Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy

Directed by Roman Paska (USA)



20 May at 7pm (Mon)


Portuguese Premiere


Documentary, Italy, 2009, 77 min.

With the presence of Roman Paska


"I don't think a people can exist without a memory of its traditions." - John Turturro


In Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy (Prove per una tragedia siciliana), actor John Turturro takes audiences on a haunting, intimate journey to his maternal homeland of Sicily. There, while exploring the island's vanishing traditions, he is taken under the wing of one of the puppet theater's few remaining practitioners, Mimmo Cuticchio, who instructs him in the distinctively Sicilian art of puppetry.


Filmed during preparations for the Sicilian Day of the Dead, this evocative, magical-realist documentary was directed by Turturro's longtime collaborator, Roman Paska, himself a world-renowned puppeteer. Both an homage to the art of storytelling and a portrait of a Sicily little known to the outside world, Paska's film brings viewers to a seemingly otherworldly, timeless place.


"Simple, unpretentious…poignant and sincere." - Hollywood Reporter


"A rare and enchanting chance to catch an insider's glimpse of Sicily." -


"Enticing!" - Variety


"Fills the eye and stirs the heart." - Newcity


"A beautiful documentary." - La Repubblica


Roman Paska is a writer, director, filmmaker and puppeteer whose original productions, under two successive company names, Theatre for the Birds and Dead Puppet, include The End of the World, God Mother Radio, Dead Puppet Talk and Schoolboy Play, which was commissioned by Linz '09 European Capital of Culture and presented in 2010 at FIMFA Lx10, in the National Theatre. He directed August Strindberg's Dreamplay with puppets for its centennial at the Stockholm Stadsteater, and for several years was director of the Institut International de la Marionnette in France. His magical-realist documentary feature, Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy, with John Turturro, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2009, and has since been seen at the Hamptons Film Festival, Lincoln Center and BAM.




Written by: Roman Paska, John Turturro With: John Turturro, Andrea Camilleri, Mimmo Cuticchio, Donatella Finocchiaro, Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi di Lampedusa, Vincenzo Pirrotta Editors: Michael Berenbaum, Rick Derby Music: Giovanni Sollima Cinematographer: Marco Pontecorvo Art director: Donna Zakowska Producers: Giuliana Del Punta, Bruno Restuccia, John Turturro