N-Capace is a poetic and personal documentary in which the director, Eleonora Danco, follows, interviews and casts a curious eye at the residents of her seaside hometown, Terracina.The unique film dismisses a conventional structure, perhaps finding greater verisimilitude in its meandering path, as we meet a diverse set of characters along the way, including Danco’s father.
Though the documentary is often whimsical and surreal, it is underpinned by a persistent sense of melancholy and nostalgia, as Danco discusses life’s biggest questions and remembers her late mother, aside from more playful conversations: ‘Miracles are performed by the living, by you helping me to my feet’. The comic moments arise because of Danco’s use of juxtaposition and calmly-paced editing. She extends shots of strange, contrived tableux to unexpected lengths, resulting in Fellini-like moments — her father dons a spacesuit indoors; Danco lets loose with a pickaxe to a public pavement; teenage boys and girls dance in a circle in shorts and bikinis, before discussing love and sex to camera. The film is consistently intriguing as a result.
Many documentaries devote themselves to their subject, often removing the film-maker’s own personality from the final product in a bid to tell a clear, truthful story. This is not the case with N-Capace; it is a story, and a series of images, that only Danco could create, due to its personal setting, close-to-home characters, and a style of direction that could best be described as cinematic expressionism.