Enzo Avitabile Music Life - Macallè Blues

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a Jonathan Demme film
01 Distribution - 2014

I like the idea to speak of this film because I like the idea to be able to speak of Enzo Avitabile; and I like to do it with the unexpected, unusual, through of the director Jonathan Demme.
Avitabile is sensitive, receptive, musician from Naples: of him, the most of you will remember the collaborations, among all first with Pino Daniele, but also with other italian (Giorgia, for example) and international artists (Tina Turner, Richie Havens, Afrika Bambaataa, James Brown, Randy Crawford, etc.). Demme is a multifaceted American director: he alternates works of ample, clean, Hollywood breath (Something Wild, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, The Manchurian Candidate, etc.), to works of smaller cinematographic impact, but politically active, even devoted to specific causes and specific minorities (apartheid, Afro-Americans, minority cultures). To serve as background in this documentary, Naples and its sea; a sea that, whatever is the name that it takes, it is ideally always and anywhere the Mediterranean Sea. A sea that tells today, often declining in tone of funeral chronicle, the dramatic stories of the migrants, but for a long time it was vector of cultures and contaminations. In front of this sea, the artist Avitabile receives and knows how to make himself uterus; he picks up the voices and he mixes them all with the voice that is his own, originating a new one out of it.
The accidental meeting between Avitabile and Demme - it is narrated that Demme listened for the first time Avitabile thanks to a radio station that transmitted his music while the director was transiting on the George Washington Bridge - is the meeting among who, although coming from distant worlds, embraces the same sensibility toward the smaller one, whatever that is, of his brothers. And then the documentary harmonizes the local popular tradition to whose reexamination, from years, Avitabile is devoted with the other voices that, from time to time can be those of Sardinia as of Mexico, of the Kurdistan or of Palestine: cultures that are not subject to the dominant English-speaking language, but that they speak a language that is wanted minority, quiet, but strong of his millennial withstand. This way, the personal melody of Avitabile becomes a collective score, harmonized and played by what is wanted to be the South of the world. All of a sudden, the continuity of the story is interrupted by the fragments of memoirs of dipped Avitabile, yet a little boy, in his basement, among the friends of infancy or returning between the walls of the conservatory of St. Pietro a Majella, as he wanted to declare the existential run that justifies the point of actual landing. In all of this, the eye of Demme seems, at once, curious and respectful: inquiring, but with the childish spirit of the amazing discovery. G.R.

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