Vegetable Skin. An Interview documentary film review

★★★★★

Directed by: #GiovanniSoletta

Starring: #BrunoPetretto

Film Review by: Darren Tilby



Videoart-documentaries are a somewhat recent revelation for me, one I’ve often found disappointing. On the one hand, it’s a fantastic opportunity for the filmmaker to get into the artist’s head; to visually and/or audibly express the power and emotional impact of the subject’s artistry. But on the other hand, it’s remarkably easy to come across as pompous, or misjudge or misrepresent an artist’s intention - art is subjective, after all. And, unfortunately, I’ve seen more bad examples than good ones. Director Giovanni Soletta thoroughly bucks that trend with this stunning piece, showcasing the works of one Bruno Petretto and the natural beauty that inspired them, in this magnificent homage to all things nature.


Petretto is a Sardinian artist/farmer living in Molineddu, who has, since the 70s, created works of art using all-natural materials sourced from his home. Set to a backdrop of pure melodic ambience and beautiful scenic photography (Soletta finds beauty everywhere, as stunning vistas are interspersed with astonishing extreme close-ups, perfectly encompassing the spirit of Petretto’s art), he guides us through his method. Petretto’s story, while interesting (there’s no bombardment of pointless information here, despite the film’s hefty 52-minutes runtime), does flutter around a little. The movie is, for all intents and purposes, chaptered. But there are times, from chapter to chapter, when we jump back and forth by decades. It causes a bit of a disconnect and can, on occasion anyway, make it a little hard to follow.


Alleviating this, however, is the marvellous breaks in-between dialogue; the reflection time, as I like to call it. For around every five-minutes of talking, there are two or three of nothing except video and audio took around Molineddu. While these relatively large gaps between Petretto speaking may not work for everyone, I really enjoyed them. These reflection periods allowed me to appreciate the art and unrefined beauty that inspired it and gave me an insight into the artist I would never have had otherwise. Indeed, it flawlessly compliments Petretto’s artistic workings and intent. It’s clear that Soletta has a considerable amount of love and respect for the artist’s work, and it’s great to see that reflected in a movie which is itself, a fantastically creative endeavour.


In no way was I disappointed with Vegetable Skin. An Interview. There are issues here and there (as there always is with any film), but the fact is they’re minor quibbles that don’t negatively impact on the movie, at least not in any meaningful way. Vegetable Skin. An Interview is both a lovely piece of filmmaking and a stunning work of art which – other than rekindling my interest in the subgenre – kept me engaged with its unique premise, interesting story and fascinating works of creative art.