The rediscovery of director Vittorio De Seta is a highlight of Tribeca this year. Along with Ermanno Olmi and Pier Paolo Pasolini, De Seta is considered one of the Italian cinema's great imaginative realists of the Sixties, a true "poet of reality." As Salvo Cuccia points out in his beautifully filmed documentary Détour De Seta, his films push the boundaries between fiction and reality, touching on archaic themes in European culture. Born a Calabrian nobleman, De Seta came into contact with those he calls the "subordinate people" as a POW during World War Two. His documentaries, shot in southern Italy, Sardinia and Sicily, have focused on the lives of shepherds, miners and fishermen. His semi-fiction film, Bandits of Orgosolo, about Sardinian shepherds whom circumstances force into banditry, has been lauded "worthy to take its place in the pantheon of the greatest masterpieces of documentary filmmaking." The epic tones of these films record the collective voice of a world that is being lost even as it is filmed. In 1966, subverting all expectations, he tested Jungian ideas in the fluid exploration of a neurotic mind, Half a Man, set among the southern upper class. Today, after decades of silence, De Seta is a vibrant, enthusiastic man in his eighties back at work on a documentary about clandestine African immigrants. Cuccia, who works with the Palermo Cinematheque, films images that blend so seamlessly into excerpts from De Seta's work, it is hard to tell them apart.
Salvo Cuccia's vast variety of works for the screen include everything from film and videoart to experimentational documentaries. He has over 60 videoart installations, performances, documentaries, and short films to his credit and has had his films screened at numerous international film festivals. Cuccia's other films include Duo, Raoul Not Making, Angelica, Videoplunders, Un sogno di lumaca,Terra Madre, Palermo, Prima Sicilia, Bambini intravisti, Hortophonìa, La cena informale, Cieli Altissimi Retrocedenti, Verso Venezia, Ce ne ricorderemo di questo pianeta, Paesaggi Italiani, Spectaular Cities, La vaga sfera è in questa mano, and Il Satiro danzante.
Martin Scorsese will introduce this program, which will also include seven of De Seta's short documentaries from his own collection (70 min.).