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Voyage to Narragonia

A motley yet vigorous international theater troupe steams around preaching peace, love and individualism in "Voyage to Narragonia." Though enterprise oozes altruism, raucous nature of proceedings grows wearisome, rendering pic of greatest interest to fests, charity orgs and cablers.

A motley yet vigorous international theater troupe steams around preaching peace, love and individualism in “Voyage to Narragonia.” Though enterprise oozes altruism, raucous nature of proceedings grows wearisome, rendering pic of greatest interest to fests, charity orgs and cablers.

Dubbed the “Ship of Fools” after German humanist Sebastian Brant’s 1494 poem about a mysterious boat full of mad pariahs (Katherine Ann Porter’s 1962 novel updated this concept to the eve of World War II), a 1916 vintage Dutch fishing vessel has been refitted to accommodate nine energetic performers of varying nationalities. Helmer German Berger Hertz’ first feature-length docu profiles thesps, trailing them through Mallorca, Portugal, France, Barcelona and various other ports of call from 1998 to 2000. Under the aegis of the Amsterdam-based Azart collective, performances are coordinated, taped and broadcast to further what their Web site calls “essence of European Renaissance thinking: The fool is king.” As with their theater, details of the tours are probably best experienced in short doses. Tech package is agreeably scruffy. Title destination is the legendary, fictitious land of fools toward which the ship was headed, a utopia as elusive as it is appealing.

Voyage to Narragonia

Spain

Production: A Center of Cinematographic Studies of Catalonia, Group Cinema Art production, in co-production with ABS Prods. (International sales: Golden Media Films, Barcelona.) Produced by Alejandro Arrate. Directed, written by German Berger Hertz.

Crew: Camera (color), Oriol Bosch, Paco Toledo, Jose Gonzalez; editors, Marc Capdevila, Andrea Chignoli; music, Ricardo Santander. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (competing), July 10, 2003. Running time: 83 MIN.

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