This is a film by an independent filmmaker called "Heaven Touches Brooklyn In July." There are more pictures in the Photo Album.
The Feast Of Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel.
Imagine 125 men carrying a five-ton, five-story, hand-sculpted tower and a 12-piece brass band - on their shoulders - dancing it through their neighborhood in tempo to joyous Italian folk songs! For 300 year in Italy, and the past century in communities throughout the greater New York area, this glorious ritual known as "The Dance of Giglio" has been celebrated each summer with unbridled passion and devotion. This annual 65-foot-high moving monument to faith, folk-art and family honors a Roman Catholic Saint, San Paolino di Nola and his heroic act of sacrifice in the ancient Italian city of Nola in the year 409 A.D.
In HEAVEN TOUCHES BROOKLYN IN JULY, internationally acclaimed documentary filmmaker Tony De Nonno takes audiences on an enlightening 1,600 year-old journey. By interweaving film footage spanning in the 20th century with warm and passionate interviews of Italian American men, women and children form five to ninety-five transporting this awe-inspiring tradition into the 21st Century.
Eighteen years in the making and lovingly edited from more than 140O hours of footage, HEAVEN TOUCHES BROOKLYN IN JULY is narrated by world-renowned actors John Turturro (Barton Fink, Illuminata) and Michael Badalucco (Emmy Award-winning star of ABC's "The Practice"). It is a historic film that all the world should see -- for if you look closely at he peoples faces and each lifter's smiling soulful eyes there is no denying that they feel blessed with a sense of knowing that HEAVEN TOUCHES BROOKLYN IN JULY.
Each year, the Italian-American community of Williamsburg re-enacts a fourth-century pageant which commemorates the return of the Bishop of Nola, San Paolino (Paulinus), from captivity. He returned to Italy in a Moorish galleon ship, and once he returned, the people of Nola held lilies in their hands as a sign of homage to San Paolino.
Nowadays, the event is commemorated with a weeklong festival at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A hundred and fifty men carry a 72-foot-high tower called the Giglio (meaning "Lily," symbolizing the lily of San Paolino) that weighs four tons and supports a band playing traditional Italian folk music. Other crews carry a replica of the boat (la barca) that carried San Paolino.
The tower and the boat are both carried through the streets of Williamsburg, and the highlight of the festival happens when they come together, an event known as the “Dancing of the Giglio and Boat.” This re-enacts a century old tradition imported from Nola, Italy.
Other events of the festival include a Children’s Giglio, an Old-Timer’s Giglio Sunday, a “Brooklyn’s Best” meatball contest, an opening-night Mass and more.
We will show an independent filmmakers' story which explores the background on everything stated above.
Picture Album photos were taken by Al during his own experience of this event.