Naples has provided some of the most interesting Italian filmmakers of the past decade and even among this new generation, Vincenzo Marra stands out as one of the most interesting. His first film, Sailing Home from 2001, looked at the struggles of fishermen barely able to make ends meet. Vento di terra, another sailing term, refers to breezes originating from land rather than the sea. Following the realist tradition, it recounts the misfortune-strewn life of Vincenzo Pacilli, a young Neapolitan whose name in the film is the same as the non-professional actor who plays him. Vincenzo lives in a housing project with his mother, a hard-working seamstress, his ailing father and sister. Their faces express the silent pain of people humiliated by poverty, yet who haven't given up their dignity. When their problems reach the breaking point, Vincenzo becomes desperate enough to take part in a robbery. But instead of following him as he slides into a pointless life of crime, the film takes a totally different-if ultimately no less tragic-turn: he enrolls in the army and goes to Kosovo. The moral integrity of this simply told story is felt in every shot. Marra's respect for his characters is echoed in cinematographer Mario Amura's spare, essential framing and dense colors. There isn't an unnecessary moment here, no pumped-up emotions or over-acting. Everything is measured and subdued, a question of looks and silences. Mixing actors and non-professionals, the film is almost entirely spoken in a local dialect that gives it authenticity.
Vincenzo Marra was born in Naples in 1972. He worked as an assistant to Mario Martone on the film and stage production of Teatri di Guerra.