Plot


Lucio Dalla and Sorrento

PLACES OF THE SOUL

a documentary written, narrated and directed by Raffaele Lauro
subtitled in English
(60’)

based on the biographical novel of the same author, entitled  “Caruso The Song - Lucio Dalla e Sorrento”

RAFFAELE LAURO, DIRECTING AND “THE SORRENTINE TRILOGY”

Raffaele Lauro (Sorrento, 1944) graduated in film directing at the New University of Cinema and Television (NUCT) in Rome under the guidance of Masters Giuseppe De Santis, Carlo Lizzani and Florestano Vancini, and in the domain of screenplay under the guidance of Master Ugo Pirro. He directed the short film “La pesca del lunedì” (Fishing on Monday), a modern fairy tale on an elderly couple from Testaccio in love with the Tiber, and subsequently the historical film “I Ponti della Storia e della Leggenda: Ponte Sublicio, Ponte Emilio, Ponte Milvio, Ponte Fabricio, Ponte Cestio e Ponte Elio” (The Bridges of History and Legends: Ponte Sublicio, Ponte Emilio, Ponte Milvio, Ponte Fabricio, Ponte Cestio and Ponte Elio) broadcast a few times by Rai Due. He directed two TV reports on art: on the paintings of Carlos Cairo and the sculptures of Marcello Mondazzi. He returns to directing in 2015 with this documentary, which he also wrote and narrated, entitled “Lucio Dalla and Sorrento - Places of the Soul”. It is based on the biographical novel of the same author, “Caruso The Song - Lucio Dalla and Sorrento” (2015), the second part of “The Sorrentine Trilogy”, following “Sorrento The Romance” of 2013, and followed by “Dance The Love - The Star of Vico Equense” to be published in 2016.


www.raffaelelauro.it
www.sorrentotheromance.com
www.carusothesong.com
www.carusothesong.com/docufilm/

Opening credits

Both opening and closing credits, created by designer Teresa Biagioli, echo the colours of the book cover: gold on maritime blue, to anticipate one of the foundations of Dallian poetic, namely the sea, the Sorrentine sea, the sky and the stars (the photo of Lucio Dalla in the full moon of Li Galli). The words used by the great artist to define his inner bond with Sorrento and with the Sorrentines run against the backdrop of an old drawing of the Sorrentine coast.

I. TASSO SQUARE

In the spring bloom of the Sorrentine wisteria tree, the viewer lands from the air onto the first place of the soul of Lucio Dalla: the Tasso Square. The lyrics of “Serenata a Surriento” (1907) by the Sorrentine poet Aniello Califano (1870-1919), with the music by Salvatore Gambardella, and performed by tenor Tito Schipa, enhance the evocative power of the place. The interiors of Bar Syrenuse. A book on a table and a white hat (the famous “paglietta Dalla”, the theme of the five locations), immediately announce the great artist. The narrator begins the story of Lucio Dalla's bond in Piazza Tasso. Piazza Tasso is the stage where Dalla's relationship with Sorrento was born. In 1963, in fact, the Sorrentine brothers Franco and Peppino Jannuzzi opened the Fauno Notte Club, the first night club in Sorrento, right in Piazza Tasso. The following year, in September, the musical ensemble of The Flippers came to play at the Fauno Notte Club, with twenty-year-old Lucio Dalla, one of the newest members of the band. He played clarinet and immediately charmed the owners of the nightclub with a piece of scat jazz sang in English which was not English, because he didn't know a single word in that language. There is an episode in the collective memory of Sorrento: the flooding of the Fauno Notte Club, which demonstrated from the outset the extraordinary and histrionic personality of this comical musician. The narrator recounts his first meeting with Dalla in the studio of Franco Jannuzzi at the Fauno Notte Club, on an afternoon in late summer of 1964, with an incredible epilogue and the prophecy of Franco Jannuzzi on the man who resembled a Gypsy beggar: “He will be more famous than Frank Sinatra”. The reading of the final piece of the novel allows to relive a surreal scene: every year in the summer, according to the Sorrentines, an angel comes back to Sorrento and drives around the city on a scooter, to then stop at Piazza Tasso. The notes of “Se io fossi un angelo” (1986) by Lucio Dalla make the described concluding scene of the narrative work very suggestive. There are numerous iconographic and film quotations: a video of the Tasso Square; images of the Piazzetta di Capri; a video of the Valley of the Mills; images of the Aragonese walls of Piazza Tasso, between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; an image of the Jannuzzi brothers with friends; a video of the sign of the Fauno Notte Club; an image of Dalla in the Fauno Notte Club; an image of Dalla with a clarinet on the beach; an image of Sorrento seen from Punta Scutolo; an image from Cantagiro 1963; an image of Gino Paoli; a video of Dalla giving a concert and singing scat jazz; a video of Chet Baker playing trumpet; an image of Bologna; an image of La Capannina of Forte dei Marmi; a video of Dalla playing the piano at a concert; an image of Dalla with an egg, kindly shared by Romolo Forlai, a friend of Dalla and former vibraphonist of The Flippers; images of Dalla wearing necklaces and tank top; an image of Franco Jannuzzi; a video of the Sorrentine sea seen from Punta Scutolo; a video of the sea seen from Marina Piccola; images of Dalla playing clarinet; an image of Frank Sinatra; an image of the “Caruso The Song” cover; an image of a fading angel in Piazza Tasso; Marina Grande and fishermen nets; an image of Dalla smiling in a pool of Li Galli; a video of waiters in Bar Fauno; images of Dalla on the terrace of La Scogliera, with Tonino Siniscalchi and friends; images of Dalla with The Flippers; images of Sorrento from the sea. The images are accompanied by the following musical quotations: Serenata a Surriento, lyrics by Aniello Califano, music by Salvatore Gambardella, 1907, performed by tenor Tito Schipa; ‘A surrentina, lyrics by Giambattista De Curtis, music by Ernesto De Curtis, 1905, performed by tenor Francesco Albanese; Comè profondo il mare, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla, from the album of “Com’è profondo il mare” by Lucio Dalla, 1977, RCA Italiana; Carmela, lyrics and music by Giovanbattista De Curtis, 1892, performed by tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano; Mandulinata a Surriento, lyrics by Gennaro Ciaravolo, music by E. A. Mario, 1922, performed by tenor Francesco Albanese; Se io fossi un angelo, lyrics by Lucio Dalla, music by Roberto Costa, from the album of “Bugie” by Lucio Dalla, 1986, Pressing; Torna a Surriento, lyrics by Giambattista De Curtis, music by Ernesto De Curtis, 1902, performed by tenor Beniamino Gigli.

II. MARINA PICCOLA

The audience travels in the air from the sea towards the quay of the port of Marina Piccola, up to La Scogliera, the bar of Angelo Leonelli, where Lucio Dalla together with his friends from Sorrento and his sailing guests spent enjoyable time at sunset after returning from the day on the beach. The narrator reads another piece-testimony of Dalla's love to Marina Piccola. Words of sincere affection, melancholic memories of and thanksgiving to the Madonna of Help, the protector of the small fishing village. The images of the procession of the Madonna, the fireworks and the sound of bells, the procession of boats at sea, bear witness to the attachment of the singer to the civil and religious traditions of the Southern land. Similarly, the narrator emphasizes the Dalla’s passion for sports and, in particular, for basketball and Virtus Bologna, so strong to introduce the initiative to create a summer basketball court on the beach beneath the Grand Hôtel Excelsior Vittoria. The singer arranged for the court to play in the evening with Nino Russo and other young sailors of the port. A marvellous blend of Dalla's affection for basketball, youth and life. With the image of the deserted terrace the narrator introduces a suggestive, dramatic and highly emotional scene: on the morning of 1st March 2012, at the news of the death of Dalla, desperate Angelo Leonelli took refuge in Marina Piccola on this very terrace. Distraught, he sat in Lucio's chair and fell asleep. And then a hand touched his shoulder, as it had happened so many times in real life, and a voice said again: “Angelo, are you asleep? I'm here, I'm Lucio”. There are also numerous iconographic and video quotations in this episode: a video of Marina Piccola from above; an image of Dalla with Angelo Leonelli; an image of Dalla at the helm of his boat; a video of Dalla giving a concert; an image of the statue of the Madonna of Help; an image of the façade of the church; a video of the boat procession at sea; an immage of Dalla and Gus; a video of a Virtus Bologna game; a video of the beach in Marina Piccola; images of Nino Russo; and image of Montreaux; a video of La Scogliera from above; an image of Angelo Leonelli; an image of Dalla waving from his boat on a serene day. The musical quotations that accompany the images are: Torna a Surriento, lyrics by Giambattista De Curtis, music by Ernesto De Curtis, 1902, performed by tenor Beniamino Gigli; Un uomo solo può vincere il mondo, lyrics by Giuseppe Di Leva, music by Lucio Dalla, the hymn of the Italian team at the Beijing Olympics 2008; Le rondini, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla and Mauro Malavasi, from the album of “Cambio” by Lucio Dalla, 1990, Pressing.

III. MARINA GRANDE

Still watching from the air, the eye of the viewer approaches the village of Marina Grande, the third of Lucio Dalla's places of the soul in Sorrento. A fishing village full of friends, such as those from the Tremiti Islands. Lucio loved the sea and loved the gozzo, the typical boat of Sorrentine fishermen. Whenever he could, he participated in the festival of St. Anne, with a procession of boats at sea. But he loved the whole coast, all the churches at the sea, all the traditions of popular religiosity. He also loved the sanctuary of St. Anthony, with its votive paintings of sailing ships donated for the safety of sailors. In Marina Grande in 2003, Lucio received the Premio Caruso award and, in one of its later editions, he sang with Gilberto Gil the song of “Minha historia”, the Portuguese version of “4 marzo 1943” with the lyrics by Chico Buarque de Hollanda, to manifest the love for musical fusions, not only with Neapolitan, but also with Brazilian music. Marina Grande became the scene of a moving event: in the 2009 edition of the Premio Caruso award, after the RAI television filming for a delayed broadcast had been concluded, Dalla asked the organisers for a permission to sing “Caruso”. In the magic of that Sorrentine night, at the end of the performance, he pointed to the sky and dedicated his masterpiece to Pasquale Ruocco, who apart from Franco Jannuzzi, was one of his closest friends in the early Sorrentine days. Both at the time were already gone, but remained in the artist's heart, causing the commotion of all the present. From the pier to a historical “gozzo”, which belongs to one of the most renowned Sorrentine fishing entrepreneurs: Antonino Stinga. Lucio visited the historical dockyards of Aprea. The large fishing boat transformed into a white recreational boat, called St. Anthony, belonged to the Jannuzzi brothers. On that boat Lucio spent unforgettable days of joy, together with his friends from Sorrento, in an atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood, also practising underwater fishing. There are also numerous iconographic and video quotations in this episode: an image of the Tremiti Islands; images of the Sorrentine “gozzo”; images of the Aprea dockyards; a video of the procession of St. Anna; inside and outside images of the Sanctuary of St. Anthony; images of the crypt; images of the votive donations; images of the silver statue of St. Anthony; images of the Premio Caruso award; a video of Dalla and Gilberto Gil at the Premio Caruso ceremony; an image of Chico Buarque de Hollanda; images of Pasquale Ruocco; night images of Marina Grande; images of Antonino Stinga; images of St. Anthony. Music quotations: Le rondini, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla and Mauro Malavasi, from the album of “Cambio” by Lucio Dalla, 1990, Pressing; Comè profondo il mare, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla, from the album “Com’è profondo il mare” by Lucio Dalla, 1977, RCA Italiana; Caruso, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla, from the album of “DallAmeriCaruso” by Lucio Dalla, 1986, RCA Italiana (instrumental version); Minha historia (4 marzo 1943 by Lucio Dalla), lyrics in Portuguese by Chico Buarque de Hollanda, music by Lucio Dalla, from the album “Construção” by Chico Buarque de Hollanda, 1971, Phonogram/Philips; Surriento d’ ‘e nnammurate, lyrics by Enzo Bonagura, music by Lino Benedetto, 1950, Cetra (instrumental version).

IV. GRAND HÔTEL EXCELSIOR VITTORIA

The gaze of the viewer approaches from above, from the land and from the sea towards the high coast of Sorrento, overlooking Marina Piccola, on which the three buildings of the Grand Hôtel Excelsior Vittoria are clearly visible. It grazes the façade of one of the buildings to then enter the suite of the grand hotel, which has become famous throughout the world: the Caruso Suite. In this suite, the great tenor Enrico Caruso spent the last weeks of his life, between June and July of 1921, with his wife Dorothy and daughter Gloria. The narrator tells the story and the legend of Caruso in Sorrento. The tenor had chosen Sorrento for his convalescence after a major surgery in the previous December in New York. Because of the specific atmosphere, the beauty and the charm of Sorrento, he cultivated the illusion that his health might improve and he could recover from his illness. The world famous Master received many pianists and aspiring singers. He also gave piano lessons to a young girl from Sorrento. At sunset, he had a huge piano transferred out to the terrace, and from there he sang his most famous opera arias and Neapolitan songs of the classical repertoire: “Maria Marì” which revealed his talent in a singing café in Naples, “Torna a Surriento”, “La Bohème” and “Tosca” by Puccini. The fishermen of the port, surrounded by his voice, which descended to Marina Piccola, accompanied him like a great choir. However, the illness advanced relentlessly, so that at the end of July his wife decided to take him to Rome for the last, desperate surgery. But once arrived to Naples, Caruso had to surrender: he died in a room of Hôtel Vesuvio. In all human affairs of great personalities legends are born, which often carry also some truth. The legend of Caruso in Sorrento seems like a crime story, a thriller: the sailors of Marina Piccola say that the great tenor died in the Sorrentine suite, and to avoid scandal of his alleged falling for the Sorrentine girl, wife Dorothy transported his body by sea in a fishing boat from Sorrento, and headed to Naples to there prepare the staging of the death of the tenor at Hôtel Vesuvio. But it is only a legend. This suite certainly witnessed the drama of a great artist, who gradually became aware that his life was about to end, that his big successes were a memory and that death was approaching, although that death became sweeter in natural environment: the eternal combination of Eros and Thanatos, tied to this environment and to this vision of nature. In the summer of 1985, Dalla was encouraged by his musical entourage to create a new single, a towing work for the album of his hits, which would have been recorded live the following spring, during the tour of Canada and the United States. Lucio returned to Sorrento. A failure of his boat in the port of Capri forced him to have it repaired in the yards of Marina di Cassano. But a further incident extended the repair by another two weeks. And then Lucio remembered the story of Caruso, which he had got to know after his first arrival to Sorrento in 1964, from the mother of the Jannuzzi brothers. As years went by, he then found out more details from Angelo Leonelli. Lucio, in Grand Hôtel Excelsior Vittoria, booked the very suite occupied by Caruso in the final weeks of his life. This way various sources of inspiration blended together in a providential and extraordinary creative process: Lucio's old desire to dedicate a song to Sorrento; the drama of the great tenor; Lucio's love for melodrama, because “Caruso” is a little melodrama, the evidence of fusion with the classic Neapolitan song and lyric practiced by Dalla. But also a drama that Lucio always carried with him. The drama of his father's death of a tumour among great suffering, when he was just a child. The drama of love and death, life and death. After a few days Lucio left the suite of the Grand Hôtel Excelsior Vittoria. He moved to the Sorrento Palace hosted by his friend, Giovanni Russo, to a suite with a Korean piano, where he completed and refined his masterpiece. Dalla's bond with the Grand Hôtel Excelsior Vittoria was consecrated by the owners, the Fiorentino family, who dedicated a suie to the artist: the Dalla Suite. It was a more modern room compared to the Caruso Suite, which is maintained in the style contemporary to the tenor's era, with a grand piano and many objects manifesting a strong bond between the family and the singer-songwriter. The narrator takes the audience out to the terrace of Suite Caruso, in front of the gulf of Sorrento, where Lucio Dalla played the piano to perform the not yet completed “Caruso”, his “Caruso” in the enchantment of the night and by the glittering sea of Sorrento. Iconographic and video quotations: images of Caruso with wife and daughter; images of Sorrentine flowers; a video of Suite Caruso; images of the Sanctuary of Pompei and of the Madonna; a video of Marina Piccola seen from above; images of Suite Caruso; images of Galleria Umberto in Naples and a singing café; images of the first posters of “La Bohème” and “Tosca”; a video of the Gulf of Naples; images of Sorrentine sunsets; night images of Sorrento; images of Eros-Thanatos; a video of Lucio Dalla in concert; an image of the cover of “DallAmeriCaruso”; an image of Dalla on his boat; images of the port of Capri; an image of Peppino Jannuzzi; an image of Marina di Cassano; an image of Angelo Leonelli; images of Suite Caruso; an image of Giuseppe Dalla with his little son; an image of the Sorrento Palace hall with the piano; a video of Suite Caruso and Suite Dalla; an image of the “Caruso The Song” cover. Music quotations: Dicintencello vuje, lyris by Enzo Fusco, music by Rodolfo Falvo, 1930, performed by tenor Mario Lanza; Recondita armonia, a romance  from “Tosca”, opera in three acts, with music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, 1900, performed by Enrico Caruso; Maria Marì, lyrics by Vincenzo Russo, music by Eduardo di Capua, 1889, Ferdinando Bideri (instrumental version); E lucean le stelle, a romance  from “Tosca”, opera in three acts, with music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, 1900, performed by Enrico Caruso; Lanno che verrà, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla, from the album of “Lucio Dalla” by Lucio Dalla, 1979, RCA Italiana (instrumental version); Stella di mare, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla, from the album of “Lucio Dalla” by Lucio Dalla, 1979, RCA Italiana (instrumental version); Caruso, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla, from the album of “DallAmeriCaruso” by Lucio Dalla, 1986, RCA Italiana.

V. HILTON SORRENTO PALACE

The viewer's gaze caresses the densely wooded hills of Sorrento to finally arrive in front of the Hilton Sorrento Palace. The subjective wandering in the halls of this great hotel, in search of the famous piano on which Dalla refined “Caruso”. That piano was put in the suite where Giovanni Russo, another close and long-time friend, hosted Dalla. The singer realized immediately to have created a masterpiece, but wanted to subject it to the scrutiny of the one judge he trusted completely: the audience. The first to be lucky enough to hear it were Dalla's friends from Sorrento, during a musical event organized in the Blumare Club by Bruno Acanfora. More events took place later on: in Lampedusa and San Martino Valle. And so began the journey of “Caruso” in the world. Dalla's friendship with Giovanni Russo was sealed not only by the years of visits, but also by the usual hospitality in the splendour of the islands of Li Galli, in front of Positano. Li Galli are mythological islands that evoke the myth of Ulysses and the Sirens. These are the islands where the great choreographer Massine wanted to create an open-air theatre, where Rudolf Nureyev, who had bought them, lived the best days of his life. Li Galli then passed to the hands of Giovanni Russo and, right there, in the “Principality of Li Galli”, in the summer of 2011, Lucio lived a wonderful day: the coronation of the Prince of Li Galli and the provision of duchies to his court of friends. Beautiful images of joy and friendship. Lucio received “The Duchy of Mediterranean music and harmony” in tribute to his love for Neapolitan songs and the traditions of the South. A combination, which then finds its own triumph in the masterpiece of “Caruso,” with the refrain drawn from the ancient Neapolitan song “Dicitencello vuje”. That day on Li Galli Dalla's dream came true: to meet the moon, the moon goddess, one of the foundations of his poetry along with the sea and the stars. The viewer's gaze dissolves into a starry sky, as if following the spirit of the great artist, echoed after the credits in a long final tones of the song of “Felicità”. Iconographic and video quotations: a video of the Sorrento Palace hall with the piano; a video of the entrance path of the Excelsior Vittoria; a video of Sorrento from the balcony at the Palace; an image of Giovanni Russo with Dalla; a video of applauding audience; images of the Blumare Club; images of Lampedusa; images of San Martino Valle Caudina; images of Li Galli; images of Ulysses with the Sirens; an image of Massine; an image of Nureyev; images of Dalla with his friends from Li Galli; an image of Dalla in the full moon with Li Galli; a fading image of the moon above the sea in the night sky. Music quotations: Caruso, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla, from the album of “DallAmeriCaruso” by Lucio Dalla, 1986, RCA Italiana; What a beautiful day, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla and Leo Zeuss, from the album of “Ciao” by Lucio Dalla, 1999, Pressing; Felicità, lyrics and music by Lucio Dalla, from the album of “Dalla/Morandi” by Lucio Dalla and Gianni Morandi, 1988, RCA e Pressing.

CLOSING CREDITS

Similar to the opening credits, the closing credits recall the colour setting of the cover of the biographical novel: gold on maritime blue. The thanks, the soundtrack, the cast and the copyright flow on the background of the song of “Felicità” by Lucio Dalla. They are closed by the image of Lucio Dalla and Raffaele Lauro at the “Sorrento in the World 2006” award ceremony. The echo of the voice of Dalla, the refrain of “Felicità”, dissolves in the universe. The End.

 

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