It feels like every year, there’s another Luca Guadagnino joint around the corner. Whether his upcoming cannibal love story “Bones and All” or his tennis-world love triangle “Challengers,” the Oscar-nominated Italian filmmaker is never for want of a new gig. But what’s more, he has another completed film that’s been sitting on the shelf since its Venice Film Festival premiere in September 2020: “Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams.”
Guadagnino’s latest documentary feature (because he makes those too) is a loving salute to fashion icon Salvatore Ferragamo. In tribute, he’s rounded up a terrific group of luminaries: Martin Scorsese, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, and Grace Coddington among them. Exclusively on IndieWire, watch the trailer for the film below.
Eagle-eared Guadagnino fans will note the film’s narrator as heard in the trailer: one Michael Stuhlbarg, otherwise known as Elio’s father Mr. Perlman in “Call Me by Your Name.” Stuhlbarg narrates with excerpts from Ferragamo’s 1955 memoir, set against a trove of 100-year-old archival footage, and a “shoe ballet” motif as designed by stop-motion artist PES. The doc was written by Dana Thomas.
The film traces Ferragamo’s life from growing up poor in Bonito, Italy, a rural village ensconced deep in the Italian countryside, to immigrating to America in 1915 and becoming a shoemaker to the stars: He helped shape the glamour of the Hollywood silent era, creating shoes for films like “The Thief of Bagdad” and “The Ten Commandments,” and for stars like Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford. Despite a Depression-era slump, Ferragamo re-emerged to define the elegance for more Hollywood icons, from Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe to Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, and Ingrid Bergman.
IndieWire praised “Shoemaker of Dreams” out of Venice last year, calling it a “lively” and “delightful love letter” to Ferragamo. “Ferragamo’s story tracks a series of major historical moments: Blending excitable talking heads, revealing home movies, and ample closeups of ostentatious feet, the movie follows Ferragamo from poverty in the early 20th century to Hollywood stardom at the birth of the industry, through the Great Depression and WWII, when he found new footing (sorry) with his luxury goods in Florence. Even viewers unfamiliar with the fashion legacy at hand will find Guadagnino’s poetic investment in Ferragamo’s work infectious from the start, as hand-scrawled lettering establishes the setting and the camera roams into the center of a factory to marvel at the work within.”
Sony Pictures Classics is set to release “Shoemaker of Dreams” later this year.