Tarantella | 1996
An ambitious young Italian-American photographer returns to her childhood home after her mother's death and finds herself face-to-face with her own history of contradictory family and social identities. The Tarantella, a traditional dance popularly thought to be a remedy for the supposed poisonous bite of the tarantula and the warding off of evil spirits, serves as a metaphor for Diana's personal struggles to overcome her Italian past and to assimilate into American melting-pot culture. The story unfolds when Diana finds a big bound book belonging to her mother that includes recipes, a journal and a story handwritten in Italian, a language Diana no longer remembers. Her mother's best friend, Pina, translates the story which is beautifully and innovatively recreated through the use of traditional Italian puppetry.