SYNOPSIS The images you are watching were shot by Domenico Notarangelo, who was for several years correspondent for the communist newspaper “L’Unità”, political leader and local governor for the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in Lucania. He has collected and documented over time, by means of photographs and films, the life, the customs and popular traditions of Southern Italy villages.
This is what he witnessed.
1969-1972. Accettura, a few kilometres from Matera. Whitsunday. A big Turkey oak, cut down on Ascension Day, is tied to yokes of oxen and dragged out of a wood. In another wood, a holly is cut down and carried by peasants on their backs. In the evening, these trees meet in the village. The following Tuesday, the treetop, the “Cima”, is grafted onto the Turkey oak, the “Maggio”: it’s the marriage of trees, to generate fertility. The tree is now ready to be set up in the square. Meanwhile, the procession of the patron saint, San Giuliano, makes its way along the village streets, preceded by a group of women who carry votive constructions on their heads. Once the procession has reached the square, the tree is set up. At sunset, the bravest climber, Zizilone, climbs up and reaches the treetop, while the crowd watches on in wonder.
DIRECTOR’S NOTE Peasants. Their feast. Pagan cults and Christian sacredness. Nature as a benignant mother. The thrill of rite. Old people and children. The faces of women. Each face a landscape. The body of men. The earth of men. Stories outside History. The end of the world. A journey to the beginning of the world.
ELEGIES FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD – OF MEN AND TREES (Italy 2013, 38’, colour, 4:3, DigiBeta-DCP)
Direction Francesco Dongiovanni
Original Song Mario Marinoni, Vanni La Guardia
Post production Vincenzo Pastore
Historical research Rosario Milano
Film restoration La Camera Ottica
In collaboration with Archivio Domenico Notarangelo – Associazione Pasolini Matera
Via Emilia Doc Fest | Online | IT
Lucania Film Festival | Pisticci | IT
Ischia Film Festival | Ischia | IT
Salòn Internacional de la Luz | Bogotà | CO
Mediawave Festival | Komàrom | HU
L’alfabeto perduto della realtà. Il cinema di Franco Piavoli | Roma | IT
Avvistamenti | Bisceglie | IT
Best Film “Experimental Cinema” in SALON INTERNACIONAL DE LA LUZ 2014