Friday, May 02, 2008

The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio (film review)


The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio ("L’orchestra di Piazza Vittorio"”), directed by Agostino Ferrente (dis. Lucky Red films from Rome) is a gentle documentary about the growth of a pickup neighborhood orchestra in Rome starting in 2001. The old Apollo Theater was going to be desecrated and turned into a bingo parlor. So some entrepreneurs decided to raise money from the neighborhood to make it into a neighborhood theater with cinema and stage performances, particularly with an “orchestra” of immigrants. The theater would become something like the Lincoln Theater in Washington (although the film was shown at Landmark’s E Street in FilmfestDC). I recall that the movie house in Oberlin Ohio, near the famous college and music school is called the Apollo.

Much of the movie concerns trying to “recruit” the musicians, who then have to learn to work together and perform together, rather like kids. A few don’t fit in. The end product is a concert of pop and folk music from various countries, especially India and North Africa. There are a lot of unusual keyboard and percussion instruments.

The film is shot in digital video, and is sometimes grainy. But it does impart an intimate look of the streets of Rome, including some of the area around the Coliseum.

The website for the Orchestra is here. Here is a website on their US Your from World Music Central.

No comments: