Once upon a time there was a tiny hill town in Tuscany that found a remarkable way to confront their issues - they turned their lives into a play. "Spettacolo" is a portrait of this 50-...
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Once upon a time there was a tiny hill town in Tuscany that found a remarkable way to confront their issues - they turned their lives into a play. "Spettacolo" is a portrait of this 50-year-old tradition, where their piazza becomes their stage and every villager from 6 to 90 plays a part - the role of themselves. Written by
Tuscan village puts on a show: Tradition vs Modern World
The tiny village of Monticchiello in Tuscany Italy has been putting on a play by (and usually) about the villagers themselves for decades. There are some great photographs and even some video and film clips from past productions. The Documentary by MARWENCOL filmmakers Jeff Malmberg & Chris Shellen follows the producing of the play over almost a full year. But, it soon becomes apparent that the Doc isn't really about the 'putting on the play' aspect as it is about the struggles of keeping up traditions in the modern world. (emphasized by a pretty daring editorial choice near the end)
Monticchiello has little over a hundred residents. One rueful core group member wistfully looks at an old program and notes that a third of his fellow members have passed on. The younger generation, more mobile and 'busy' with their lives,are losing interest. As Tuscany has become a major tourist destination,old homes are being bought out by outsiders as investments. And, financial burdens seem to get worse every year (the movie was mainly shot in 2012), with Italy in particular suffering just about as much as any Western European nation. Government arts funding is slashed, and the biggest financial backer pulls out.
While tourism helps the locals a bit, here they represent an outside force that may be too much for a quaint tradition like an annual Spttacolo to survive. Invariably, whenever tourists are on screen, they are on the cellphones and iPads - after all, how can a little amateur play compete with that cat video one of their Facebook friends just posted? The good news, is that the play was still put on this summer!
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