The film begins with a road trip as we hear a voiceover of Mayor De Blasio being sworn in and thanking the people in the towns of his Italian origins. The director of the film, Vincenzo Lerose, is in the passenger's seat as his father drives south from Torino to Grassano. Lerose's father was born and raised in Grassano. He left when he was young to find work. That search led him to the Piedmont region in northern Italy. When he reaches Grassano, he comes alive. His enthusiasm and affection for the town and its people are sweet to watch. Lerose introduces us to a whole cast of characters who each have an opinion about the mayor and the upcoming event. His grandmother, who proclaims that Mayor De Blasio's 2:00pm arrival will interfere with lunchtime, is the treasure of the film. It's great to be in the kitchen with a real, authentic Italian grandmother.
|A modern mall in Tito, Basilicata|
I'll start off by saying that if you're an American wanting to see the "Old Country," this is your film. You will love it. If you have traveled to the region numerous times like me, and have spent hours talking with the next generation that understands Lucania's difficulties but feel they can make a difference, then skip it. Otherwise, you will just feel frustrated and sad.
|A snapshot made during my layover at the|
Grassano bus station in November 2016
There are so many different ways this event could have been covered and I have a great deal of respect for artistic expression and individuality. I just would not have covered it in the way the director chose. Lerose himself is not from Basilicata. He was born and raised in Torino, and I felt this. Perhaps he is fascinated by the stereotypes and caricatures of the Lucani. They are certainly a fascinating people. I felt that he was egging them on a bit and possibly manipulating the scenes so they would "act out" more than they would have without his persuasion. I think the terms "New York" and "money" were thrown around too much. Mayor Bill De Blasio is more than just a wealthy New Yorker. He is an Italian-American with strong family values and is very connected to his roots. For me, this egging on of the characters, including children to joke around and act like contadini in anticipation of the big New Yorker visiting their tiny village, undermined the significance of the visit and undermined the class and intellect of the people. Instead, I would have appreciated learning more about the history of Grassano and De Blasio's ancestors. The last name of his grandmother was Briganti. A briganti is a freedom fighter, so I would have liked to see that road explored. There was a quick scene with journalist Mariangela Petruzzelli. She is a well-informed, well-traveled, Basilicata-born-and-raised Rai journalist who could have been a great interview and a wealth of knowledge for Lerose. Instead, she appeared in an irrelevant scene that ended with her asking her cameraman why the recording failed. When the film ended, I just didn't feel informed on anything.
|Mariangela Petruzzelli speaking at the 2016 Bella Basilicata Film Festival|
|A painting by Carlo Levi created during his time of exile in Basilicata|
"Having a mayor with lucanian roots in America fills us with pride but concretely speaking, it can't change that much."
"As in everything, there's the initial excitement but in the end, it doesn't go anywhere. In the end, everything in Basilicata goes this way."
|Matera, Basilicata- 2019 European Capital of Culture|
Below is a compilation of the filmmakers and movies we have profiled in our series "Basilicata: Terra di Cinema".. Click on the titles to read about the great young talent in Basilicata.
Luigi Di Gianni: Understanding History Through Cinema
Basilicata Filmmaker in the Running for an Oscar
The First Image from Claudio Santamaria's The Millionairs - The first collaboration of the Basilicata and Calabria Film Commissions
The Documentary Film "Matera 15/19"
Interview: Actor Walter Nicoletti of “Jesus VR - The Story of Christ”
Film Shot in Basilicata is Headed to the U.S.
Il Cinema di Basilicata al Lucania Film Festival
Short Films by Lucani Filmmakers take Center Stage at Cinemaratea
Interview: Executive Producer Nausicaa La Torre on joining "Flipo con la Basilicata"
The Documentary "Emilio Colombo. Memorie di un Presidente" to be presented in Potenza
A Big Week Ahead for Short Films Made in Lucania
"The Prince of Venusia" by Silvio Giordano to Premiere in Potenza
Basilicata protagonista della XIV edizione dell'Ischia Film festival: la kermesse cinematografica dedicata al cineturismo
Verdone, Sorrentino and Tognazzi in the lineup of Basilicata's Maratea Film Festival
Interview: David Cinnella, Producer of Indie Western to be shot in Basilicata
Interview: Cinematographer Michele D'Attanasio on "Veloce come il vento"
Documentary on the Family of Frances Ford Coppola getting International Attention
Basilicata: Terra di Cinema - Cinque Domande per Nicola Ragone
"The Young Messiah" in American Theaters March 11
Interview with Filmmaker Andrea Filardi
Interview: Director Massimo Gaudioso on his new film "Un paese quasi perfetto" - made in Basilicata
Filmmaker Vania Cauzillo presents her Documentary “La ricerca della forma, Il genio di Sergio Musmeci” in her hometown of Potenza
#Luogoideale is not your average Hashtag- It Represents a Culture steeped in History and Pride
To mark the Carnevale of Satriano in Lucania.. We revisit my interview with Filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino
The prodigious, natural talent of Basilicata-born visual artist Walter Molfese
Basilicata: Terra di Cinema - 2015 Year In Review