The long hiss of the Tarantula

see also

official site

The long hiss of the Tarantula (Il sibilo lungo della Taranta)

original title:

Il sibilo lungo della Taranta

directed by:


Cici Cafaro, Niceta Petrachi (aka “la Simpatichina”), Cosimino Surdo, Cosimo Chiriatti, Pantaleo Bianco, Luigi Palma




BigSur, Il Varco, Provincia di Lecce, Unione dei Comuni della Grecia Salentina, Istituto Diego Carpitella, Archivio Cinema del Reale





film run:



Digi Beta Pal/DV - colour

aspect ratio:



Dolby stereo


Ready (03/04/2006)

festivals & awards:

The Salento, a sunny plain at the southernmost tip of the Italian peninsula, is renowned for the presence of a partcular type of spider which has been studied for centuries by musicologists, doctors and antropologists.
The Tarantula is both a mythical and real spider and it is a the main symbol of the culture of the Salento: this small insect bit mostly women by injecting them with poison, and which could only be neutralized by dancing to the sound of the pizzica -therapeutic music which would cure their sickness- and by going to St. Paul’s Chapel in Galatina where they would ask for grace.
The music and poetry in the film are the means by which the frontiers which separate dreams and reality are crossed: through the exploration of the Salento as a metaphor of Southern Italy, the stories of oppressed women, emigrants and farm labourers who once sang about love and labour under the burning sun, are narrated.
Their memories and narrations, their ways of singing and playing instruments encounter the musical explosion of the pizzica, which surfaces from the past, along with its symbolical connotations, and all this together becomes a festival, “La Notte della Taranta”. It is of such an allure that thousands of music lovers and tourists, infected by the overwhelming rhythm of the tambourines and the sound of a large sixty strong people’s orchestra of singers and musicians, are attracted to Melpignano, a small town in the “Greek” Salento, in August.
This amazing people’s festival has taken the place of the pain which, right up to the 70s, afflicted those people and their families who were bitten by the tarantula. Notwithstanding transformations and mutations, the pizzica still maintains its original wholesome function of release, obliging everyone to dance without rest until dawn, as if in a spectacular collective rite.
Protagonists of the movie are the old men, poets- singers- farm workers from salento, the old women singersfarm workers, the singers and musicians of the Notte della Taranta Orchestra, with the participation of Pino Zimba, all of them directed by the conductor Ambrogio Sparagna, the poetesses and poets who took part to the word and poetry-writing workshops directed by the non/conductor Giovanni Lindo Ferretti.
A collective experience feeding the music spirit of the territory and striking the continuous transformation of pop music.