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Tan, S. (2018). Spettacolo directed by Jeff Malmberg and Chris Snellen Grasshopper Film, 2017; 91 minutes. Fort Da, 24(1):101-105.

(2018). Fort Da, 24(1):101-105

Reviews: Film Review Essay

Spettacolo directed by Jeff Malmberg and Chris Snellen Grasshopper Film, 2017; 91 minutes

Review by:
Sydney Tan, Psy.D.

The Films of Our Lives

In this place new things were shown that soothed his fear,

here, Aeneas first dared to hope for safety,

and to trust in better hopes for his affliction.

For in the great temple while examining each wall,

awaiting the queen, he wonders about the fortune of the city,

he admires the skills of the craftsmen and their works of labor,

he sees the Trojan battles one by one,

the wars now made common by their fame throughout the world,

the sons of Atreus, Priam, and Achilles, ferocious to all sides.

He stood, weeping, “What place,” he said, “Achates,

what region on earth is not filled with our suffering?”

—Virgil, The Aeneid, author's translation

In his book The Necessary Dream, Giuseppe Civitarese (2014) quotes the poet Charles Simic's description of dreams as the “films of our lives” (p. xi). Psychoanalysis, since its inception, has been taken up with the dream. Freud (1900) famously describes the interpretation of dreams as “the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind” (p. 608). For him, dream interpretation granted access to the “most marvelous and most mysterious” of all instruments — the unconscious. Building upon Freud's ideas, contemporary thinkers have moved toward a more expansive view of dreaming, focusing instead on the process of dreaming as a creative act — a function that constructs the mind.

The documentary film Spettacolo (Italian for “show,” from the Latin spectāclum, meaning spectacle or public event), by Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen (2017), tells the story of life in Monticchiello, a small Tuscan hilltop town about 70 miles south of Florence. Each summer, its residents turn the piazza into a stage and their lives into a play.

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