Screening Schedule
at Berlinale 2021

Tue. 02 Mar at 11:00 am at Virtual Cinema 40 (Market)

Wed. 03 Mar at 07:00 amat Berlinale Media Service (Press)

Fri. 05 Mar at 03:30 pm at Berlinale Special (Market)


A visual and sonorous journey into the poetic and irreverent imagery of the Italian singer Lucio Dalla.

This documentary presents an untold narration of Dalla’s world, through the words of his faithful manager Tobia and his childhood friend Stefano Bonaga. The film mixes biography and history, reality and imagination, as portrayed by the found footage, both public and private, official and amateur. Here, lyrics and music illustrate an underground and nuanced Italy, a free narration of the country’s history through tragic events and economic boom. This is the Italy of the underdogs and the marginalized: Dalla’s Italy.


How do you tell Lucio Dalla's story?

Tough one. Lucio Dalla was elusive, he slipped through your fingers.

A quicksilver, multitalented figure, he defied intuition and couldn't be pigeonholed. He was an actor, clown, jazzman, wanderer, hero, poet, singer, prophet, transformer and provocateur.

In all likelihood, there's no need to tell the Dalla tale, as it was exceptional and that should suffice. Yet we're still here, wondering …

Is anything lacking? Did we miss something?

For sure, Lucio Dalla touched life with shaky hands and drank it in with eyes as bright as a child's. He embraced his times.

In that sense, Per Lucio isn't a film about Lucio Dalla, but a symphony of images and music that represent the world he imagined and sang about: piazzas, bars, whores and tramps.


Born in 1976 in Caserta, Pietro Marcello is considered to be one of the greatest auteurs of contemporary Italian cinema. Alumnus of the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples where he studied painting, he shot his first short films in the early 2000s: Il Cantiere which won the XI edition of “Libero Bizzarri” and later La Baracca. He presented his first feature, Il passaggio della linea, in the Orrizonti section at the Mostra del Cinema di Venice in 2007, which garnered international acclaim. His 2009 La Bocca del Lupo was awarded at many festivals, including the Teddy Award at the Berlinale, Premio Cagliari, Grand Prix International du Cinéma du Réel, and winner at the Turin Film Festival. In 2011, Marcello presented Il silenzio di Pelešjan at the 68th Mostra del Cinema di Venezia.

In 2015, Bella e Perduta got special mention at the Locarno Film Festival, won the Bergman Award at the Göteborg Film Festival, the Love&Change Competition Award at the International Festival in Istanbul, the Nastro d’Argento for best Documentary, and was prized at the International Festival of La Roche-Sur-Yon.

Marcello made his first fiction film Martin Eden (2019), an adaptation of the Jack London novel. This romantic, political and poetic oeuvre made its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it was awarded the Coppa Volpi prize for best actor, and later the Platform Prize Toronto International Film Festival 2019, the Golden Giraldillo Seville European Film Festival 2019, along with 11 nominations at the David di Donatello 2020 where it won Best ScreenplayAdaptation. Martin Eden was also candidate at the EFA 2020 for Best Film, Best Director, Best non-original screenplay, and best actor.


2021 For Lucio (Per Lucio)

2019 Martin Eden

2015 Lost and Beautiful
(Bella e Perdutta)

2011 The Silence of Pelesjan
(Il Silenzio di Pelešjan)

2009 The Mouth of the Wolf
(La Bocca del Lupo)

2007 Crossing the Line
(Il Passaggio della Linea)


I've wanted to tell the Lucio Dalla story for so long. The project took shape over the years. Even as a child, I listened to his songs over and over again on my dad's record player. I fell head over heels for his music, his world, and the lyrics that embraced an era, becoming part of the public and private imagination of Italians, equally popular with the mighty and the humble, men and women. My passion rekindled over the years and later I met him in person at the Bologna launch of La bocca del Lupo (The Mouth of the Wolf).

Even before his death, I was determined to make a film telling the story of Italy using his songs and the human and artistic episodes of his life. Per Lucio is that film, the result of a pledge given so long ago.

My aim in making this film – written with Marcello Anselmo – wasn't to produce a lifelike portrait or a homage of the singer. I preferred to hint at his psychedelic career, his radical personality and sheer genius. To do so, I borrowed the voices of his manager Tobia and the philosopher Stefano Bonaga, Lucio's childhood friend. People who knew him first of all as a man and then as an artist, and therefore offer us a more intimate and everyday portrait. Their testimonies appear against a backdrop of images from public, private and amateur archives. These images cast light on Dalla's existence from his initial struggles to his dynamic rise to success, his fortuitous partnership with poet Roberto Roversi, then the more mature period, when Lucio moved away from Roversi and became a well-established, refined and popular author. To bring to life the song Il Parco della Luna (The Park of the Moon), I even made use of original material from La Bocca del lupo, recycling images, a favorite ploy of mine.

Some of the masterpieces created by the Dalla–Roversi duo are central to my narrative. I've always been an admirer of Roversi, a rigorous, singular intellectual and a key reference figure on the Italian cultural horizon. Meeting with Dalla, this great Bologna poet was able to engage with a wider, more proletarian class, taking his poetry beyond the rules of the great culture industry. Thanks to Roversi, Dalla learned to plumb new depths for the use of words, fulfilling his desire to get inside political and world matters. For the first time, he could sing about emigration, pollution and war.

What always strikes me about Dalla's lyrics and music is their movie-like muscle. He casts a lucidly biting glance over Italy and its changes, anticipating the dynamics of a country coming into modern times while also negotiating inevitable contradictions. Artistic vision rooted in his awareness of exclusion, empathizing with the people and everyday life that unknowingly make history.

Consequently, to reconstruct and expand both the social and historical imagery of Dalla's narrative, and include images that conjure up the singer's life, I spliced in repertory material to illustrate Italy's history from the end of World War II to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Guided by the storylines of Lucio's lyrics, I sought out, then brought to the surface the controversial, chaotic and passionate Italy that emerged after the first two post-war decades: the 1960s and 1970s, with their economic boom and changes, their vibrant hustle and bustle. Then the future, the speed, the changes occurring in the final decade of the Short Century. I found forgotten films that told the stories of the outcasts so close to Dalla's heart, alternating them with the more lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek episodes that best express the most profound and tragicomical soul of our country.



Lucio Dalla was a buccaneer, and not just as far as music was concerned. He started out playing clarinet in jazz orchestras, ploughed through the Italian beat season and became one of the most ingenious figures of the '60s. He could be found at the Sanremo Festival, on TV, and on the Bologna scene that remained the center of his life – not just the artistic part.

At the 1971 Liguria Festival, he also sang 4/3/1943, written for him by Paola Pallottino. The lyrics were censored so it could be broadcast, tailored for him, melancholy and close to Luigi Tenco's Ciao Amore Ciao Neorealism. Dalla's new career began then, increasingly linked to the Italy in which it evolved, culminating when he made the acquaintance of Roberto Roversi, again in Bologna.

Roversi, poet, bookseller, but above all free man, set Lucio Dalla up with all the tools he needed for a new journey, to allow him to achieve a new kind of success with his songs. The ensuing trilogy of albums – Il Giorno Aveva Cinque Teste (The Day Had Five Heads), 1973; Anidride Solforosa, 1975; Automobili (Automobiles), 1976 – included songs like L'operaio Gerolamo (Worker Gerolamo), Nuvolari and Mille Miglia (Thousand Miles), subtleties of a sad, raggle-taggle country to be rebuilt or even loathed. This ambivalence later led Lucio to another trilogy (Come è profondo il mare (How Deep Is the Sea), 1977; Lucio Dalla, 1979; Dalla, 1980), but this was the first time he wrote his own lyrics for all the albums.

Dalla defined once and for all his writing style here and not as a singer-songwriter in the purest, most pedantic sense of the term. In Come è Profondo il Mare, Il Parco della Luna, Anna e Marco, and Futura, he broke rules and conventions, built images that owed much to cinema, dreams and pure fantasy. As if words transfigured into frames and sounds drew from pop and proceeded who knows where.

These albums heralded Lucio's most popular, public period, with countless television forays. Pop songs perhaps less memorable but legendary, some discreet, some of fabled excess, right up to the end, which he himself would have defined "that of a true star."

John Vignola

Roberto Roversi



Roberto Roversi was born in Bologna in 1923. After the September 8, 1943 armistice, he was drafted to the Monterosa Division and trained in Germany. When he returned to Italy, he deserted the army and joined the Giustizia e Libertà (Justice and Liberty) partisan group in Piedmont. In the post-war period, he opened the Palmaverde antique bookshop in Bologna, which he ran for sixty years. From 1955 to 1959, with Pier Paolo Pasolini, he was co-editor of the literary magazine Officina (Office), a pillar of post-war Italian culture. He was a committed, rigorously revolutionary poet who became a point of reference for Italy's entire literary and political scenario.

In 1973, music producer Renzo Cremonini invited him to write lyrics for Lucio Dalla. After that first encounter, they produced three albums – Un'automobile Targata TO (Car with the License Plate TO), Anidride Solforosa, Automobili – that were a watershed moment in Dalla's career for style, poetics and content. They found chemistry: Roversi's lyrics attacked the transformations and contradictions of Italian public and private development; the meter of his lyrics was showcased and counterpointed by Dalla's music and voice. The result was a triptych of poetry set to music that wrote a brand new page in Italian music.


The film develops around a period in the country's recent history and overlaps with various aspects of Lucio's life and work. The effect is a sort of jigsaw puzzle in which pieces of general history are slotted with pieces of specific history. The country's evolution after World War II is told through a picture story of its reconstruction as well as the industrial and cultural rebirth marking the 1950s and '60s. Italy became the mirror image of the massive anthropological mutation of its society, reflected in the weakly forged development of cities and urban space. From the huge worker migration to the loss of Italy's farmers and the establishment of a blue-collar nation in which cars and motorways peopled landscapes. The Mille Miglia (Thousand Miles) automobile competition, with its speeding cars and driver–heroes, became the expression of the thousands of men and women workers who were the backbone of the Italy's mega FIAT plant.

Social contradictions can be read in the texts – first Roversi's, then Dalla's – and take shape in images revealing harsh times for social development. Wild consumerism and the uprising of those excluded from it; the ruling class and the subversive actions that scarred the country with terrorist bombs and attacks, ending in slaughters like the destruction of Bologna train station on August 2, 1980.

Here, Italian history isn't just archival, it's an uncompromising version of history that molds an overview through the eyes of an artist and poet.

Tazio Nuvolari


click here to collapse


Composed and performed by Lucio Dalla

4 MARZO 1943

Composed by Dalla and Pallottino

Performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed by Bardotti, Dalla and Franceschini

Performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed by Bardotti, Baldazzi and Dalla

Performed by Lucio Dalla

È lì

Composed by Roberto Roversi and Lucio Dalla

Performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed by Roberto Roversi and Lucio Dalla

Performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed by Roberto Roversi and Lucio Dalla

performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed by Roberto Roversi and Lucio Dalla

Performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed by Roberto Roversi and Lucio Dalla

Performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed by Roberto Roversi and Lucio Dalla

Performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed by Roberto Roversi and Lucio Dalla

Performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed and performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed and performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed and performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed and performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed and performed by Lucio Dalla


Composed and performed by Lucio Dalla


Umberto (Tobia) Righi

Stefano Bonaga


Directed by Pietro Marcello

Produced by Beppe Caschetto, Anastasia Michelagnoli

Written by Pietro Marcello, Marcello Anselmo

Editing Fabrizio Federico

Cinematography Ilyà Sapeha

Assistant Director Tiziana Poli

Color Grading Andrea Maguolo

Executive Producers Francesca Andreoli, Giulia Moretti

Sound Editor Marta Billingsley

Sound Effects Editor Francesco Albertelli

Re-recording Mixer Marcos Molina

Extra Sound Effects Marco Messina e Danilo Vigorito

Music Consultant John Vignola


Original title: Per Lucio
International title: For Lucio
Duration: 79 min
Aspect Ratio: 1.50:1
Format: FULL HD
Sound: 5.1
Year: 2021
Original language: Italian
Country of production: Italy
Production Companies: IBC MOVIE, RAI Cinema
With the support of: Regione Emilia-Romagna, Regione Lazio - Fondo regionale per il cinema e l’audiovisivo , In collaboration with Istituto Luce Cinecittà, In collaboration with Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, In collaboration with Home Movies - Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia, In collaboration with Archivio Audiovisivo del movimento operaio e democratico, In collaboration with Fondazione CSC – Archivio Nazionale Cinema d’Impresa (Ivrea)


The Match Factory GmbH

Domstrasse 60

50668 Cologne/Germany

phone +49 221 539 709-0


WOLF Consultants
Gordon Spragg
Laurin Dietrich
Michael Arnon
phone +49 157 7474 9724