Oreste Pipolo: Wedding Photographer

Director: Matteo Garrone
Year: 1998
Country: Italy
Running time: 53 mins
Director: Matteo Garrone
Production co: Videa Documentary/AVRO/Rai Cinemafiction
Producer: Carlo Cresto-Dina
Photography: Matteo Garrone, Marco Onorato, Mauro Falomi
Editor: Marco Spoletini
Sound: Maricetta Lombardo
Music: Banda Osiris
In Italian with English subtitles
Oreste Pipolo is known throughout Naples for his imaginative wedding photos; it’s de rigueur that this man who ‘doesn’t come cheap’ snap the wedding album portraits if a couple is to be truly married in the eyes of society. Every marriage is ‘interpreted’ by Oreste Pipolo and turned into a spectacle for his camera. Displaying an inventive touch with other people’s furnishings, or enlisting the services of passing squid fishermen to add local colour to his compositions, he’s the man in charge.

A society is bound to reveal a good deal about itself at a wedding, and this skimming portrait of Oreste takes us to two weddings, providing a highly entertaining glimpse of the noisy, excessive aspects of the Neapolitan spirit. A lighthearted cruise of the surface, and rowdy as a Vespa ride on a midsummer evening – side-saddle of course. — Sandra Reid

“It’s not hard to imagine what a wedding is like in the largest city in Southern Italy. A wedding is an exhibition of wealth and imagination, a theatrical representation of what the family – the mainstay of society – actually stands for.

“In Naples a marriage binds not just bride and groom but two ‘clans’ together. Everything in Naples is bound up in these family webs: group values and identity, work, social status, social and physical protection and moral control. The wedding party has to bring together all of these elements as if it were a piece of theatre. The photographer of course plays a leading role in this drama, preparing the set and then fixing it so it sticks in the memory. He is, in short, the director…

“He is no highbrow; he’s just the leader of a company who, working on a fixed plot as in the commedia dell’arte transforms masks into characters and draws the unrepeatable humanity out of them all.” — Matteo Garrone