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02 September1976
Close encounters in Apulia
Famiglia Ranza
Music by Corrado Nuccini & Indian Wells 4Visions - Eplorazioni sonore

It is a beautiful, full-colour tourist home movie about the historical and archaeological beauties of Apulia that Stefano Ranza, travelling in early September with his wife and children, is making, but in jest we could emphasise how fascinating, mysterious and, to exaggerate, science-fiction this film looks. Ranza's five children, all very blond and dressed alike in red-and-white horizontal striped jumpers, might look to us like little explorers from another planet in search of traces of vanished civilisations. Perhaps as a joke we might believe them (or the children themselves might believe them if we told them). The film opens with the head of Minerva in the San Leucio archaeological park. Who will this goddess of reason be? And whose skeleton will be the one that so intrigues our little explorers? In the end, the human being is reduced to a neatly reassembled pile of bones; this phenomenon must be studied. A visit to Apulia cannot fail to include an encounter with that octagonal spaceship that landed in the middle of nowhere so long ago, which history books identify as the Castel del Monte of Frederick II of Swabia. Raise your hand if looking at a picture of it in school books you have never fantasised about that building that seems to have come from outer space. It may be a coincidence but these are years in which many people in Italy are convinced of having had close encounters of the third kind, there will be someone in Puglia who will claim to have spotted the Ranza wandering among the ruins and monuments, mistaking them for Martians. There is an explanation for the strange phenomenon, however: once again Stefano Ranza with his camera arrives before Lucas and Spielberg.