Morra Never Dies: Introducing Isabel Pagliai

  • MUBI
My favourite short film of 2015, Isabella Morra is a 22-minute epic by French newcomer Isabel Pagliai. It world-premiered—amid minimal-to-zero fanfare—at the gigantic International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (Idfa) in November, as part of the 'Paradocs' sidebar devoted to edgy/experimental material, mainly shorts. "Cinema verité portrait of a French suburb that demonstrates how the threat of deadly adult violence lurks below the surface of child’s play," the Idfa website drily noted. "Isabella Morra", wrote Paradocs programmer Joost Daamen, "was the daughter of an early-16th-century Italian baron. When he left his wife and eight children to amuse himself at the French court, Isabella fell under the authority of her two narrow-minded, jealous brothers. They decided she was getting too familiar with their neighbour and punished her by death. Six years later, Isabella’s sonnets and songs were published, which made her into a well-known Renaissance poet. "Twentieth-century novelist
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