Among the institutions Il Cinema Ritrovato have been working with for over ten years, The Film Foundation has become a crucial partner. In 2020, the foundation celebrates its 30th birthday. In its lifetime it has been critical to establishing the imperative, urgency and value of restoring film heritage in the US and around the world. The programme of the festival devotes a transversal section to The Film Foundation, Martin Scorsese and the filmmakers who have supported the foundation’s work for these past 30 years.
Schermi e Lavagne, the educational department of Cineteca di Bologna, dedicates a special programme to young cinephiles: every afternoon boys and girls will be guided through film history, to discover big and small masterpieces. In the mood for Federico Fellini’s centenary, the program is mainly inspired by the circus-like and dream-like atmosphere of his films. We also bring, for the first time, a show by Circo Sotto Sopra, Il grande viaggio di Augusto. Other programs include a tribute to Gianni Rodari; a journey into Eastern European animations; an encounter with surrealist and abstract cinema with live music performance by the So Beast duo; and a special tribute to the recently deceased writer Luis Sepúlveda. Following our tradition, after each screening, young spectators will be able to participate in workshops and games inspired by the movies they have seen. Additionally, a group of young film-lovers, aged 14 to 18 , will host the online clips from the festival for young film lovers, aimed at their peers, where a selection of films will be presented daily.
Vivid colours, the poetry of the grain and the freedom of independent filmmaking in a section which invites you once again to listen to the rattling sound of film projectors inside the cinema and to discover the works of three major visual artists who worked on small gauge film. One focus will be on small-gauge filmmaking from the Netherlands, which gives us the chance to screen films by the surprisingly little-known visual artist and film poet Henri Plaat, and mind-expanding works by one of the pivotal figures of Dutch independent cinema, Barbara Meter. The work of the other artist in this programme, Peter Hutton, is characterized by his exquisite use of the cinematic eye to capture images of an incredible clearness and purity.
Curated by Karl Wratschko and Mariann Lewinsky
Dedicated to classic documentaries (such as Tempo di viaggio, co-directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and Tonino Guerra), or films about cinema history and filmmaking, this section offers the best new documentaries in the field, including the stories of legendary directors (Jean-Pierre Melville, Volker Schlöndorff), actors (Jane Fonda, Isabelle Huppert, Jane Birkin), cinematographers (Tonino Delli Colli), film distributors (Searching for Mr. Rugoff) – and the peculiar case of one of Hitler’s most trusted men, Albert Speer, who had the most curious stint in motion pictures, as told in Speer Goes to Hollywood.
Curated by Gian Luca Farinelli
The first “comparative” retrospective of Il Cinema Ritrovato – considering the works of two directors in tandem – is all about brilliance outside the pantheon: Frank Tuttle (1892-1963) and Stuart Heisler (1896-1979), each responsible for directing some acclaimed and some neglected gems of American cinema, are the two figures this programme aims to reclaim as masters in their own right. Their films, with detectable distinction, are splendidly paced and unpredictable in the ways they alter the cinematic vocabulary of popular genres. This special pairing is inspired by the philosophical and political visions they shared, which led to them tackling the same subjects (fascism, duality, redemption) in two vividly contrasting styles – often mirroring the work of the fellow director.
Curated by Ehsan Khoshbakht
One of Sweden’s most eminent film historians as well as an outstanding director mainly of commissioned shorts, cinema for Gösta Werner (1908-2009) was an all-encompassing occupation and obsession – a way of life that also included at various times writing film reviews, teaching, or reworking foreign movies for the local market. And yet, today this polymath is mainly remembered for one thing: his writings. This tribute offers a panorama of Werner’s cinema: two programs of shorts explore the breadth and width of his experimentation-happy attitude towards creating films primarily meant to inform its audiences which would include canonical works such as Midvinterblot (1946). Furthermore, his mid-length documentary Mauritz Stiller (1987) offers a glimpse at the film historian apropos Werner’s most extensively researched and venerated subject. The feature Gatan (1949), finally, shows Werner at the height of his story-telling finesse.
Curated by Olaf Möller and Jon Wengström
This year five programs will look at Keaton’s golden age and beyond. Besides our new restorations of The Boat (1921) and The Balloonatic (1923), we will present the two films that marked respectively, the dawn and twilight of Buster’s career: The Saphead (1920) and Spite Marriage (1929), the latter restored in collaboration with Warner Bros and The Criterion Collection. Lobster Films has a rich offering with the restoration of both versions of The Blacksmith (1922) and The Love Nest (1923). An air balloon with arms and legs, a shoe boutique for horses, the most famous train in film history (since the one which arrived at the Ciotat), a sinking bathtub in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, are only some of the marvels that we will be showing. The Keaton project is promoted and carried out by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Cohen Film Collection.
Curated by Cecilia Cenciarelli with Serge Bromberg and Tim Lanza
In this dramatic and surreal year, Venice Classic is hosted by Il Cinema Ritrovato. It is an unprecedented and extremely important partnership between the two festivals that are driven by the same passions and goals, demonstrating how the cinephile community can respond to the pandemic and a crisis with a sense of solidarity and fraternal spirit. In Venice Classic section you will find the world premiere of newly restored films which are both great entertainment and works of stimulating themes, emotions and styles. The combination should be a delight for the attentive, sophisticated and curious audience of Il Cinema Ritrovato. The section covers a timespan ranging from 1937 of You Only Live Once, the second American film by Fritz Lang and a film which is considered a prototype for film noir, until 1990, when Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, Goodfellas, forever changed the way cinema portrayed the world of gangsters and crooks. These two and all in between are movies to be enjoyed and studied, to continue the love and support for the cinema during a time when they are put into test by the pandemic and the forced isolation it brought.
Curated by Alberto Barbera, Federico Gironi
A journey into the irreverent and cruel cinema of the most unyielding Italian director, Marco Ferreri, with recently found rarities and the latest restorations: His first venture into film in the early 1950s as a producer (and occasionally actor), with the short Colpa del sole, the only film directed by Alberto Moravia, and the anthology film L’amore in città; his Spanish films with a twisted neorealism imbued with absurdist venom; vivid and brutal apologues about the institution of marriage, from the episode L’infedeltà coniugale to Marcia nuziale; from the most extreme and ‘unbearable’ film of his, La Grande bouffe to the masterpiece of the Milanese yet stateless director (moving between Spain, Rome, Naples, France), La donna scimmia, which we will present with its three different endings. A director who suffered significantly from censorship, we’ll also present Ferreri’s Break Up – L’uomo dei cinque palloni, an emblematic film of the interference of censorship, law and production, which will be screened in its entirety with the original colour sequence intact.
Curated by Emiliano Morreale
In this highly contested year of 2020, Il Cinema Ritrovato proposes a very special candidate to the electorate: Henry Fonda. His iconic status and the wide respect he commands among American actors makes him an obvious candidate. But Fonda’s role in the dream life of the cinema republic reaches far beyond the ‘integrity’ and ‘simplicity’ which have often been ascribed to him and his craft. His persona, as indicated by this film programme, is a polyphonic product of three historical moments – and of the ways in which he embraced these moments. He rose to stardom as a Midwestern contribution to the Popular Front of the late 1930s, haunted by the contradictions between capitalism and democracy. He acquired additional qualities of self-doubt and a somewhat traumatic streak during World War II and its aftermath. And he went on to express the hopes and fears that accompanied the ‘lap dissolve’ from the McCarthy era into the JFK Sixties. To a ‘politique des acteurs’, Fonda appears as the ‘Best Man’, the ‘Wrong Man’, and the ‘Man with no name’, all at the same time.
Curated by Alexander Horwath
This is more than just a footnote to history: until the 1950s, there were more women film directors active in the USSR than in any other country in the world. The fact that we can list more than ten names of major feature directors, and as many documentary makers, plus a few animators, bears witness to the strong impact of the revolution on the women’s place in society – in a country supposedly more “backward” than Western Europe. In 2013, Il Cinema Ritrovato paid tribute to Olga Preobrazhenskaia. We would like to continue with, to name a few, the multi-talented Alexandra Khokhlova (Lev Kuleshov’s main collaborator), the Georgian Nutsa (Nino) Gogoberidze (whose only feature, Ujmuri, was rediscovered last year) and Margarita Barskaia (director of the classic Torn Shoes). The programme will also feature the work of documentary pioneers Esfir Shub and Lydia Stepanova, along with the films of box-office stars such as Vera Stroeva, Nadezhda Kosheverova and Tatiana Lukashevich.
Curated by Irène Bonnaud and Bernard Eisenschitz
Often referred to as East German cinema’s greatest auteur, Konrad Wolf’s life matched the exhilarating uniqueness of his films. In 1945, he returned to Nazi Germany from the USSR, where his family had been exiled to, as a teenage Red Army lieutenant, an event he later turned into the classic Ich war neunzehn. Wolf studied film at the Moscow State Institute of Cinematography and had a successful career at DEFA directing fourteen films. A true believer in the potentials of cinema in building a socialist society, his films told stories of the past and present through a revisionist eye. Yet, he didn’t shy away from sensitive subjects that crossed party lines, by doing so subjecting himself to state censorship.
Curated by Ralf Schenk
This year’s programme, dedicated to the memory of filmmaker, activist and poet Sarah Maldoror, offers titles a great number of which you’ll see restored against all odds. After years on circuitous roads and prolonged research to tackles the puzzles of censorship and the paucity of film elements, here we are with films whose resurgence show how powerful of a vehicle film restoration is in rewriting multiple histories of cinema. The voices of this year’s Cinemalibero – Jia Zhang-ke, Sarah Maldoror, Ritwik Ghatak, Mohammad Reza Aslani, Ruy Guerra, Mike de Leon and Gutiérrez Alea – speak of provincial misfits, Guyana poets, East Bengali Refugees, decadent families, guerrilla revolutionaries, far-right patriarchs and bureaucrats — articulating the language of resistance, satire and imagination.
Curated by Cecilia Cenciarelli
With the year 1920, this section enters a new decade when the worldwide production of films suddenly becomes immense. For this edition, we set priorities on and offer you some delightful discoveries in the genre of adventure film, a couple of totally forgotten gems including Czechoslovakian Tam Na Horách (by Sidney Goldin), as well as rarely shown films by great directors like Germaine Dulac, Ernst Lubitsch and André Antoine. Additionally, we invite you to the ultimate silent experience in screening prints of masterpieces with authentic tinting and toning done by Jan Ledecký, including Stiller’s Erotikon, Lang’s Die Spinnen and Mario Guaita-Ausonia’s La cintura delle Amazzoni, the latter written by still undeservedly unknown Renée Deliot. Be prepared for the sheer joy of seeing performances by marvellous actors such as Astrea, Dianne Karenne, Anny Ondra, Henny Porten, Ausonia, Polidor and Emil Jannings. A selection of shorts will complete the programme.
Curated by Mariann Lewinsky and Karl Wratschko
“We will remember the world through film”, said Bernardo Bertolucci, but cinema is also an art of prophecy. Jonathan Nossiter’s new movie, Last Words, will conclude our festival, and it will bring us to the end of our century via film.
Kawashima is the ‘missing link’ between the classical Japanese cinema and the New Wave. An apprentice of Ozu and a teacher of Imamura, he made films with the care and precision of the studio era combined with the flamboyance and daring of the 1960s. For Imamura, Kawashima “personified the Japanese New Wave ten years before its emergence”, a tribute that testifies to Kawashima’s lasting impact on Japanese cinema, despite his premature death at 45. Chronic poor health inspired a pessimistic worldview and a sense of the absurd. In his oeuvre, subtle, poignant realist dramas jostle with freewheeling, unpredictable comedies, poised between satire and farce. An expert stylist, Kawashima delighted in elaborate compositions and placing his actors strategically amidst props and furnishings. An actors’ director, he encouraged breezy, noisy, vital performances in which facial expression, tone of voice, posture, gesture and movement combined to bring detail and conviction to the characterisations. This retrospective will screen a selection of his finest work.
Curated by Alexander Jacoby and Johan Nordström.
The old century’s behind. Cinema, five years old, is already in great shape. Something between the exaltation of electric moder- nity and the unfolding of an exotic imaginary, the 1900 Paris Exposition will be a formidable “milestone” for the new technology which opens up infinite views of the world. This section is designed not as a panorama, but as a centrifugal dissemination of images that radiates from what was seen at the Parisian Expo: the views and the trichrome slides of the Lumière Company, the colonized Indochina in magnificent films of Gabriel Veyre, and a reconstructed program of the Phono-Cinéma-Théatre. Else- where, meanwhile, a throbbing Venice was captured by Giancarlo Stucky, globe-trotting Joe Rosenthal ventured from England to South Africa and the Far East in search of film stories and the great Georges Méliès made, among other wonders, a monumental Jeanne d’Arc of 250m and an enchanting Rêve de Noël.
Curated by Mariann Lewsinky
Discoveries from around the world and the best of new digital and analogue restorations; the results of years of hard work by film archives and restoration facilities. This year, aside from definitive restorations of masterpieces such as L’Étrange monsieur Victor, Luci del varietà, À bout de souffle and The Misfits, we celebrate The Film Foundation’s 30th anniversary by showing some of their offerings from both American and Italian cinema including Force of Evil, I cento cavalieri, Tap Roots, Accattone, and the pre-Code comedy I’m No Angel. Richer and more diverse that you could imagine (with additional titles from Germany, Czechoslovakia and Switzerland), get ready to revisit some modern classics such as Robert Altman’s tale of compulsive gambling buddies, California Split, and David Lynch’s compassionate portrayal of a total outsider, The Elephant Man.
Alice Rohrwacher and Orecchio Acerbo will bring us the pandemic. A special, love-filled pandemic: A invenção do amor written in 1961 by Daniel Filipe (translated into images four years later by António Campos) which became one of the songs of the Carnation Revolution.