The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio (L'Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio)
- The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio (L'Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio)
- Director: Agostino Ferrente
- Year: 2006
The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio (L'Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio in Italian) is the story of the orchestra assembled from Rome's immigrant population by musician Mario Tronco and film-maker Augustino Ferrente. The story starts at the beginning of the decade, with an attempt to save a local theatre in the Piazza Vittorio area of Rome, and ends a couple of years later with the orchestra's first concert.
The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio was assembled from the immigrant population of Rome and, more specifically, the area surrounding Piazza Vittorio and the Esquilino. This area has a particularly high immigrant population, including what is becoming Rome's Chinatown district.
Since the events depicted in the film, the Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio have gone on to perform hundreds of concerts and to release two albums.
As one of the organisers of the orchestra, Augustino Ferrente was present from the very beginning of the process, from the first discussions of the possibility of starting an orchestra. As a result, the film is able to capture the entire process, from the early days of neighbourhood group Apollo 11's attempts to save the Apollo theatre from being converted into a Bingo hall. The result is a wonderfully dynamic film which captures the atmosphere of the resulting orchestra far better than would have been possible in a documentary made after the event.
It's this sense of dynamism and vitality that is the key to the success of both the film and the orchestra itself. Throughout the film the preparation of the orchestra is shown to be a struggle, from the initial difficulty of assembling the musicians to the later problems of retaining them in the face of egocentricity, walk-outs, marital breakdown and visa problems. When they finally make their performance, the sense of achievement and triumph over political and personal obstacles is genuinely euphoric. The issue of immigration, and the cultural conflicts it can cause, is becoming more and more relevant. The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio reminds us of some of the potential benefits of our increasingly multicultural society. It also proves what can be achieved when you have sufficient enthusiasm and blind determination.
So far, The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio has only been released on DVD in Italy, where it comes in a set with a CD featuring music from the film and a book (in Italian). Although the film is mostly in Italian, this edition does come with optional English subtitles and is PAL multi-region. Have a look for it using the multinational search on eBay.