Jason Baffa’s Bella Vita is like no other surfing movie. This documentary follows Chris Del Morro, an American professional surfer, artist and environmentalist, on a surf trip to Italy in order to connect back with his Italian roots. Chris ,as a main character, is a heartwarming friend for the audience to accompany on his journey. The film has a very mature and philosophic take on what it means to surf as well as serving as an amazing representation of real Italian life.
Half of the movie is very “surf-centric” as we watch long beautiful montages of Chris surfing with other Italian and American pros. This allows the audience to compare all the different styles of how to catch a wave. In case some might think that 45 minutes of watching people surf would grow tiresome, cinematographer Scott Kassenoff does a stand up job on this film and thereby dispels this thought by coming up with new, interesting, and energizing ways to bring us into the water with the surfers. For example, one shot shows a wave breaking from the inside. His shots were poetically charged and welcoming, beautifully capturing not only the surfing but also the little moments of the Italian tapestry. Furthermore, I would like to commend the filmmakers for the emotional music choices.
This film shows Italians as talented, welcoming, craftsmen that put their heart into every bit of their life and portrays the Italian way as part of something larger. It’s a heartwarming documentary that makes you think about friendship, destiny, purpose and how to really live a Bella Vita.