Craj- Domani: A picaresque winner
by Bénédicte Prot
Craj-Domani by Davide Marengo, a musical journey through the Italian region of Puglia produced and distributed by Pablo (read the article) in co-production with C.O.R.E. and Komart and presented at the Venice-Days, has just won the Lino Micciché award from the CSC as Best First Feature.
The beauty of Davide Marengo's documentary goes beyond its content. It completely avoid the usual pitfall for any director whose intention is to present true stories, that is, its interest is not totally absorbed by the interest of the subject. Craj ('tomorrow' in local dialect) was conceived as a real experimental work of art, using several kind of visual arts and uniting them in a single picaresque tribute to traditions.
Indeed, the films uses interviews (the originality of which is that they are filmed in a tenderly subjective way, the camera zooming on small endearing details, as Jonathan Nossiter's did recently in Mondovino), images of the concerts and of the fiction initially presented as a live show by Teresa De Sio. The fiction itself, which relates to Don Quixote (hence to the picaresque genre, which was the dawn of the novel), alternates between scenes in which the two travellers are seen together, and scenes in which only one of them speak. Bimbascione (the pretty Sancho Panza) addresses directly the spectator, as the chorus would do in Greek tragedy, while her master is an addressee-less narrator, speaking in an inspired manner similar to Peter Greenaway's Prospero.
Yet, however composite it is, Craj is not a patchwork but a vibrant polyphonic tribute to the oral tradition, presented as something powerful which, far from being cancelled by written literature, can be reconciled with it and will keep on living...'tomorrow'.
(Translated from French)