Paolo Gioli

27 minutes, black and white, sound, 16mm

Italy 1972


Using footage shot by an unknown cameraman at the beginning of the century, Gioli creates a film of intricate reworking and recombining, crafting each image one frame at a time. The two reels of 35mm film that Gioli acquired contained a range of subject matter, from portraits to street scenes, journeys and excursions, that are unpicked and re-stitched together in a flickering and rough-hewn tapestry of animated still frames. Hovering between movement and stasis, the film breathes vital energy into this forgotten footage, reinventing the amateur cameraman as a manic magician of boundless imagination. (Kim Knowles)

“In the theatre, in the audience, some gentleman might realize he is watching his own stolen images and kill me” (Gioli).

“Since the late 1960s, the Italian filmmaker Paolo Gioli has been employing procedures that are almost frighteningly stripped down. He has made films without cameras. He has devised his own cameras, often without lenses or shutters or motor drives. When he needs a shutter, his fingers, or perhaps some leaves from trees, will suffice. He has embedded images within images without benefit of optical printers, and he has brought photos to frenetic life without animation stands. When he needs a camera, a modest old Bolex or Bell & Howell will do fine. Impressario of clamps and masking tape, he creates extraordinary films with equipment that looks distinctly knocked-together” (Bordwell 2016, np)


Paolo Gioli, born 1942 in Sarzano di Rovigo, Italy, lives and works in Lendinara.



David Bordwell, “Paolo Gioli, Maximal Minimalist”,

Marco Bertozzi, “Le Désir du Figural: Anonimatografo et Acinéma,” in Paolo Gioli: The Man Without a Movie Camera, eds. Alessandro Bordina and Antonio Somaini (Milan: Mimesis International, 2014).

Sergio Toffetti (ed.), Paolo Gioli: un cinema dell’impronta: imprint cinema (Roma: Fondazione Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, 2009).

See also

Go back