Film Review: Il Buco

The scientists descend into the caves

Modern exploration is usually looking up to the stars, but there are still so many places on this planet which are mysteries to us. The heart of the Amazon Rainforest, the deepest oceans and sometimes the ground beneath our feet. In the 1960s, young speleologists (cave scientists and enthusiasts) explored Europe’s deepest cave. They reached the bottom of the Bifurto Abyss for the first time, 700 feet down.

Filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino is a big fan of caves himself and travelled to the rural Calabrian hinterland to recreate their journey for his new film, Il Buco. While the explorers make their epic descent, the nearby villagers are largely unaware of their record-breaking expedition. Apart from a passing shepherd and his flock. Time ticks by slowly for the locals as they go about their daily lives.

Il Buco is a slow and thoughtful film which is captivating and charming in equal measure. The first you’ll notice is the jaw-dropping visuals, the Italian countryside conjured up beautifully through the magical lens of Renato Berta, but it’s the quiet and studied normality which really stays with you. That’s the true joy of Frammartino’s little gem. Il Buco is an unassuming and delicate docudrama which slowly creeps under your skin.

Il Buco will be out in UK cinemas on 10 June.

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