I’m a bit late with this report on the upcoming Cinema Ritrovato festival at Bologna, but frankly the Bolognese are all too good at hiding the information on their website (come on guys, it’s not even listed on your calendar). Anyway, the festival takes place 26 June-3 July, and as usual the festival’s “memorable eight days” brings together a remarkable range of archive films from the silent and sound eras, maintaining its well-deserved reputation for catholicity, scholarship and quality presentation.
The major silent cinema elements are the traditional centenary survey of a year of cinema which has now reached 1910; the start of a retrospective of proto-auteur Albert Capellani; all of John Ford’s surviving silents; and cross-linking with the Women and Silent Screen conference, also taking place in Bologna.
Here’s the welcoming blurb from the festival site:
Bologna’s eight days and nights of cinephilic paradise from June 26 to July 3 will take place in four locations: the twin screens of the Cineteca’s Lumière cinema, one dedicated to silent cinema (which will feature images of life from exactly 100 years ago) and the other to sound, showcasing, for example, little known films of Italy as it was during the period 1945-48; the Arlecchino cinema, a haven for films requiring the size of a larger screen; and of course Piazza Maggiore, which will host splendid restorations like Visconti’s Il Gattopardo brought by the Film Foundation, or the new complete version of Lang’s Metropolis, for whom we can thank the Murnau Stiftung and Stiftung Deutsches Kinemathek, with the original score by Gottfried Huppertz, performed by the Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna conducted by Frank Strobel. What a wonderful surprise it will be to rediscover the films that started it all – the first actuality films, street views, masterpieces by the Lumière brothers bristling with their newly restored beauty thanks to the Institut Lumière in Lyon.
Year 1910 of our history of cinema, compiled year after year film by film, includes encounters with bright stars like Mistinguett and Stacia Napierkowska, with a debuting Francesca Bertini and Léonce Perret, and cinematic explorations of real and fictional worlds in the first feature length films. In addition to this section, Mariann Lewinsky is also curating a retrospective – destined to grow over the years – about Albert Capellani, a director who contributed enormously to the development and worldwide success of Maison Pathé, one of the first auteurs and a crucial figure for the growth of the seventh art in connection with the other arts and the pursuit of photogénie.
The largest section is dedicated to John Ford. Just like the previous retrospectives on Josef von Sternberg and Frank Capra organized by Il Cinema Ritrovato, this section will feature all of Ford’s existing silent output (about twenty films from 1917), as well as some of his first sound films, including Pilgrimage (1933), a true masterpiece. 3 Bad Men (1926) will be shown in Piazza Maggiore with a new score by Timothy Brock to be performed by the Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. Joseph McBride, the author of the brilliant biography Searching for John Ford, will curate a special dossier on the director, and several great historians, friends of Il Cinema Ritrovato, will make their contribution as well.
Another important name in American cinema and festival protagonist, Stanley Donen, will be our guest this year, more than sixty years after his debut with On the Town and more than fifty years after the golden age of musical ended – after which Donen continued his career beautifully with his personal brand of elegant comedy (Charade, 1963, and Two for the Road, 1967). And of course the best known and loved of them all, Singin’ in the Rain (1952), will be shown in Piazza Maggiore.
Anni difficili, “Difficult years”, is the title of a section dedicated to Italian cinema from 1945-48: an intense, crucial (and yet largely unknown) period, full of incredible conflicts and uncertain victories – a time when two world systems were fighting over the soul and the economy of the country. The showing of films like Roma città libera (Marcello Pagliero, 1946), Il sole sorge ancora (Aldo Vergano, 1946) and Caccia tragica (Giuseppe De Santis, 1947) will be complemented by films made in other European countries at the time: They Made Me a Fugitive (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1947), Retour à la vie (Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jean Dréville, Georges Lampin, André Cayatte, 1949), Iris och löjtnantshjärta (Alf Sjöberg, 1946) and In jenen Tagen (Helmut Käutner, 1947).
As for the film world surrounding Chaplin, this year the spotlight is on Robert Florey, an eclectic, talented Frenchman in Hollywood who was the assistant director of Monsieur Verdoux. Though the larger part of his work was routine, Florey created films that were incredible for their experimental audacity and their "tender madness" much loved by Luis Buñuel: The Life and Death of 9413 – A Hollywood Extra (1928), a film version of Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) and The Beast with Five Fingers (1946).
The festival would not be the same without restorations of films left to the ravages of time sponsored by the World Cinema Foundation. Among the most anticipated a Fondation Pathé Archives restoration, Boudu sauvé des Eaux (Jean Renoir, 1932).
Just like at past editions, this year several “dossiers” will unearth rare or unseen materials relating to some of the greatest filmmakers: Fellini, Godard and Pasolini, letting viewers discover a whole world in the brief space of an hour.
The festival will be accompanied by a large exhibition about Fellini, Fellini. Dall’Italia alla luna, curated by Sam Stourdzé and promoted by the Cineteca and MAMbo-Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. The exhibition will be on display in the museum until July, 25. The exhibition is a larger version of last year’s show in Paris. Drawings, posters, period illustrated magazines, scene and set images all make for a seductive journey through popular images and the filmmaker’s creative workshop.
Il Cinema Ritrovato’s program takes place this year after the international conference Women and the Silent Screen, now in its sixth year. Sponsored by Women and Film History International and organized by the Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo-Università di Bologna and the Cineteca di Bologna, the conference will be held from Thursday, June, 24 to Saturday, June 26, and will feature about one hundred lectures (in English) on different issues about women and silent film (see wss2010.wfhi.org). Our festival has always dedicated energy and time to presenting the feminine creative forces in silent film, with sections on divas and comedy actresses. This year we have started a new chapter about women in complicated stories of crime, revenge and espionage, introducing viewers to the powerful Astrea, charming Josette Andriot and beautiful Berta Nelson.
The festival also sponsors the Film Publishing Fair (Books, DVDs, Antiquarian and Vintage Materials) and Il Cinema Ritrovato DVD Award (7th edition). We would like to remind you that Il Cinema Ritrovato will host two seminars: the continuation of the Film Restoration Summer School / FIAF Summer School 2010 (deadline for submitting application is postponed to April 23rd) co-organized with the FIAF and ACE and with the support of the Media Plus Programme, and a workshop for European quality cinema exhibitors organized by Europa Cinemas and Progetto Schermi e Lavagne. Enrollment in each seminar requires separate registration, available on the website indicated below.
You are most cordially welcomed to the most memorable eight days of 2010.
Further information on the festival is on the site, in Italian, though there is no day-by-day programme (that I can find). Also worth seeking out on the site is a list of every film featured at the festival 1986-2009 (in Excel spreadsheet form) giving title, date, country and director, plus PDFs of festival publications and its DVD award winners 2004-2009. All wonderful stuff – once you can find it.