The rediscovery of director Vittorio De Seta is a highlight of Tribeca this year. Along with Ermanno Olmi and Pier Paolo Pasolini, De Seta is considered one of the Italian cinema's great imaginative realists of the Sixties, a true "poet of reality." As Salvo Cuccia points out in his beautifully filmed documentary Détour De Seta, his films push the boundaries between fiction and reality, touching on archaic themes in European culture. Born a Calabrian nobleman, De Seta came into contact with those he calls the "subordinate people" as a POW during World War Two. His documentaries, shot in southern Italy, Sardinia and Sicily, have focused on the lives of shepherds, miners and fishermen. His semi-fiction film, Bandits of Orgosolo, about Sardinian shepherds whom circumstances force into banditry, has been lauded "worthy to take its place in the pantheon of the greatest masterpieces of documentary filmmaking." The epic tones of these films record the collective voice of a world that is being lost even as it is filmed. In 1966, subverting all expectations, he tested Jungian ideas in the fluid exploration of a neurotic mind, Half a Man, set among the southern upper class. Today, after decades of silence, De Seta is a vibrant, enthusiastic man in his eighties back at work on a documentary about clandestine African immigrants. Cuccia, who works with the Palermo Cinematheque, films images that blend so seamlessly into excerpts from De Seta's work, it is hard to tell them apart.
Director's Statement Collapse
In 2004 Vittorio De Seta's works turn fifty years old. The concept of Détour De Seta goes round the possibility to contribute to the spread of De Seta's works, and, at the same time, to give back to the audience the object of his analysis and research: the transformation of society during the last 50 years. My main purpose was to examine De Seta's works in order to show it through a journey, a "detournage", in the places of his cinema, analysing his method with the addition of new impressions. My constant awareness was to work with De Seta's and other library footage, and to mix them in a more complex tale with our new shootings taken in Sardinia, Sicily and Rome. With Benni Atria's editing, we have re-assembled De Seta's images together with those shot expressly in this occasion, with the purpose of comparing today's sounds and visions with those of a "lost world". We cosidered every material as a library stock, so that the documentary would have a "symphonic" form of sound and vision. It is also a "radiophonic" work, that has a sense with its only sound, and at the same time benefits of a powerful mix of sound and vision. To me, this is the best way to pay tribute to a great filmmaker, Vittorio De Seta. Being inspired mainly by his first documentary, "Lu tempu di li pisci spata" (1954), at 50 years distance I wanted to realize a work in which form and content are combined in a reflection over De Seta's films that is at the same time a journey through the remote places that tell the deep changes happened in Italy over the last fifty years. In this sense, De Seta's production is an extraordinary mirror of the times.
About the Director(s)Collapse
Salvo Cuccia's vast variety of works for the screen include everything from film and videoart to experimentational documentaries. He has over 60 videoart installations, performances, documentaries, and short films to his credit and has had his films screened at numerous international film festivals. Cuccia's other films include Duo, Raoul Not Making, Angelica, Videoplunders, Un sogno di lumaca,Terra Madre, Palermo, Prima Sicilia, Bambini intravisti, Hortophonìa, La cena informale, Cieli Altissimi Retrocedenti, Verso Venezia, Ce ne ricorderemo di questo pianeta, Paesaggi Italiani, Spectaular Cities, La vaga sfera è in questa mano, and Il Satiro danzante.
Martin Scorsese will introduce this program, which will also include seven of De Seta's short documentaries from his own collection (70 min.).