A Little Monastery in Tuscany
With a fine sense of detail, filmmaker Otar Iossiliani (originally from Georgia but now living in France) observes the daily lives of five Augustinian monks in a small monastery in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, not far from Siena in Tuscany. Without commentary, his gaze focuses on the monks’ daily lives, and those of the inhabitants of the surrounding countryside and the residents of the nearby town of Montalcino. A relationship is depicted between these very different worlds, particularly through the way the sound is edited. The monastery is characterized by peace and quiet and the regularity of monastic life, with song and prayers in the chapel punctuating the prominent silence. In the countryside, the people work, make wine and drink in the café. We also see the contrast between poor villagers and the rich, who parade around Montalcino in fur coats at Christmastime and enjoy a sumptuous meal. The contrast between the old traditions and the inescapable modern era becomes almost palpable.
Otar Iosseliani, Marie-Agnès Blum, Annie Chevallay