Vasa Vasa

In the town of Modica, in Sicily, the Easter celebrations unfold from the perspective of the Madonna who was a helpless bystander at her Son’s Passion. A series of visual exchanges, tears and prayers. The ritual of the clothing of the Madonna takes place, hidden from public view, in the darkened church and conveys an ultimate sense of bereavement. The opening and removal of the black cloak symbolises the return of life’s emotions from the shadow of Death as Mary bestows a kiss on her Risen Son. Twelve minutes of intense suffering, keening and devotion. Twelve recalls the twelfth hour in which Mary witnessed her Son’s triumph over darkness. So then she abandons her cloak of mourning to greet the gathered crowds of the faithful robed in brilliant blue.

“Holy Week, in those places once under Spanish dominion, holds a special fascination for writers, photographers and film directors. In Sicily, the liturgy reveals a mixture of influences deriving from Greek, Spanish and Arabian culture. The Vasa Vasa ritual of the Madonna as it unfolds in Modica dates back to at least 1645. On the day in which Catholicism celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, the townspeople of Modica gather in the main square at midday to witness the removal of the black mantle of mourning from the Madonna as she greets the Risen Christ. With an intimate and moving gesture, Mary the Mother kisses and blesses her Son and assumes the role of mother of all those pressing around the benediction ceremony.

The documentary begins with the ritual clothing of the statue of the Madonna, a devotional moment from which the public is excluded. It was my desire to communicate the sense of mystery. Alone, in the darkened church with the figure of the Madonna while a storm was raging outside, I experienced a feeling of emptiness, of absence, of bereavement. Mary is a woman who has lost her Son. At that point, the simple piety of an elderly woman, Maria Bonomo, intoning a dirge in Sicilian dialect telling of lamentation, sorrow, tears and Love, the wonderful music of Marco Cascone and the incredibly moving performance of Yasemin Sannino came to my assistance.

The Feast of Easter corresponds with the arrival of Spring. Nature and Tradition are united in reminding us that what is destined to die can be reborn, that an end can have a new beginning.

Easter Sunday is the day on which everything can start afresh because anything may happen. Even the dawn of a new life”.

Alessia Scarso

A Rosary of looks and tears to tell my Vasa Vasa

La Sicilia

October 21, 2020

Scarso and Budassi win Percorti Alternativi

Gazzetta del Sud

September 20, 2017

Vasa Vasa the kiss that releases joy


April 15, 2017

The secrets of ancient devotion in the new film by Alessia Scarso

La Sicilia

March 31, 2017

Action, let’s pray

La Sicilia

March 31, 2017
title Vasa Vasa
year 2017
duration 12 minuti
country Italia
production Arà  Film
distribution Arà  Film
language Italiano, siciliano
shooting format 4K
screening formats DCP 2K
sound 5.1 + stereo
genre corto documentario
director Alessia Scarso
original score Marco Cascone
singer Yasemin Sannino
editing Alessia Scarso
art direction Maria Rosa Carpinteri
camera operators Alessia Scarso, Gianluca Tela, Vito D’Agostino, Gregorio Fisichella
organization Bianca Spadaro
sound editing Riccardo Landi
sound mixing Andrea Malavasi
post production supervisor Antonella Esposito
Italian Film Festival USA Detroit, Cleveland (USA)
Modica e i Corti Modica (RG, ITALIA)
Festival Internazionale del Cinema di Frontiera Marzamemi (SR, ITALIA)
Premio Cerere
Valguarnera (EN, ITALIA)
Per Corti Alternativi
Villafranca Tirrena (ME, ITALIA)
Verga Film Fest Vizzini (CT, ITALIA)
Corti in Cortile Catania (ITALIA)
Adrano Cinema Doc (Adrano, CT, ITALIA)
Castelbuono Cinema Doc (Castelbuono, PA, ITALIA)
Troina Cinema Doc (Troina, EN, ITALIA)
Capizzi Cinema Doc (Capizzi, ME, ITALIA)
39° Festival Internazionale Cinema e Donne (Firenze, ITALIA)
BangkokThai International Film Festival (Bangkok, THAILANDIA)
Johannesburg Cinema Doc (Johannesburg, SUDAFRICA)
AFC Global Fest (Kolkata, INDIA)
Popoli e Religioni Terni Film Festival
(Terni, ITALIA)
Regional Meeting FIDAPA BPW Italy (Ragusa, ITALIA)
International Roma FilmCorto Fest (Roma, ITALIA)
X Rassegna del Documentario e della Comunicazione Archeologica (Licodia Eubea, ITALIA)
XXVIII International Festival of Ethnological Film (Belgrado, SERBIA)
Festival of Nations (Lenzing, AUSTRIA)
Festival Althedame
(Lozzo Atestino, PD, ITALIA)
Firenze Archeofilm (Firenze, ITALIA)
Sacrae Scene – Ardesio Film Festival (Ardesio, BG, ITALIA)
Corte dei Corti Film Festival (Acqui Terme, AL, ITALIA)