Wednesday, November 29, 2017

AIFF 2017: A Film About Dying Traditions In Italy - Vanina Lappa's Over The River (Sopra il Fiume)

The festival starts soon.  Here's a post looking ahead to a movie showing
SUNDAY (Dec 3) AT 4PM.
Over the River 
Vanina Lappa
Showing: Sunday, Dec 3, Alaska Exp Small, 4pm
Sunday, Dec. 9 Alaska Exp Small 5pm

I've only seen the trailer (it's on my overview post of docs in competition), but I did get to speak with the film maker, Vanini Lappa,  last week via Skype.

This will be the North American premiere of this film.

As I learned more about the film and then talked to Ms. Lappa, it became clear that this film's theme is very relevant to Alaska, and to all places where the young are leaving small towns to find work, and the wisdom of their elders they leave behind is dying out.

Ms. Lappa was attracted to this particular town - Caselle in Pittari, near Naples - because of a legend .
"People who are pure can find a secret in this mountain where there is a grotto.  The secret is not money or material things, but is knowledge."
From the trailer and what I read, the film seemed almost a feature rather than a documentary, so I asked her about that.
"I began to shoot as a documentary, then it took the form of a feature for me." 
It's interesting how we learn about ourselves.  Listen to her talk about this.
"I realized one year later that this film is a lot about me and my relationships with my city [Milan] and country.  Even if I'm not in the film . . . because now I don't live in Italy any more.  I've come to another country, so I made the same choice as the main character."
She also talks about the making of the film.  She did almost everything but the sound herself.  (Sorry, I've edited some sound problems out, but didn't have time to edit more.)

If you're the kind of person who likes to figure out a movie on your own, you may want to wait until after you watch the movie to see what she says about it.  Meanwhile, here is some information about the town it was filmed in.

From Summer in Italy:
"Caselle in Pittari is a cozy hill town in the heart of the Cilento National Park. It is dominated by its medieval tower. The town is a delightful cluster of stone buildings that occupy the crest and spill down the hillside. Its aerie position offers great views of the surrounding hills and the soaring peak of Mt. Cervati, the highest mountain in Campania at 1898 meters above sea level. Down below bubbles the Bussento River, which slices through the valleys of the Cilento."
It goes on to talk more about the festival that is the center of the film as I understood it in my Skype conversation with the film maker.
"Caselle in Pittari hosts an unusual event called the Palio del Grano, a homage to a by-gone era to remember and recreate the traditions of rural life. It starts at sunrise in the piazza with contenders of various contradas (districts) dressed in old-time rural garb, and they parade out to the fields below, just like their ancestors did as a daily way of life to work the fields. The competition involves harvesting a swath of field that measures 5 meters by 100 meters in teams of 20 people armed with sickles. They have to reap according certain specifications, and the first time to complete the task wins the Palio. 
The Palio is followed by a peasant lunch for all - participants and spectators alike - of bread, cheese, salami, sausage, fresh tomatoes, salad and wine, all served right there in the freshly harvested field. Accompanying the Palio is a bread baking workshop and a tarantella competition (a traditional southern Italian dance)."

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