering thud.

“I was so taken by the chief. How he can move gigantic marble blocks, but his own movements are light”

“I was so taken by the chief, watching him work,” says Ancarani, who’s film is currently showing as part of Artists’ Films International, a touring program of film, video and animation, at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. “How he can move gigantic marble blocks using enormous excavators, but his own movements are light, precise and determined."