April 2, 2007 - Special Information by IL Cinema Ritrovato
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Saturday June 30th – Saturday 7th July 2007
Bologna, Italy

Il Cinema Ritrovato, the festival promoted by the Mostra Internazionale del Cinema Libero and the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna, invites film-lovers from around the world to Bologna, from Saturday June 30th through Saturday July 7th, 2007.

The 21st edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato, a festival providing an array of unknown, little-known, rediscovered, and restored films, gathers in a single week several of the latest international restorations from some of the world’s most creative archives, thus providing fertile ground for discussion among eminent film historians, specialists, and archivists, as well as showcasing the most up-to-date, advanced restoration techniques. This year’s festival features an impressive collection of rediscoveries focusing on various themes, personalities (stars like Chaplin and Nielsen, and directors Curtiz, Guitry, and Matarazzo), and genres (melodramas and Westerns). They range from the earliest days of cinema (a special series on 1907) to the present, with many fragile beauties in between, such as our “specialty” by now, large-format films (thanks to a beautiful Bologna cinema from that period, the Arlecchino). Today original CinemaScope prints are sadly already becoming inaccessible in their original “size”, and are in danger of disappearing forever. So seize the opportunity to see them now!

The two guardian angels of this year’s festival rank among the greatest actors of early cinema – or, many would argue, all cinema: Charles Chaplin and Asta Nielsen.

Chaplin – whose work is being restored in Bologna – has long been a guardian angel of our festival. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Chaplin’s death and the Cineteca di Bologna is paying a five month homage to him with a monumental exhibition, seven concerts and an entire retrospective dedicated to him which is culminating in the festival week with some brand new treasures for all cinephiles’ palates. We are presenting the last of the recently restored Keystone prints of the Chaplin legacy – as well as a showing of A Countess from Hong Kong, a much maligned film, but a masterpiece in our eyes. Our aim is to highlight the essence of various periods of the Chaplin oeuvre, presented by the finest international specialists, starting with David Robinson and Kevin Brownlow (whose Unknown Chaplin, arguably the best “director at work” portrait ever, will be shown in optimal theatrical conditions); and three evenings with the Teatro Comunale Orchestra, who will accompany The Kid, The Gold Rush (the rare original silent version), and, to top it all, Modern Times, which when seen “live” becomes simply the most overwhelming art object of the 20th century.

The Asta Nielsen retrospective, curated by Karola Gramann, is the missing link in our series dedicated to the handful of unique silent stars, launched with Garbo in 1997. One of the first international stars, Nielsen, whom Henri Langlois poetically described as “the daughter of Baudelaire” and “the Sarah Bernhardt of the North”, excelled in every genre, from melodrama and tragedy to comedy and farce, always with equal ease and depth, resonating with sex, violence, and moral rebellion. Among the highlights are a newly restored colour print of Zapatas Bande, and a new restoration of Hamlet.

The earliest material in this year’s festival comes from exactly 100 years ago, 1907. This marks the fifth collection in a series started in 2003, again curated by Mariann Lewinsky.

This edition’s director retrospectives are dedicated to three fascinating artists, all of whom were underestimated at some point, and who have since all triumphed in the pages of film history: Michael Curtiz, Sacha Guitry, and Raffaello Matarazzo.

Michael Curtiz’s American silents are surprisingly more neglected than his existing European ones. We’ll see the rare The Third Degree, and the restoration of Noah’s Ark. The pinnacle of Curtiz’s early achievements in sound cinema will follow, including rarities like the melodrama The Strange Love of Molly Louvain, The Case of the Curious Bride, Jimmy the Gent (which represents the brilliant, fast-paced Warner Brothers style at its best), and perhaps most surprisingly, The Cabin in the Cotton, one of the few films of that era able to portray a truly uncompromising and tough vision of life.

Faisons un rêve and Bonne chance exemplify the terrific level that Sacha Guitry, who started his film career at 50, achieved from the beginning; Le Comédien and La Malibran are rare birds from the midst of the conflicts of the 1940s; and from Guitry’s last period, best known for historical spectacles, we’ll see the complex, ironic La vie d’un honnête homme (1953), a masterpiece carried to dazzling heights by the superb acting of Michel Simon, here in a double role, two for the price of one! This section will be curated by Sandra Marti and Eric Le Roy, in collaboration with the Archives Françaises du Film.

The films of Raffaello Matarazzo, little known to foreign viewers (except for a noble handful of the French), garnered giant audiences at the time when neo-realism had just run its course, and yet were its equal, profoundly original in their understanding of the mysterious mechanisms of society and its emotions. We’ll begin with his very first film (also the first work of Nino Rota), the delicious Treno popolare (1933), and proceed to the golden period when melodrama became, in the hands of Matarazzo, a burning and passionately original vision, exemplified by the amazing series of films featuring Amadeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson in the leading roles. They made seven films together, with titles like Catene, Tormento, and I figli di nessuno. Fans of Vertigo – forever in search of predecessors – will find deep identification in his late masterpiece, L’angelo bianco (1955)...

A beautiful international melodrama cavalcade of the 1940-50s will accompany the films of Matarazzo, starting with a master at the height of his creative life – Frank Borzage and I’ve Always Loved You – and two equally obvious contemporaries, Gainsborough melodrama from Britain (The Man in Grey) and Mexican melodrama (Emilio Fernandez’s Enamorada). The other films in this strand are no lesser events: Jean Grémillon’s L’étrange Mme X; Hasse Ekman’s Girl with Hyacinths (a masterpiece which is the nearest Swedish cinema ever came to Citizen Kane) and Cross of Love, a version of Pushkin’s Postmaster, directed by a wild talent from Finland, Teuvo Tulio.

Our annual rollercoaster ride with CinemaScope, set in the marvellous auditorium of the Arlecchino, will bring us some of the most sought-after films in this format, by directors such as Richard Fleischer (Violent Saturday), Nicholas Ray (Party Girl), Douglas Sirk (Battle Hymn), Samuel Fuller (China Gate), Otto Preminger (The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell), and Richard Brooks (The Last Hunt) – as well as two glorious examples of rare magnetic-stereo prints from Fox: Warlock, a complex Western by Edward Dmytryk, and Elvis seen through Siegel’s eyes, in Flaming Star.

The last two films mentioned above are Westerns, as is Brooks’ grim masterpiece – all elements in another theme, which also includes Way Out West, arguably the greatest Laurel and Hardy feature, now restored. Similarly, Sergio Leone’s Per qualche dollaro in più is the key event in the history of the italowestern, or “Spaghetti Western”.

The list of recovered and restored films is one of the finest ever, easily matching anything to be found on offer at any of the year’s major festivals... Great names of silent cinema: Lubitsch (Als Ich Tot War, 1916), Von Stroheim (Austria’s restoration of Blind Husbands, 1919), De Mille (Dynamite, 1929), Stiller (Madame de Thèbes, 1915). More exciting silents: from Germany, Schatten der Weltstadt (Willi Wolff, 1925); a Polish find, A Strong Man (Henryk Szaro, 1929); and the most amazing discovery of all, a Swedish film called The Spring of Life (Paul Garbagni, 1912), with the holy trio of Sjöström, Stiller, and af Klercker as actors! From Italy we will have L’Odissea (Bertolini-Padovan, 1911), Maciste imperatore (Guido Brignone, 1924), and the beginning of the Ghione Project.

The sound restorations will allow us to see some key films in a version and condition not witnessed for decades, or perhaps ever: Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick, 1964), Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger, 1959), and perhaps the greatest film of John Cassavetes, Faces (1966). Plus a couple of poignant films: Frank Borzage’s No Greater Glory (1934), and The Strange One (1957), Jack Garfein’s first film, and a dazzling breakthrough for Ben Gazzara.

The festival organises also the Film Publishing Fair (Books, DVDs, Antiquarian and Vintage Materials) and Il Cinema Ritrovato DVD Award (4th edition).

We would like to remind you that some events of the Cinema Ritrovato will be part of the learning path of the Film Restoration Summer School / FIAF Summer School 2007, which will take place in Bologna during the entire month of July. Il Cinema Ritrovato was born as the film archives festival. We are extremely happy and proud to support the film archives of the future, by contributing to the training of tomorrow’s film restorers.

A final, sentimental note concerning our evenings at the Piazza Maggiore, which is at its best when 5,000 citizens of Bologna gather to witness the highlights of the festival.

We look forward to seeing you all in Bologna!

Artistic Director
Peter von Bagh

Gian Paolo Testa


Cineteca del Comune di Bologna and Mostra Internazionale del Cinema Libero
Via Riva di Reno 72 - 40122 Bologna – Italia - Fax: + 39 051 219 48 21
Hospitality office and general information: Lucia Principe
Direct line: + 39 051 219 48 14 –
Festival coordinator: Guy Borlée
Direct line: + 39 051 219 48 13 –
Press office: Patrizia Minghetti
Direct line: + 39 051 219 48 31 – cinetecaufficiostampa