Everyone is familiar with the beautiful, poppy or sunflower filled, postcard-like Tuscan landscapes.
Whether visiting Tuscany multiple times or planning a first trip to this scenic region most people read some history behind the places on their itineraries, yet this reading is usually limited to the snippets provided by guidebooks skimmed before traveling.
Pantaleone A. Megna and Andrea Mignòlo, two young Italian directors have a real treat for all interested in learning more about the region.
Galgano productions presents the public with an unusual take on Tuscany in a documentary titled Mystery Tuscany. A documentary of its own kind, the film is not only an innovative way to strike interest but it creates a completely new film genre: the travel-drama, combining the documentary with the techniques of a suspense movie.
Looking to shed an entirely different light on their beloved Tuscan region, the duo decided to resort to legends that surround popular and frequently visited by tourists places.
Masterfully conveyed using voices and enigmatic elements, the places come alive in front of the viewer’s eyes, and moreover they transport them to the past. Carolina Gamini takes on the role of the mysterious and stunningly beautiful guide that accompanies the spectator to towers, castles, abbeys, Etruscan necropolis and medieval villages adding to the suspense with her ambiguous narrative voice.
Andrea Mignòlo states: “We have recreated a timeless vision of Tuscany that differs from the common images from postcards. There are no cars, tourists or any signs of contemporaneity for that matter. We could be in 1500’s or just as well in 2020.”
The film consists of twelve short episodes and in entirety it is 85 minute long. Each episode centers on a particular town or historical site and is presented through the retelling of a myth that encases it.
The city of Siena is depicted by the recounting of the fable of a ghost river that has been searched for by the Sienese for centuries. Volterra is presented via the story of the process of Elena da Travale, who had been tried for witchcraft in the 15th century. In the episode about Borgo a Mozzano the viewer learns about the spooky tale behind the famous Devil’s bridge, and in Sovana he/she gets introduced to the myth of the Etruscan golden carriage.
Pantaleone A. Megna explains why they decided to use this unusual approach: “We wanted to covey the mentality and the beliefs of the pastime. We tried to imagine the populace that curiously looked at these impenetrable walls of the castles and daydreamed of their lives within them.”
The project is wonderfully completed with sketch drawings done by Caterina Baldi, a young artist from Pesara and the musical score is composed by Patrizia Barrilà.
Mystery Tuscany is available on DVD, and accompanied by a book and ships worldwide from http://www.mysterytuscany.com/
On the same website you can view the single episodes in streaming and is also available as an iPhone application at Apple’s App Store.