Ernesto Maria Pasqual

T. alt.: Passione tzigana. Sog., Scen.: Umberto Paradisi. F.: Anchise Brizzi. Int.: Diana Karenne (Agara), Giovanni Cimara (il barone Freiman), Nello Carotenuto (Aleko). Prod.: Ernesto Maria Pasquali per Pasquali Film. DCP. D.: 42’. Bn (from a dupe negative print).

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

Passione tsigana is a title mentioned by almost all Italian silent film historians, but very few people (if any) have actually seen it. It was one of the most famous films of the “Turin school”, directed and produced by Ernesto Maria Pasquali, who overnight turned the unknown Dina Karen into the film star Diana Karenne (and probably suggested changing her stage name).
Considered one of the most successful films of 1916, and a milestone of Italian silent cinema, at the time of its release the press wrote about it at length, and some cinemas were still screening it as late as until 1920.
The romantic, adventurous and melodramatic plot revolves around a love triangle between the gypsy girl Agara (Diana Karenne), baron Freiman (Giovanni Cimara) and the gypsy villain Aleko (Nello Carotenuto, father of the future comedians Memmo and Mario).
With this role Karenne started to become a diva on-screen, but we know she already behaved as such backstage. In 1929, scriptwriter Umberto Paradisi remembered that “Diana Karenne left the Stupinigi woods during the shooting of some important scenes of Passione tzigana, leaving the director and 500 extras suddenly because the smell of sweet acacia gave her migraine.”
A German distribution print of Passione tsigana survives in the Gosfil’mofond collections, under the title When the Hearts that Loved Each Other Part. This late-generation copy, identified in 2022, has the first three reels (out of the original five). The missing reels have been reconstructed on the basis of the detailed synopsis published in trade magazine “La Cinematografia Italiana ed Estera” (n. 2, 30 January, 1916). In Russia, the film was released in the same year with the title Poema lyubvi. Tsyganka (Poem of love. The gypsy girl).

Tamara Shvediuk and Federico Striuli

Copy From

Reconstructed in 2022 by Tamara Shvediuk at the Gosfil’mofond archive