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Directed by Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen

United States 2017 91 mins. In English, Italian

The residents of Monticchiello, a small hamlet in the Tuscany hills, have since the end of World War II produced an “autodrama,” a piece of self-reflexive theater, about their own lives, worries, and troubles. While the autodrama has a long history and has garnered the attention of theater lovers worldwide, the practice is potentially at risk due to an aging population and lack of interest among the younger generations—a conundrum that forms the gently simmering backdrop to Malmberg and Shellen’s engrossing, humane portrait of the town and its yearly artistic production. Structured around the change of the seasons, the ebb and flow of daily life are felt strongly through the film, as well as the anxieties of economic collapse and increasing economic inequality. “ Is this art or is this prophecy? Is there even a difference?”—Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice.

Genres: Documentary

Appears in: Essential Cinema