Massimo Terzano

Prod.: Fert Film – Fiori Enrico Roma Torino. DCP. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The reconstruction and restoration of Dall’Italia all’Equador reveal a dynamic and engaging documentary by one of the greatest directors of photography of Italian cinema, Massimo Terzano. Active for three decades, from the 1920s to 1940s, Terzano demonstrates solid technical mastery as a director/cameraman in this 1924 film.

The long journey of the title begins in Genoa, where the crew boards on a passenger ship travelling between Italy and Ecuador. We can see the filmmaker’s skilful photographic sensitivity in the documentary’s evocative imagery, from the city landscapes of Europe and Central America to the splendid mountain views in the Andes. A long sequence is dedicated to the train that climbs the steep rock walls of the Andes along the Guayaquil-Quito railway line. The route was considered the most difficult in the world since the American engineers responsible for its construction plotted a tortuous course, imposing significant management costs.

It would be dismissive, however, to define Dall’Italia all’Equador a mere medley of images and views, albeit evocative ones. Terzano captures people in a fascinating way, for example, showing the cross-section of society aboard the ocean liner, with the differences between first and third class, and the documentation of the different customs and traditions of the populations, described with ethnographic interest. In the film’s finale, Terzano records Major De Giorgis, head of the first Italian military mission in Ecuador, and his ascent of the active volcano Tungurahua.

The film was restored in 2K using six reels of a nitrate camera negative, subdivided in dozens of small, disconnected rolls with quick intertitles. Reconstructing the film was like piecing together a puzzle, and the final edit includes 86 cuts. The material underwent digital colour reconstruction, using other Pittaluga Fert travel documentaries as a reference.

Frida Bonatti


Copy From

Restored in 2020 by Cineteca Italiana at Miclab laboratory, from 40 reels of nitrate camera negative with flash intertitles.
Music composed and recorded by Francesca Badalini, performed by Francesca Badalini (piano, guitars), Annagrazia Anzelmo (three-piece whistle, recorder, South-American flutes) and Emanuele Manolo Cedrone (percussions).