Int.: Lea Giunchi; Prod.: Cines 35mm. L.: 107 M. D.: 5’12” A 18 F/S. Bn
The Italian comedy of the 1910s has a high statisticaI incidence of the following qualities, which may thus be considered national virtues of this production:
- A flair for wonderful choreography Some of the comedies are almost consistently organised in elegant configurations and musical movements, that can be best understood if we think of them as ballets (and accompany them with, for example, waltzes or dance-like music for the stage).
- A particular love for men dressed as women and Female impersonators Cross-dressing is used as a comic effect elsewhere, too, but Italians quite obviously took the greatest joy in it; all of the participants positively beam with pleasure.
- Kindness Good comedy has the magical capacity to exploit every last ounce of ridiculousness without harming human dignity; on the contrary, it is the triumph of inviolability. In Italian film comedy hardly anybody is ever treated sadistically.
- A strong presence of adult, employed women In Italian comedy, the fact that Robinette Works as a professional writer (Robinette nihilista), Gigetta as a lawyer (Forza irresistibile) and Lea as a bank and office (Lea in ufficio and Lea si diverte) is not a source of laughter. It is, instead, portrayed as a matter of course, while at the same time underlining the positive strength and indeed superiority of the Female characters. The men, on the other hand, driven by their impulses, rush around like chickens without their heads (and that is a source of laughter).
Beginning in 1910, Lea Giunchi (Lea) worked at Cines as the partner of Kri-Kri, Checco and Cocò and as the star of her own series of some forty titles. Gigetta Morano (Gigetta) joined Ambrosio in 1909 and worked as the partner of Marcel Fabre, Ernesto Vaser and Eleuterio Rodolfi; her own series numbers about fifteen films. The few surviving films featuring Gigetta and Rodolfi document a comedy production of outstanding quality. Most films in the series made by Nilde Baracchi (Robinette) and Valentina Frascaroli (Gribouillette), two Italian actresses active mainly in France, have unfortunately also been lost.
Most of the titles in our programme come from the collection of the Netherlands Film Museum – proof of the wide distribution of the Italian comedies in their day.
Last but not least, a recommendation: Try mentally combining the comic short films and comedies in the programme with the Italian diva films of the 1910s.