In the south of Italy, Tarentism was a set of diseases, for which a spider’s bite was considered responsible : the one of tarantula. In Salento, the “tarantated” people, cure themselves until the 50’s with a possession dance called “Pizzica” (bite), ritualized with codified movements, colors and scenography.
This documentary film weaves some links between the records of the daughter of the most emblematic musicians-healers (the maestro Stifani, shown in old documentary while he’s practicing a musical ritual) and the interventions of experts about different aspects of the phenomenon, like the bites of the impressive tarantula and the discreet black widow (whose latin name is « Latrodectus »), the ecstatic music of the tambourine and the violin, cultural meanings of Tarantism, and the possession and dissociation dynamics of the individual.
In margin an inner path is begun towards the silence, towards other identities hidden in oneself, towards some “presence to the world” and ways to face “presence crisis” that human being is confronted during life.
From the 90’s, in the same region, “modernized“ Pizzica came back for many summer concerts with more and more people full of curiosity. Far away from ancient tarantism suffering, a traditionnal and festive savor is blooming there, with this fever who seize sometimes dancers and musicians till the dawn.
The common work of a french director, went away to discover a reality of the pizzica on the spot, and of an italian anthropologist, native from the surroundings of the Salento, committed in an ethnopsychiatrical practice in Paris.