Il libro d’ore (The book of hours)

Margherita Malerba


Genre : Documentary
Length: 70’
Project status: Production
Budget : 42 304 €
Acquired budget: 28 000 €
Shooting country: Italy

Second Feature Film

In Il libro d’ore (The Book of Hours), real characters and fantastical visions gravitate around the city of Bologna, chasing each other and overlapping in a mix of dream and reality, present and past, sacred and profane, visual and sound: the wanderings of a homeless man, the daily life of a young anatomopathologist, the construction of a bell, the games of three children – fragments of stories that compose a complex, labyrinthine portrait of a place, as well as a musical meditation on time and death. The circle of seasons and day intersects with the flow of human life and history, linear in appearance but nourished by mysterious flashbacks and unexplained echoes. The poetic word establishes a dialogue between the living and the dead, between memory and imagination, becoming a guide to perceiving and confronting the emptiness and death that surround and nourish life.

Note of intention

I have always been interested in the theme of the passage of time, in the hidden permanence of its layers, and in the different ways time is made visible: the passage from day to night, the instruments invented to measure time’s passage, the aging and decaying of matter, memory and oblivion. Books of hours structured time according to the moments of prayer, and referred to both the natural, cyclical rhythm of seasons and to the religious division of time. Both these patterns are considered obsolete nowadays. Yet there are still traces of them, which sometimes appear, striking us like sudden messages from another world, still present, hidden somewhere under our feet or above our heads. ‘’If all time is eternally present | All time is unredeemable.’’ A city is composed of strata of time, and it moves following a rhythm of its own. It’s a brutal microcosm, an organism which moves autonomously like the gear of a clock. Changes happen imperceptibly, we noticed them mostly too late. Traces of violence are quickly hidden away. A certain degree of distraction is necessary to survive surrounded by death. Filming, to remember and to forget.


Margherita Malerba


• Pagine di storia naturale | 2019 | 75’
• Heliopolis | 2016 | 11′


Production : Bocalupo Films (France), Altara Films (Italy)
Producer: Giovanni Donfrancesco

Selective filmography

Stéphanie Roland

Chloé Galibert-Laîné

Dan Sallitt

Paula Rodríguez Polanco

Riar Rizaldi

Advik Beni & Nehal Vyas

Leonardo Mouramateus

Katsuya Tomita

Ra Di Martino