SPETTACOLO (Jeff Malmberg, Christina Shellen, U.S.). 89 minutes. Rating: NNNN Every year for the last five decades, the townsfolk of the tiny.
SPETTACOLO (Jeff Malmberg, Christina Shellen, U.S.). 89 minutes. Rating: NNNN
Every year for the last five decades, the townsfolk of the tiny Tuscan village of Monticchiello have mounted a stage play in which they wrestle with their local issues, posit solutions and maybe sing a song. Stage director Andrea Cresti labours to create the latest edition, while the village – and the show itself – confronts an uncertain future.
Using Cresti as their locus, co-directors Jeff Malmberg and Christina Shellen establish a relaxed, inquisitive tone, letting various threads form: the schism between the older inhabitants who see the play as a tradition and younger people who don’t feel an obligation to participate, or the conflict between Cresti, who’s angling for an upbeat theme, and his more pessimistic collaborators.
Spettacolo may not have the structural ingenuity of the filmmakers’ brilliant Marwencol, but as a contemplation of identity and the value and comfort people find in telling their own stories, it makes for an engaging, entirely absorbing watch. And the Italian locations are awfully easy on the eyes.