No Distinguishing Marks (Segni particolari nessuno) is the story of Federico Tavan, one of the most important poets of contemporary Friulian poetry, a poet whose wonderful impetuous and rebellious verses are appreciated far and wide – even outside Italy.

Genre: feature documentary / Italian (english subtitles) / 85'



«I used to write in Italian because the teachers where we went to school in Andreis used to hit us and tell us that to speak our own language was a sin and that we’d go to hell if we did […]. Then I began to write in Andreano: Andreano is a beautiful language, brimming with honey […]. Not know the Italian I only know sixty words and have to go down to Montereale to reaquaint myself with them; the last time it was "ossimoro" (oximoron) but I’ve already forgotten what it means. Until a few years ago, I wrote poems nude in front of the mirror. I filled drawers and pockets with my poems. Then, thanks to a few kind souls, I got them published. I continued because winter nights in Andreis are long and cold […] I write becuase I like words: tree, dog, bean, pumpkin ... recently words, I could eat».

So wrote Federico Tavan, one of the most important poets of contemporary Friulian poetry, a poet whose wonderful impetuous and rebellious verses are appreciated far and wide – even outside Italy. Tavan has received a number of accolades and was honoured with a major feature on his work in the latest issue of the Italian journal «Poesia». More significantly, however, he was conferred a lifetime annuity by the Italian Council of Ministers under the provisions of the Italian «Legge Bacchelli» in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to culture. This came as the result of a relentless campaign on his behalf mounted by institutions, friends and leading intellectuals such as Claudio Magris, Carlo Ginzburg, Marco Paolini, Le Goff, Predrag Matvejevic, Carlos Montemayor, Mario Dondero, and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, to mention but a few.

Magris himself honoured Tavan with the following affectionate portrait in his book Microcosmi: “Tavan is a poète maudit - transgressive yet guileless, insufferable, scarred by hardship yet capable of getting to the very heart of words”. A life-time heretic, Tavan writes verse, often in his native Friulian tongue, that is captivating and electrifying and always full of suffering. Tavan has always had a difficult life, as the following words by Paolo Medeossi attest: “Federico has always had to frequent hospitals, doctors’ sugeries, mental heath centres, struggling to make ends meet on a meagre invalidity allowance... his vulnerability is never overstated, only described as it should be, without self-pity or stirred-up anger”. His history of hardship began when he was an adolescent with the death of his mother, a recurring figure in many of his most moving poems. So Tavan is a poète maudit but his affliction is real and not affected, intellectual posturing.

His poems, which are often written on scraps of paper recuperated from the street, on pieces of paper yellowed with age, old cigarette packets or paper napkins from the local bar or pub, have made their way into the hearts of the people of Valcellina, even managing to grind away the stony rock of public ignorance.

Federico Tavan is a poet of national acclaim, as the Bacchelli annuity and support of so many poets and writers attests. But he has also found welcome in France, where he has been warmly received by artists and intellectuals alike, and where some of his poems have been translated and recited at Paris poetry events. The documentary on Federico Tavan covers his poems and his life and will include interviews with a number of artists and intellectuals who have supported him over the years, such as Aldo Colonnello, Pier Luigi Cappello, Anna De Simone, Franco Loi and others.

In an effort to avoid the presentation of Tavan’s poetry degenerating into a simplistic, literal transposition of the poems, the poems are accompanied by images running alongside the texts which will intertwine with and compliment the rhythm of the words, their phonetic fluidity, their pauses, their caesurae

As regards the film footage, this is largely focus on the places in and arround the tiny village of Andreis, Tavan’s hometown - no bigger than a dot on the map but the place which inspired his poetry and for which he has a deep affection: “No poetry, no paradise expresses the goodness of my grandfather”.

Photo Gallery


Produced by Altreforme
Directed, photographed and edited by Paolo Comuzzi
Assistant director Andrea Trangoni
Story and interviews by Augusta Eniti
Screenplay by Paolo Comuzzi & Augusta Eniti
Camera operators Paolo Comuzzi & Andrea Trangoni
Original soundtrack and sound engineering Massimo Toniutti
Voices Luca Della Bianca & Fabian Riz

Project developed and realized with the contribution of FVG Audiovisual Regional Fund (Udine - Italy) and with the partecipation of FVG Regional Council (Trieste - Italy).
The film was broadcast on Rai 3.


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