Edition 2021
Sections

Super8 & 16mm – Great Small Gauges

After two years of presenting exclusively short 16mm films, we are about to expand the view on small gauge filmmaking. An important part of this year’s selection is formed by long-form work, where small-gauge film stock has been used extensively. Moreover, Super8mm, a format which rarely finds its way into a movie theatre, is also included. The section presents pure cinematic miniatures of Helga Fanderl in a programme curated by the Super8mm artist herself, lyrical documentary landscapes and cityscapes by Annik Leroy and an anti-ethnographic essay by Trinh T. Minh-ha. As an extra, the session with the wondrous Archeoscope, an ‘all gauges’ machine built and operated by Jan Kulka, will allow you to experience the magic of analogue projection, not of a film strip, but of salt, lace, dust and more.
Curated by Karl Wratschko and Mariann Lewinsky

Super8 & 16mm – Great Small Gauges

Il Cinema Ritrovato Kids & Young 2021

As usual, Schermi e Lavagne, the education department of the Cineteca di Bologna, offers a section for our youngest cinephiles. This year we are happy to offer children the experience of a return to the cinema auditorium: for seven days, younger audiences can discover films from all eras and travel through time and space in the company of cinema from around the world. Alongside the Cinema Lumière screenings there will be workshops, meetings with industry professionals, and live shows.

Il Cinema Ritrovato Kids & Young 2021

Herman Mankiewicz: A Scattered Talent

The stale Citizen Kane authorship saga (or even Mank) to the contrary, Herman Mankiewicz was not some unrecognized or persecuted genius. His personal demons and his successive functions in the picture business were too many for him to have left a solid body of work behind. He also disdained movie writing too much to apply himself at more than rewriting or touching up. As a title writer at Paramount, he could be brilliant. As story editor at Paramount his impact is harder to define. Surely he was at bat for the early Marx Brothers pictures, whom he had produced in New York, and we’ll see him coach for Klopstokia in the Million Dollar Legs, a ‘brotherless’ version of Duck Soup. But this irreverent wit also had a serious side with an interest in politics: in 1933 he penned a notorious script called The Mad Dog of Europe, which featured a housepainter named Adolph Mitler that went unproduced throughout the 1930s. His work at MGM is better known, as a polisher of plays like Dinner at Eight, or his entertaining take on Mata Hari, Stamboul Quest. It is as difficult to define his movie contributions and his talent as it is to do it in a 4-film tip of the hat, but we’ll try. Without Citizen Kane.
Curated by Philippe Garnier

Herman Mankiewicz: A Scattered Talent

The Real Japan: The Documentaries of Iwanami Productions

Established in 1950 as a unit of the celebrated Iwanami Shoten publishing house, Iwanami Productions became what scholar Markus Nornes describes as “the epicentre for what would be a shake-up of the Japanese documentary world.” Founded to craft educational and promotional films, the company ended up transforming the conventions of Japanese documentary filmmaking, pioneering a style characterised by quiet, non-judgemental observation and a determination to capture life in all its messy spontaneity. Iwanami documentaries encompassed topics ranging from Japan’s historical and artistic heritage to local politics to the behaviour of schoolchildren. The company fostered the careers of Sumiko Haneda, one of Japan’s outstanding documentarians and the first woman to sustain a genuine lifelong career as a film director in Japan, and of such important fiction filmmakers as Susumu Hani and Kazuo Kuroki – the former’s features, in particular, bear clear traces of the patient realism of his work for Iwanami. This survey offers the opportunity to encounter a set of films both admirable in their own right, and of lasting impact on Japanese cinema.
Curated by Alexander Jacoby and Johan Nordström
In collaboration with Istituto Giapponese di Cultura

The Real Japan: The Documentaries of Iwanami Productions

Aldo Fabrizi: "Taken from the World too al dente"

Known to international audiences as the Catholic priest in Rome, Open City and to Italians as the embodiment of a happy and working-class Rome, Aldo Fabrizi was a great comic actor but also something more. He was often a sort of co-writer of the films he starred in, collaborating on the screenplay or rewriting his own characters. Fabrizi was also a director, a role that has recently been rediscovered: he made eccentric comedies such as The Passaguai Family and comedy-meets-drama like Emigrantes and Una di quelle. With an uncommon flair for writing and staging, Fabrizi’s career marks a transition in Italian cinema, between neorealism and modern cinema. Il Cinema Ritrovato pays homage to him with a selection of his most significant performances and directorial work, up to his unforgettable appearance in Ettore Scola’s We All Loved Each Other So Much.
Curated by Emiliano Morreale

Aldo Fabrizi: “Taken from the World too al dente”

Cinemalibero: Feminine, Plural

Conceived as a programme that aims at ‘widening spaces’, this year’s Cinemalibero looks at the debut films of ten female pioneer directors who escape all easy classifications, stand apart from the traditionally defined modes of filmmaking, stay independent of the programmatic manifestos such as that of Tercer Cine, and even defy strict formulations of feminism. Without any claim for completeness, our narrative is about that exhilarating moment when some precise historical, cultural and private components came together and led the ten filmmakers in question to get hold of raw film stock, position themselves behind a camera and tell their stories. Our journey starts in Angola, with a long-awaited restoration that took over three years to see the light: the masterfully rendered Sambizanga by Sarah Maldoror. From there we continue to Cuba and Senegal, passing through Venezuela, Hungary, Bulgaria, Algeria, Portugal and Poland among other fertile lands of female cinema.
Curated by Cecilia Cenciarelli and Elena Correra

Cinemalibero: Feminine, Plural

Something to Live For: The Cinema of George Stevens

No other director has been credited for filming such disparate situations and figures, of such cultural and historical importance: from Laurel & Hardy’s cake-throwing parties to the Crucifixion; the unique elegance of Astaire/Rogers’s dance numbers and the liberation of Dachau, the latter a real-life document. This year’s American master and the man behind such classics as A Place in the Sun and Shane is George Stevens, who rose from the rank of camera-cranker at Hal Roach Studios to become a filmmaking ace and comedy specialist in the 30s. However, after participating in active combat and filming some of the major atrocities of WWII, something changed in this romantic adventurer. The newly gained intellectual maturity, combined with Stevens’s characteristic fluency and brio, proved fertile ground for directing an array of masterpieces which, along with a survey of his late 30s and early 40s masterpieces, are the main focus of this retrospective.
Curated by Ehsan Khoshbakht

Something to Live For: The Cinema of George Stevens

Against All Flags: Wolfgang Staudte

Wolfgang Staudte is arguably the lone postwar director whose work was important for the film cultures of both the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. And yet, his massive œuvre created for cinema and television remains conspicuously obscure outside Germany, with the possible exception of The Murderers Are Among Us (Die Mörder sind unter uns, 1946), the first film produced in occupied Germany after the end of WWII. While back home (if that’s the right word for someone so existentially at odds with his country of birth) discussions of Staudte’s art and merits often get reduced to its political importance as the Bonn Republic’s lone movie moralist who with films like Kirmes (1960), Heimlichkeiten (1968) or Yesterday’s Tomorrow (Zwischengleis, 1978) desperately fought against all that wilful white-washing, ignoring, forgetting and finally burying of the nation’s nasty Nazi past (and not so crypto presence). This short-changes Staudte the master craftsman, who with the same ease could direct an oriental fantasy fairytale film like Die Geschichte vom kleinen Muck (1953), a melodrama with a feminist undertow, Rose Bernd (1957), or a symbol-dense, religious coming-of-age story like Das Lamm (1964). This small tribute offers a first glimpse at one of the richest bodies of work in postwar European cinema and television.
Curated by Olaf Möller

Against All Flags: Wolfgang Staudte

Romy, Life Lived and Fiction

She made her debut in the tender colours of Austrian fairytales, alongside her mother Magda who had starred in Max Ophuls’s Liebelei and was a well-known mistress of Nazi officials. For several years she was Sissi, loved by audiences around the world and enjoying a resounding success that seemed to promise a future in purely commercial cinema. Instead, Romy Schneider left it all behind – Germany and her sweet youth – and emerged in international cinema with clarity, depth and substance. A new beauty and new talent began to bloom. Welles wanted her immediately for The Trial, and in Deray’s The Swimming Pool her allure contrasts with Jane Birkin’s adolescent fluttering (and between them Alain Delon – a trio you’ll lose your mind over). They say that she never recovered from Delon abandoning her, but life had other terrible wounds in store for her. She was directed by Losey, Visconti, Tavernier, Costa-Gavras and Sautet, who was especially able to capture her most authentic aura: transparent and mysterious at the same time. She passed away too soon and was caught on film just in her prime.
Curated by Volker Schlöndorff
In collaboration with Cinémathèque française

Romy, Life Lived and Fiction

Rebellious Poets and Radical Spirits: Indian Parallel Cinema

The story of Parallel Cinema has never fully been told. When Arun Kaul and Mrinal Sen published their film manifesto in 1968 calling for a new cinema, an unprecedented burst of creativity captured the imagination of a generation of filmmakers and transformed the provincial aesthetic and thematic landscape of Indian cinema for ever. The following year, the Film Finance Corporation, originally set up by the state to help filmmakers, broke new ground by financing some highly original films. Parallel Cinema’s moment had been coming for a long time. It was a moment that arrived after the death of Nehru, in an India full of uncertainty and forged in a radical socio-political space in which it was possible to agitate for something alternative and oppositional. Parallel Cinema was regional in character with Karnataka, Bengal and Kerala at the forefront of innovation. Since many of the films have rarely been screened outside of India – from the works of two poets such as Govindan Aravindan and Kumar Shahani to the discovery of the precious original negative of Uski Roti by Mani Kaul – this strand aims at reclaiming Parallel Cinema as one of the most sustained, iconoclastic and overlooked film stories of the past 50 years.
Curated by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Cecilia Cenciarelli and Omar Ahmed

Rebellious Poets and Radical Spirits: Indian Parallel Cinema

Recovered and Restored

Perhaps more so than in any other edition, the Recovered & Restored selection this year will comprise acclaimed masterpieces along with the forgotten, sublime and must-see films. From Night Games (Nattlek, 1966) by Swedish actress and director Mai Zetterling to Nightmare Alley (1947) by Edmund Goulding, a tumultuous tableau of ruin and defeat, which will soon be remade by Guillermo del Toro; from Frenchman’s Creek (1944) by Mitchell Leisen, a pirate film with a female lead and all the vibrancy of Technicolor, to the silent serial Belphégor (1927) by Henri Desfontaines; and the brilliant Watermelon Man (1970) by Melvin Van Peebles, in which a racist white insurance broker discovers one morning that his skin colour has changed. If you are looking for masterpieces by the greatest of masters now finally restored, there is no question that you need to be in Bologna this year for screenings of The Flowers of St. Francis (Francesco giullare di Dio, 1950) by Roberto Rossellini, The Lower Depths (Les Bas-fonds, 1936) by Jean Renoir and Vampyr (1932) by Carl Theodor Dreyer. And, how could we forget, a marvellous silent comedy with live music: Erotikon (Mauritz Stiller, 1920).
Curated by Gian Luca Farinelli

Recovered and Restored

The Century of Cinema: 1901

The miracle of cinema makes it possible to join the Bolognese audience of 1901 and see what they saw in the Royal Cinematograph Lumière in Via Rizzoli 13. But what is cinematography in 1901? The inexhaustible fascination of captured reality as in the ‘views’ of the frères Lumière or of the Mutoscope & Biograph, which were screened internationally or in the films of UK-based Mitchell & Kenyon who catered to local audiences. The exuberant irreality of surprising tricks bringing the art of magic to new levels. A heuristic pleasure principle revealed in comic sketches of male preoccupations, just as in Vienna Sigmund Freud was publishing his theories of the unconscious revealed by dreams, Freudian slips and jokes. British pioneers R.W. Paul and James Williamson made films of advanced technical and narrative sophistication, and Ferdinand Zecca, who had just joined Pathé frères, launched a new genre that would sweep away Early Cinema a few years later: drama. As at any other moment, there is more to cinematography in 1901 than entertainment: with a camera given by Léon Gaumont, French diplomat Auguste François started a unique visual documentation of life in Southern China.
Curated by Karl Wratschko and Mariann Lewinsky

The Century of Cinema: 1901

One Hundred Years Ago: 1921

1921 turned out to be a surprising vintage, a meeting point of ‘not yet’ and ‘already’. Top directors Ernst Lubitsch (Die Bergkatze) and Victor Sjöström (Körkalen) are still working in Europe; soon they will have left for Hollywood. Weimar Cinema (discovery: Die Ratten by Hanns Kobe) and avant-garde movements (Ruttmann and Richter) already make their mark, but Soviet production has not yet picked up. This probably explains why Gosfilmofond is able to offer us unique prints of imported films from its collection, works not seen in decades, such as Sessue Hayakawa’s The Swamp and ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle’s mythical Crazy to Marry, his last release before scandal and Will Hays abruptly transformed the popular idol into a non-person. Stars such as Alla Nazimova (Camille) and Henny Porten (Hintertreppe) not only continued their acting careers in 1921, they were also their own independent producers. When it comes to comedy, 1921 was an especially wonderful year, with extraordinary performers (Arbuckle, Biscot, Chaplin, Hardy, Keaton, Laurel and Larry Semon) intent on making us laugh, all of us together – once again.
Curated by Karl Wratschko and Mariann Lewinsky

One Hundred Years Ago: 1921

In a Maze of Images. The Tomijiro Komiya Collection

A time-capsule of the first golden age of European cinema. A hundred years ago in Tokyo, a young man was collecting distribution prints of European films. What remained of this legendary collection was donated to the National Film Center (now National Film Archive of Japan) in 1990 and was duplicated on safety stock. Ever since, precious Komiya prints have enriched Il Cinema Ritrovato’s sections on Genina, Grémillon, Capellani and Frusta. But it is high time to revisit the collection of Tomijiro Komiya as a subject in its own right. In fact, much of it has never been screened anywhere in the world. So enter the maze and be prepared to fall under the spell of old dreams and mysteries, of dazzling colours and suggestive glimpses of mostly lost films.
Curated by Hiroshi Komatsu, Mariann Lewinsky and Karl Wratschko
Co-organizer: National Film Archive of Japan

In a Maze of Images. The Tomijiro Komiya Collection

Documents and documentaries

For over a year travelling has seemed to be a thing of the past, so if you come to Bologna this year we promise to take you on a trip across the continents on screen. From Italy to Central America (Dall’Italia all’Equador) will show you life in Latin America in the 1920s, Empire in the Sun (L’impero del sole) captures 1950s Peru in Ferraniacolor, while Mario Fantin – a mountain climber born 100 years ago who was also an ethnographer, filmmaker and the creator of a massive work of documentation – will take you around the world. Of his many films we will show you his legendary 1954 record of Ardito Desio’s expedition to K2. We’ll take trips across time and space but also across films with compilation movies, like the two new pictures by a master of this art, Bill Morrison, The Village Detective: Song Cycle and Buried News. Plus mesmerising portraits of Chaplin, Louis de Funès, John Farrow, Lotte Eisner and the fatal encounter of two couples: Montand & Signoret and Monroe & Miller.
Curated by Gian Luca Farinelli

Documents and documentaries

Off Section

This year we did not call them “special”, even if they are, because every festival event is special to us! They are “Off Section” or not easy to immediately categorise in the various festival strands, despite being crucial events of our programme. Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Paul Haggis will present Million Dollar Baby (2005) by Clint Eastwood, the moral drama scripted by Haggis that brought him to the forefront of Hollywood. Another special guest this year is the writer and film buff Jonathan Coe, who will be presented at LunettArena to introduce Billy Wilder’s later masterpiece Fedora (1978), which inspired Coe’s most recent novel, Mr Wilder & Me. At the MAST Foundation, the documentary Lumumba, la mort du prophète will be presented, the first of two films by Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck about Patrice Lumumba, a central figure in the political history of Congo and all of Africa.

Off Section