Grace (1986) Starring Tom Conti, this is an Italian
comedy about a runaway, incognito Pope who makes his way to
a village for a temporary stay and tries to bring a few good
works to fruition while there. After Pope Leo XIV gets
locked out of the Vatican garden one day, he opts for taking
off on a small escape from official and bureaucratic
burdens. Since he is not in his robes, who's to know? He
heads for a remote village in the south of Italy that has no
priest. He finds shelter with a former hooker and her mute
daughter and then sets to work overcoming the local thugs
and repairing a broken aqueduct. Meanwhile, back at the
Vatican, the Cardinals are trying to hide the fact that His
Holiness has taken a powder.
Night Sun (1990) Learning that his betrothed was
once the king's mistress, 18th century Italian nobleman
Sergio (Julian Sands) renounces society and becomes a monk,
vowing to lead a chaste and ascetic life. But his quest for
solitude and spiritual clarity is disrupted by his growing
reputation as a miracle worker -- and by the efforts of a
young temptress to seduce him. Brothers Paolo and Vittorio
Taviani direct this period drama based on a Leo Tolstoy
The Passion of the Christ (2004) Oscar-winning
actor-director Mel Gibson helms this controversial epic film
that focuses on the last 12 hours of Jesus's life -- from
the betrayal, trial and death of Jesus to his brutal
Crucifixion and resurrection from the tomb. Starring Jim
Caviezel as Jesus, Maia Morgenstern as Jesus's mother and
Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene, The Passion is spoken
entirely in Latin and Aramaic, and the violent Crucifixion
scenes are incredibly graphic.
The Big Question (2004) Although it was shot on the
set of director Mel Gibson's controversial epic The Passion
of the Christ, this thought-provoking documentary is not
about the making of the movie. Rather, filmmakers Francesco
Cabras and Alberto Molinari delve into the nature of
divinity and spiritual beliefs through revealing interviews
with Gibson and members of his cast and crew -- including
stars Jim Caviezel and Monica Bellucci.
Nativity Story (2006) Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and
Joseph (Oscar Isaac) make the hard journey to Bethlehem for
a blessed event in this retelling of the Nativity story.
From director Catherine Hardwicke, this meticulously
researched and visually lush adaptation of the biblical tale
follows the pair on their arduous path to their arrival in a
small village, where they find shelter in a quiet manger and
Jesus is born. Shohreh Aghdashloo co-stars.
Craco on Television
In 1991 a photographer, Jeffrey Becom was
the subject of a Public Television documentary about his
travels through Italy. The final segment in the show
features Craco. The documentary is entitled, “Travels:
For the Colours, A Journey Through Italy.” It is a
production of Thirteen/WNET in association with Hawkshead
also served as a vignette in a
television documentary called “The Colors of Italy”
illustrating how modern perspectives of the town find it a
charming backdrop to reflect ancient times.
RAI UNO: On March 20,2008, the Italian television
station RAI UNO aired a segment on their "Festa Italiana"
program titled "L'Ultimo Pastore Di Craco" (The Last Shepard
of Craco). By clicking on the RAI logo to the left you
can view this video. It is a large file, so please be
patient while it loads.
Craco in Magazines
Geographic Italia: The March 2008 edition of the
magazine featured an article about Craco written by Gugliemo Greco with photographs by Francesco Schiavone.
This five page article describes Craco Vecchio's plight
against nature and the hope for the future, because of
the passion of its former residents and the film
industry. By clicking on the magazine cover on the
left, you can view the article complete with an English translation.
Seasons in Basilicata: A Year in a Southern Italian
Village by David Yeadon. Published by HarperCollins,
2004. Chapter entitled Craco - An Experience in Natural
Magic, pages 243-253 and a sketch. This entertaining and
well- written book chronicles an English couple's life as
they spend a year in Aliano, to live as Carlo Levi did in
the 1930's. Their education in the culture and their
interaction with the local residents provide much insight to
life in this little known, unexplored region.
Landslides - Risk Analysis and Sustainable Disaster
Management. Published by Springer Berlin Heidelberg,
2005. Chapter entitled Multi-Temporal and Quantitative
Geomorphological Analysis on the Large Landslide of Craco
Village, pages 113-117 by Delmonaco Giuseppe, Luca Falconi,
Gabriele Leoni, Claudio Margottini, Claudio Puglisi, and
Italian Immigrant Experience
To Liberty: The Story of Italian Immigration and the
Rebirth of America by Kenneth A. Ciongoli and Jay
Parini. Published by Regan Books, 2002.
Publisher comments: Passage to Liberty recaptures
the drama of the 19th and 20th century immigration to
America through photos, letters, and other artifacts -
uniquely replicated in three-dimensional facsimile form; the
text uses the stories of individuals and families - from
early explorers, through the wave of 19th century
impoverished families, to contemporary figures - to
recapture the rich heritage the Italian people carried with
them over the waves, and planted anew in the American soil.
With Luigi: A Grandson's Search for His Italian Roots by
Paul Paolicelli. Published by St. Martin Press, 2001.
Publisher comments: In this spirited memoir, veteran
TV journalist Paul Paolicelli does what many of us can only
dream of - he picks up and moves to a foreign country in an
attempt to trace his ancestral roots. With the help of
Luigi, his guide and companion, he travels through Italy -
Rome, Gamberale, Matera, Miglionico, Alessandria, even
Mussolini's hometown of Predappio - and discovers the tragic
legacy of the Second World War that is still affecting the
Old Country. . . . More that just a spiritual account of
one man's ancestral search, Dances With Luigi is also a
stunning portrait of la bella Italia - both old and new -
that is painted beautifully in all of its glamour, history,
the Southern Sun: Stories of the Real Italy and the
Americans it Created by Paul Paolicelli. Published by
St. Martin Press, 2003.
comments: Recently there has been a seemingly endless
stream of books praising the glories of ancient and modern
Rome, fretting over Venice's rising tides and moldering
galleries, celebrating the Tuscan countryside, wines and
cuisine. But there have been curiously few writings that
deal directly with Italy as the country of origin for the
grand and great-grandparents of nearly twenty-six million
Americans. The greatest majority - more than eight out of
ten - of those American descendants of immigrant Italians
aren't the progeny of Venetian doges or Tuscan wealth, but
are the diaspora of Southern Italians, people from a place
very different than Renaissance Florence or the modern
political entity of Rome. Southern Italians, mostly from
villages and towns sprinkled about the dramatic and remote
countryside of Italian provinces even now tourists find only
with determination and rental cars.
Must Read Recommendation
Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year by Carlo Levi.
Translated by Frances Frenaye. Published by Farrar, Straus
and Giroux, 1974.
comments: It was to Lucania, a desolate land in
southern Italy, that Carlo Levi - a doctor, painter,
philosopher, and man of letters was confined as a political
prisoner because of his opposition to Italy's Fascist
government at the start of the Ethiopian war in 1935. While
there, Levi reflected on the harsh landscape and its
inhabitants, peasants who lived the same lives their
ancestors had, constantly fearing black magic and the near
presence of death. In so doing, Levi offered a starkly
beautiful and moving account of a place and a people living
outside the boundaries of progress and time.