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The Arts Voyager, 9-7: Send in the Clowns
Running away with the circus with Covi & Frimmel

Walter Saabel and Asia Crippa in "La Pivellina," a film by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, and a First Run Features release..

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011 Paul Ben-Itzak

NEW YORK -- Where is the line between documentary and fiction? In film, even documentaries involve story-telling. And fiction should have at least a kernel of truth in order to resonate. Two films by the same directors on view this week at Anthology Film Archives, the New York theatrical premiere of Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel's fictional "La Pivellina (Little Girl)," showing through tonight (with the film-makers presenting it), and their documentary "Babooska," running through Sunday (ditto), offer the unique opportunity to examine the question through the lens of directors whose fiction looks and feels like a documentary and whose documentary could just as well be cinema verite. Both offer the opportunity to run away with the circus and tour rural, coastal, and suburban Italy as seen through the lives of nomadic performers living on the edge, their grip on financial survival as tenuous as a tight-rope walker's on terra firma.

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