Heaven Touches Brooklyn in July

One of the most enduring Italian folk traditions in America is the 110-year-old “Dance of the Giglio” celebration.

PBS Plus Presentation
Premiere Date
October 1, 2002
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call

Tony DeNonno

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The Film

Imagine 125 men carrying a five-ton, five-story, hand-sculpted tower and a 12-piece brass band — on their shoulders — dancing them through their neighborhood in tempo to joyous Italian folk songs! For 300 years in Italy, and the past century in communities throughout the greater New York area, this glorious ritual known as “The Dance of Giglio” has been celebrated each summer with unbridled passion and devotion. This annual 65-foot-high moving monument to faith, folk-art, and family honors a Roman Catholic Saint Paolino and his heroic act of sacrifice in the ancient Italian city of Nola in the year 409 A.D.

Eighteen years in the making and lovingly edited from more than 140O hours of footage, Heaven Touches Brooklyn in July is narrated by world-renowned actors John Turturro (Barton Fink, Illuminata) and Michael Badalucco (Emmy Award-winning star of ABC’s The Practice).