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28 August1955
First Holy Communion in Palermo
Giuseppe Damiata
Music & sound design by Lorenzo Valdesalici

For many, the first communion is an important moment of existence. In the memories of those who experienced it in the Sicily of the 1950s, first communion is accompanied by improvised and haphazard preparations. One does what one can. For little girls there is the little white dress and for little boys the little blue dress. These are mostly clothes previously used by other family members and relatives. Of the many relatives, friends and acquaintances who crowd the ceremony in the church, no one photographs or films it. At the end of the ceremony just the photographer called in for the occasion takes a few individual and group photos. Quite different, however, is Liuccia Cusimano's first communion, which takes place in Palermo on 28 August 1955. Liuccia is lucky compared to many of her peers, not only because her family can afford to buy her a beautiful white dress without the need to recycle one and skimp on the expenses for such an important religious and social rite, but above all because among the guests is Giuseppe Damiata with his 9.5 mm camera (and without it we would not be able to witness anything at all). He must be a close relative or a true family friend, Damiata, for the commitment and expertise he puts into this film. He even films the ceremony inside the church. Normally one does not film in a church, for fear that it will come out too dark, to be thrown away. Film costs money! But here, no means are spared and the chronicle of the memorable day is complete. And above all, the last part of the film shows a big house party where - as in other films by Damiata - the cameraman skilfully manages to parade all the participants, dozens of happy, cheerful people, in front of the camera for a collective, moving portrait, amidst dancing, food and merriment.