Gaumont Chrono de Poche Home Movies NO. 10-25

Giancarlo Stucky

Film Notes

If taken as a compact body of work that needs no cutting or mending, Stucky’s films remind us that memory is splintered, visionary, diaphanous and intermittent. Close your eyes for a memory. Open them. Close them again for another. Or vice versa. Stucky’s images are revelations of a memory we thought foreign but suddenly we perceive as our own. Hanging from a trembling thread that looks like it could break at any moment, seemingly fragile, exhausted and yet so precise, sharp and uplifting. Stucky’s shots are dizzyingly dense. There is no hierarchy or distinction between centre, background and contour. Each detail is an allusion, a potential spell. Even the small gesture of a hand that reaches a hat, a twisting wind, a small foot rising, a merry-go-round in the distance. You could watch them again and again, and each time you would see a new ghost, a new story to lose yourself in. Stucky’s films make us aware of the presence of the movie camera. We see it in the quick comic sketches staged here and there by the kids at home, a constant attraction to that black hole called a lens, where eyes often land with joyful or stealthy glances. Two ragged little girls sitting in front of the doorway even imitate the actions of filmmaking, that turning of the hand that seizes the cameraman’s crank, visible and invisible all at once. It’s a game of reflexes. What’s in that box? And what’s outside of it? In Stucky’s world two themes reappear constantly: children and water. We suspect they have a powerful, hidden and reciprocal force of attraction. They are pictures in motion from a time that cinema can make move in any direction. You throw yourself in as a challenge to the abyss, in a moment that stops the world and makes it explode in splatters. Some knowledge of the facts helps, of course. Giancarlo Stucky (1881-1941) was a descendant of Giovanni, the ‘mill king’, Venice’s own Scrooge Mc- Duck. In 1900, at the Paris Exposition, young Giancarlo was enchanted by the Gaumont-Demenÿ Chrono de Poche, the first amateur cinematograph (15mm with centre perforation), and he got himself one. At home he started filming scenes of family life, city views, fishermen’s boats, moments of everyday life, parties, markets, work and leisure, rich people and proletarians… Today, a little more than 70 of his lightning films, which run about 30 seconds each, survive.

Andrea Meneghelli

Girl Winding the Crank (n. 10); Ring a Ring o’ Roses on the Beach (n. 11); Girls and Chickens (n. 12); Trieste, Carriages on Riva Tre Novembre (n. 13); Bath in Tub and Candies (n. 14); Bath in Tub, One Girl Washes Another (n. 15); Canal Grande, Gondolas and Vaporetto (n. 16); The Letter (n. 17); Vacationers on the Lido (n. 18); Kites and Roller Skates (n. 19); Vegetable Shopping at the Market (n. 20); Children’s Games on the Lido (n. 21); In the Garden, a Magazine and Small Flowers (n. 22); In the Lagoon, on a Stairwell (n. 23); Scene, the Suffering Artist (n. 24); Rowboat on the Canal (n. 25)

Copy From

Restored in 4K in 2020 by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, from origina 15mm and 9,5mm prints held by Rosanna Chiggiato