Special Film Screening – Wednesday 23rd

Department of Anthropology

The Melodies Hunter

Year: 2023
Length: 40 minutes
Director: Dante Olianas
Editor: Reda Mahmoud
Filmmakers: Paolo Sanna and Reda Mahmoud
Producer: Iscandula 

Launeddas is a 3,000 years’ old Sardinian triple pipe, blown with the technique of circular breathing. After World War II it was at risk of extinction. In the winter of 1957, a Danish student of anthropology, Andreas Fridolin Weis Bentzon, on board of a Nimbus motorbike, crossed Europe to reach Sardinia ,where he invested all his physical and cultural energies to save launeddas’ repertoire and create the renaissance of the instrument. 

The presentation of the film will be introduced by some tunes of launeddas music played live by one of the most prominent young players: Michele Deiana.

Dante Olianas

Dante Olianas was born in Sardinia in 1952.

After his studies at the University of Cagliari, he discovers the work on launeddas written by Andreas Fridolin Weis Bentzon as his doctorate thesis in anthropology at the University of Copenhagen.

Considering that the work written by the Dane had never been published in Italian, Dante starts translating it and. Following the suggestions of the Sardinian writer Maria Giacobbe, applies and obtains two scholarships from the Danish Ministry of Education. In this way, in 1981-82, he gains access to an incredible amount of material: sound recordings, rushes, pictures, ethnographic items, field notes etc. left by Bentzon in major Danish Institutions, The Danish Folklore Archives, The National Museum, The Royal Library and The Music Museum, as well as in private collections.

To give visibility to this rare treasure and to be able to obtain public support, Dante founds the Cultural Association Iscandula in 1985. The association, out of Bentzon’s materials, has until today published 8 books, 3 documentary films, CDs etc.

Over the years, Iscandula has become the reference point for most of Bentzon’s informants, his heirs and his friends.

Among the films produced by Dante Olianas are:

Aurelio The Great Maestro of Launeddas (also known as “La musica è quattro”), By R. Schweizer and D. Olianas, the prize “Goose Fat” at the “Sandbjerg Film Festival”, Denmark, 1992. In the same year, the film won the second prize at the Göttingen International Ethnographic Filmfestival (GIEF), Germany;

The Launeddas, The Music of Sardinia, by F. Serra F. W. Bentzon, first prize at the Maremma Film Festival (Italy) in 1998;

I Wish You’ll Never Die, by Dante Olianas;

Nodas. Launeddas at the Time of Crisis, third prize at the Marseille International Film Festival.

The film “The Melodies Hunter” is Dante’s latest work. It is entirely dedicated to the life and work of the Danish anthropologist Andreas Fridolin Weis Bentzon (Gentofte 1936 – 1971). Following Dante’s presentation, the incredible adventure of the Danish anthropologist has been reconstructed through a series of interviews with his relatives, his colleagues, his informants and, following Bentzon’s way of filming, also some fiction elaborations which try to reconstruct some moments of his experiences in Sardinia.