The January Movie of the Month “Il Seme ed il Mare” is a production of the citizens of the little town of Casole d’ Elsa (population 3000), located in Tuscany, about halfway between Siena and Volterra. The film was made entirely with volunteer labor—producer, director, writer, editor, cameraman, sound technician, musicians, and actors. Even the Carabinieri and the Polizia, as well as the mayor participated. It tells the story of a retired professor, a bachelor, who one day receives a letter from a woman that he had known 60 years ago when both of them were students. He had not seen her since that time, but in the letter she invites him to visit her in Morocco, where she had moved. He decides to go, and enlists the help of an itinerant vendor(an illegal immigrant), and the local bartender, who also wants to get away on an adventure. A series of mishaps ensues, with the cops in pursuit, in their attempt to reach Africa, at first unsuccessfully by air, and then by a circuitous water route with the help of a punk hippie who is into fantasy internet games.
The movie came to our attention through a student of Camilla Presti Russell, one of the teachers of our Italian Language Program and the University of Maryland. The student, Stuart Plattner, helped to write the English subtitles in collaboration with the director, Riccardo Casamonti, who is also a local farmer. whom Stuart befriended during his vacation trips to the area. The movie is funny and despite its “no budget” nature seems almost professionally done. It is a full length feature of one hour and ten minutes. Stuart Plattner will make introductory comments. You can watch the Italian trailer by going to: http://ilsemeedilmare.wordpress.com. When the web page comes up click on “video” and you will get the trailer and also a “backstage” clip about the making of the movie.