Procida. The Island, the Sea, and Death
45 min.

WDR/3sat 2008
Digibeta, Stereo, 16:9, German and Italian versions
Krzysztof Hampel, Gottfried Betz
Editor: Astrid Skornia
Producers: Angelika Wagner, Reinhard Wulf

Procida, the smallest and most pristine island in the Gulf of Naples, is an archaic place full of magic and religiosity. The church of San Michele, Procida's patron saint, mirrors the island's history since the Middle Ages. In times of war or earthquakes islanders would gather in underground chapels for prayers. Rituals for the dead were a central part of cultural life here, and even though these rituals have changed, they still retain their meaning: a farewell to and a commemoration of the deceased.

Every Tuesday excavations take place on the cemetery. The unearthed bodies are cleaned, put into zinc urns and finally entombed in family niches. And one of Procida's annual highlights is shown in this documentary as well: the procession celebrating patron saint San Michele on his name day. Facing death undauntedly, accepting it as an essential part of life is faith coming alive for the islanders of Procida.

Interview in italian, > PDF

Further reading
Elsa Morante: Arturos Insel
Wagenbachs Taschenbuch 514, 2005
ISBN 3 8031 2514 6