L’Amatore (the Amateur) is the story of a seducer, a man with unusual obsessions, who buys a movie camera in 1929 and since then, does not stop shoot- ing and editing the world around him. His name is Piero Portaluppi and he was one of the most famous and important architects during Fascism.
Eclectic and agnostic, Portaluppi fabricated a per- sona of a thousand faces for himself, bolstered by natural talent and true ambition. His personal style towards the world and himself portrays irony. He lives the enthusiastic and ambiguous years of the growing regime from a distance. And at the same time, he allows himself to reach his full professional growth. He too gains success thanks to the excep- tional fortune that overwhelms a specific art design during Italy’s Fascist era, the one he is most commit- ted to, Architecture. Portaluppi is first and foremost the architect to the upper middle- class. A man who accomplishes everything he desires, success, power, women, talent, but during the war, he loses what is most important to him in life. History mercilessly interrupts the existence of the man. His son dies in the sea off Algiers. His creative vein is irremediably spent. History follows the portaluppinian thread and its predisposition towards restrictions, and at the same time it reveals the dramatic side of events, devoid of a happy ending. The line between magnifi- cence and poverty is blurred. Weakness and power.
The film arose from a fact. For more than thirty years since his death, Piero Portaluppi’s 16 mm reels, shot and edited throughout his life, had been locked up in a trunk. A tiny hidden treasure. This film is a reinterpretation of this film diary, much like a journal filled with notes that provides us with his view of the world. The architect’s attitude towards design adapts perfectly to the seventh art. Porta- luppi obsessively splices and puts together edited footage in veritable catalogues created throughout the decades. The human and cinematic material is rich in mystery. The reinterpretation of the archives penetrates the mysteries of somebody full of light and shadows.