Enlarge / In Spettacolo, literally this town’s whole world is a stage. (credit: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen)
The early moments of Spettacolo, the latest documentary from the team behind the acclaimed 2010 work Marwencol, may cause travel lust.

As the film gets underway, old brick buildings serve as a backdrop for European architecture and vistas, practically begging viewers to hop on Airbnb, HomeAway, or some similar service just to survey the current options.
But like the unflinching Marwencol—a critically adored film that details the work of artist Mark Hogancamp, who suffered brain damage after being jumped in a bar and then created a 1/6th-scale backyard model of a WWII town as a form of self-therapy—Spettacolo wants to take its audience well beyond this surface.

By the end of this charming but philosophical film—which debuts theatrically this month and recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival—viewers may find themselves thinking twice about that next dream Airbnb rental.
Tradition via chance
Set in tiny Monticchiello in the Tuscany region of Italy, Spettacolo focuses on the Teatro Povero di Monticchiello (the Poor Theater).

For 50 years, this town (population: 136) has staged a communal play that a majority of Monticchiello’s residents typically participate in.

Don’t mistake this for your run-of-the-mill community theater production of Grease, though.

The annual play in Monticchiello stands as part art, part therapy, part pleading Facebook wall post: rather than perform an existing work, every year residents hold town meetings to formulate a story about their current lives to produce and perform.
Read 14 remaining paragraphs

Leave a Reply