Unearthed celluloid clips of Sardinia’s past stir the creative juices of a group of local musicians, who jam as the images unspool, in documentary “Passages of Time.” This engaging depiction of how the multimedia project unfolded — by its creator, indigenous musicologist and helmer Gianfranco Cabiddu — interweaves the isle’s ancestral legacy with a fresh contempo vibe. Resonance with world-music aficionados is assured, making docu ideal for festivals, specialized tube slots and homevid.
The discovery in Italy’s Istituto Luce archives of mostly Fascist-era, B&W footage of peasants, miners, religious rites and wild horse races, initially prompted plans by Cabiddu for a regular docu, to be scored by Sardinian jazz trumpeter Paolo Fresu. However, struck by the material’s energy, Cabiddu and Fresu instead recruited an ensemble of local performers — including Luigi Lai, master player of the 2,000-year-old triple pipe known as launeddas — to come up with a sort of Sardinian symphony, combining music with images and aiming to transcend the heavy hand of tradition. Docu reflects this spirit, splicing together old and new, as with a rural, single-car train shown in past and present (graffiti-strewn) states. Tech aspects are serviceable.