Streets are being swept, sets are being built, venders are already setting up their stalls. The jewelry stores in town have stocked Pontelandolfo-esq memorabilia and the back rooms of bars are filled with cases and cases. As the energy of the arts infuses us all with good cheer, the whole town feels more alive. It is the arts that make this an incredible week for me.
Kicking off the week is a production of Dramma Sacro Di Santo Giocondina. This community production, spearheaded by the multi talented Gabriele Palladino, will be live streamed! The Pontelandolfo News has a great story – it is in Italian but even I can read it – and a link the live stream. The play is only on for two nights – tickets are a scant €2 each. I was impressed with the abilities of the local actors. Their commitment and pride is contagious. The saga of Santo Giocondino is performed every four years. Now that I have seen the process, I can understand why! This group has been working for over eight months. Yes, in the hills of Southern Italy – THEATRE LIVES!
Comicron Film Festival is something that I am absolutely looking forward to. This year it is on August 4th and 5th. Initiated by the famous Italian Film/Theatre Director and Producer, Ugo Gregoretti, the festival is dedicated exclusively to comedy shorts. They are in all languages and range from the intellectual to the broad strokes of Commedia dell’ Arte. My only hope this year is that the audience here learns to be quiet and watch the films – last year I found out more than I wanted to know about a middle aged woman’s love life. Audience courtesy please. Jack says he won’t sit with me if I keep turning around ssssssssssshhhing.
Gregoretti spent his childhood summers in Pontelandolfo and wants to put an arts based spotlight on the village. According to Gregoretti – (from the Comicron Website.)
“Io sono un crociato della comicità e quindi vorrei svolgere la mia crociata qui a Pontelandolfo facendo di questo paese la Gerusalemme del cortometraggio comico.” Tra le nuove idee e le diverse iniziative culturali programmate, è stato costituito il Centro Studi dedicato all’opera dell’autore romano Ugo Gregoretti, che raccoglierà e valorizzerà il suo immenso archivio, conservato presso l’ottocentesco palazzo Rinaldi, che si compone di scritti inediti del regista, lettere di esimie personalità (da Rossellini a Rodari, passando per Napolitano e Guttuso), articoli e manifesti, libri e riviste, premi e riconoscimenti. Si tratta di una grande raccolta, che ripercorre, attraverso la figura del grande Maestro, la storia del Novecento italiano. Una raccolta che Gregoretti ha donato al Comune di Pontelandolfo. Il progetto prevede anche la creazione della prima Accademia Nazionale d’Arte Comica e sarà, altresì, realizzato un progetto di più ampio respiro teso a rendere Pontelandolfo la “Capitale della risata”. Il “Centro Studi Ugo Gregoretti” è aperto a studiosi e appassionati che vogliono esplorare e indagare l’opera gregorettiana.
“I am a crusader for comedy and I would like to end my crusade here in Pontelandolfo making this town the Jerusalem of the comic short film.” Among the new ideas and different cultural activities planned, the Ugo Gregoretti Center has been created. It is dedicated to the work of Ugo Gregoretti and will contain such things as the unpublished writings of the director, correspondence from esteemed personalities(from Rossellini to Rodari, Napolitano and Guttuso), articles and posters, books and magazines, prizes and awards. This collection traces the professional life of the great master and the history of the 20th Century Italian films. Gregoretti donated the collection to the City of Pontelandolfo. It is housed in the recently restored Rinaldi Palace. The project also includes the creation of the first National Academy of Comic Art and aims to make Pontelandolfo the “capital of laughter”. The “Ugo Gregoretti Studies Center” is open to scholars and enthusiasts who want to explore and investigate the work gregorettiana.
Pro Loco of Pontelandolfo, the local authority coordinates the annual Festa. I couldn’t find a web-site, but their Facebook page is full of information. The other events of the week include on August 3’rd traditional music and dance of Southern Italy and on August 7’th Francesco De Gregori in Concert. The mysogynistic Miss Mondo is an event I will happily miss. The host is – well – a creep.
We will have a houseful of guests next week. Two from Holland and one from Massachusetts. Why are the visiting my home town? Not to see Midge and Jack but to enjoy the rich culture that can be found in Southern Italy. The FESTA is just another reason to visit Pontelandolfo.