This short extract from the film, The Chief or ‘Il Capo’, has truly mesmerised us. Its filmmaker, Ancanari elevates the daily activities of an Italian quarry to that of a well-rehearsed stage performance. With the elegance and precision of an orchestra’s conductor, one man, Il Capo, uses a self-composed sign language to guide and direct the arms of the diggers used to prize the marble from the mountainside. The gentle squeaking of unoiled machinery and the cracking of the earth’s surface makes for an otherworldly soundtrack.

Dwarfed by the size of the surrounding mountains and the monumentality of the white marble-scape on which he stands, Il Capo seems undaunted by his task. His leathered hands bear the signs of a nurtured and perfected craft. He is in command. 

We love how the act of excavation still relies on the skill and slight of the human hand. Each step of the process, from quarry to tabletop, calls for careful orchestration and the time-honoured skills of a craftsman.

Video courtesy of nowness.com