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When unskilled laborer Martin Eden meets Elena, the daughter of a wealthy industrial family, it's love at first sight. The well-educated, refined young woman soon becomes an obsession for Martin, who hopes that his dreams of becoming a writer will help him rise above his humble origins to be able to marry Elena. Martin sets out with great determination to obtain the education that his class has never allowed him to receive. Finding support in an older friend, Martin soon becomes involved in socialist circles, leading not only to political reawakening but also a conflict with Elena and her bourgeois world.
Pietro Marcello, born in Caserta, studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti. He won the the Nastro d’argento Best Docufilm award for Bella e perdutaBella e perduta, and the Nastro d’argento and David di Donatello awards for Best Documentary for La bocca del lupo.
Marcello said of his film: "I found a universal story, that of a boy who becomes a man, becomes emancipated and redeemed through culture: it is the story of Jack London, of many of us"