The Genius of a Place by Sarah Marder is available on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. and U.K. and it’s free if you have Amazon Prime!
THE GENIUS OF A PLACE tells the story of Cortona, a tiny Tuscan town catapulted to notoriety by being the backdrop for book then movie, “Under the Tuscan Sun”. The resulting fame accelerated the sleepy town’s pace of change, upsetting its age-old equilibrium on many different fronts. During the four years of filming this documentary, the crew captured Cortona’s citizenry as it began to ponder the hidden costs that had come bundled together with the town’s economic boom. While residents welcome this new-found prosperity in many ways, they also see that its flip side is jeopardizing what has long made Cortona unique, beautiful, livable and sustainable.
When Sarah Marder first started going to Cortona in the 1980s, she fell in love with a place and a time. At this point in her life she was a young single woman travelling around Europe, and was delighted to find such a beautiful place, so totally off the beaten track and seemingly so lost in time. Since then, Sarah has since spent over 30 years observing Cortona and went on to make a documentary about it, The Genius of a Place. The title is an echo of words written by the 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope: “Consult the genius of a place in all.” To capture changes in the community over time, the documentary was filmed intermittently over four years with Mattia Amadori, Andrea Corti and Max de Ponti from OLO Creative Farm, a film production team from Como. It’s Sarah’s first film, and has been shown in venues all over Italy.