Jeff Malmberg & Chris Shellen
USA | 2017 | 91 min
Premiere screening on 20 December at Rialto Amsterdam. In selected Dutch and Belgian cinemas in January 2018.
Once upon a time, villagers in a tiny hill town in Tuscany came up with a remarkable way to confront their issues – they turned their lives into a play. Every summer, their piazza became their stage and villagers of all ages played a part – the role of themselves.
While neighbouring villages turned to tourism for survival, Monticchiello’s annual tradition kept the town together for 50 years, preserved in time. Every issue the villagers have faced in their history - their near annihilation by Nazis, the women’s movement, the struggles of the town’s independent farmers - every major event has been debated and dramatised by the villagers in the center of town.
Leading this process is Andrea Cresti, a painter and sculptor descended from Italian royalty who’s devoted his life to helping his village tell their story. At 75, he still scales scaffolding to adjust lights and pulls the stage apart after midnight rehearsals. But with no qualified heir and a future generation more interested in Facebook than farmers, he struggles to keep the tradition of the Teatro Povero di Monticchiello alive.