Sog.: Giovanni Pastrone [Segundo de Chomón]. Scgf., F., trucchi e animazione: Segundo de Chomón. Int.: Stellina Toschi (Momi), Alberto Nepoti (padre di Momi), Enrico Gemelli (nonno di Momi), Luigi Petrungaro (Berto), Gina Marangoni (madre di Berto). Prod.: Itala Film 35mm. L.: 762 m. (incompleto, l.: orig.: 833 m). D.: 41’ a 16 f/s. Desmetcolor
After his initiation at Méliès’s lab, Segundo de Chomón (Teruel, 1871-Paris, 1929) did his apprenticeship between Spain and France, eventually becoming a special effects supervisor at Pathé and later a producer and director. His fame for his technical ability convinced Giovanni Pastrone to offer him a contract in view of the future making of Cabiria (1914). During his time in Italy, Chomón contributed to the most important films produced by Itala Film and Fert-Pittaluga during the 1910s and 20s. He also fine-tuned three elements of his style: trick film techniques, experimentation with colour and mastery of animation. La guerra e il sogno di Momi is the film that perhaps best demonstrates Chomón’s eclecticism. In the scene of the farmhouse attack, Chomón superimposed flames and smoke to make the gunshots and fire seem realistic, and the overall effect is dramatic and spectacular. When Momi falls asleep, his puppets Trick and Track come to life: Chomón uses stop-motion to create a dream world that is the powerful epicenter of the film. Two armies of toy soldiers combat in a miniature world where the horrors of war (the trenches, poison gas and bombings) are enacted but tempered by tricks with subtle humour (the Seltzer bottle, the Kultur book, the steam cleaner…) which offer a moment of bitter levity during a nightmarish war of which the viewer is also part.