Mon

26/07

Cinema Jolly > 14:30

1901: films seen in Bologna / Barbe-Bleue

Piano accompaniment by

Gabriel Thibaudeau 

1901 is an important year for film in Bologna. In May of that year the Reale Cinematografo Lumière, the city’s first cinema, opened its doors – even though it closed them again after a few weeks. On 26 May 1901, the first news of the films screened appeared in the ‘Arte e Artisti’ section of “Gazzetta dell’Emilia”: “Cinematografo Lumière – a few evenings ago the rooms of the former pub Limentra, at 13 Via Rizzoli, started screenings of interesting motion pictures during the day from 11am to 1pm and in the evenings from 5-11pm. The pictures change often. Last night the parade of Bersaglieri Cyclists, the Khedivial entourage, an attack of the Czarina’s hussars and various others were a success.”

According to Elena Nepoti’s research, it was a travelling ex-Lumière representative, Giovanni Casamenti, who ran Reale Cinematografo Lumière; it was open for a month or a little longer and then was reopened in October of 1901 by Rosina Cappellini in Marchese with new hours (6:30-11pm, and 5-11pm on public holidays) for about two months. In addition to the news reported by the local press, three original and complete programmes have been identified, which even include the name of the pianist, Maestro Giulio Pennini. These illuminating documents inform us that for a 30-cent ticket (with a discount of 10 cents for military personnel and kids) you could see a show of 12 short Lumière films, for a total duration of ten minutes.

However, the films shown on Via Rizzoli were not Bologna’s first movie attraction in 1901. The first screening mentioned by newspapers was held at Teatro Eden Kursaal, an elegant multipurpose venue located at 69 Via dell’Indipendenza, which opened on 31 December 1898. In this case too it was a Lumière programme, shown for just three evenings (preceded by harmonica player Luigi dell’Oro), from 6-8 April. Unfortunately, no trace is left of the titles screened, as is also the case for the films shown by the families of fair workers and travelling salesmen in the city that year.

We are celebrating the films shown in Bologna 120 years ago with one of these three historical programmes – the one with the most titles that we were able to match with the original French ones and their corresponding films in the Lumière production catalogue. Of the 12 titles only two have not been identified (Salita dei monti, Artiglieria inglese and Sconfitta degli inglesi), so as a prologue to the programme we have added the three Lumière films screened in Bologna on 25 May 1901. We also substituted Manœuvres des pompiers au palais royal de Florence for Pompieri di Milano, salvataggio, which Aldo Bernardini believes could be a lost hors catalogue film shot in 1896 by cameraman Giuseppe Filippi.

Elena Correra and Mariann Lewinsky

You are not born a film historian, you become one. From the touristic hotspots called film classics some people wander away on sinuous paths and enter regions where they meet with unfamiliar flora and fauna: Parnaland, vues, Dickson, féeries

At one point it transpires to the young film historian that the classic Le Voyage dans la Lune, widely regarded as the pioneering first science-fiction movie, looked anything but new in 1902: Offenbach’s opéra féerie had been around since 1875, including the Ballet des flocons de neige and a cast of funny astronomers. Added to which, a ‘Trip to the Moon’ dark ride was so popular a fairground entertainment around 1900 that it gave its name to the Luna Parks.

Most fairytale films of the golden age of the genre (1899-1909) are the descendants of several generations of stage productions. Barbe-Bleue counts among its ancestors a folie-féerie from 1823 and a parodie-féerie by Offenbach from 1866. The cinematic Grandes féeries were a huge success, starting with Cinderella by Méliès in 1899. In 1901 they were by far the longest, most spectacular films (matched only by some unavoidable lives of Christ), and starred in programmes as the main feature. The genre petered out around 1910, but its charms and attractions continued to thrive, in costume dramas and scientific films, or so I thought: I had overlooked an important later successor, the animated musical, which I have discovered through the opéra bouffe Barbe bleue by Jean Painlevé, Maurice Jaubert and René Bertrand. Like its ancestors, this astonishing claymation is set in a lavishly colourful fairytale country full of medieval castles and costumes and its sarcastic humour transforms the cruelty of some scenes into sheer fun. Animation, music and surprising gags (look out for the armour tailored to accommodate the beard) make the short film as enchanting as any work of Offenbach and Méliès.

Mariann Lewinsky

Projection
Info

Monday 26/07/2021
14:30

Subtitle

Original version with subtitles

Book

Bersagliers cyclistes à la revue

Italian Title
I ciclisti bersaglieri
Year: 1899
Country: Italia
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Le Khédive et son escorte

Italian Title
Scorta Kediviale
Year: 1897
Country: Egitto
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Revue de Krasnoïe Selo: charge des hussards de l’impératrice

Italian Title
Carica degli usseri della Czarina
Year: 1897
Country: Russia
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

99e régiment d’infanterie: anneaux et trapèze

Italian Title
Esercizi anelli
Year: 1897
Country: Francia
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Panorama de la Corne d’Or

Italian Title
Panorama Corno d’Oro (Costantinopoli)
Year: 1897
Country: Turchia europea
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Défilé des vétérans en costumes anciens: II. Vue de près

Italian Title
Veterani in costume antico
Year: 1899
Country: Italia
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Douche après le bain

Italian Title
Bagno a doccia
Year: 1987
Country: Francia
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Manoeuvres des pompiers au palais royal de Florence

Year: 1897
Country: Italia
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Le Village de Namo: panorama pris d’une chaise à porteurs

Italian Title
Villaggio (Cina) prese in portantina
Year: 1900
Country: Indocina francese
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Water toboggan (montagnes russes sur l’eau)

Italian Title
Montagne russe (Taboga)
Year: 1896-1897
Country: Stati Uniti
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Pont de Brooklyn

Italian Title
Ponte di Brooklyn (ferrovia elettrica)
Year: 1896
Country: Stati Uniti
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Caravane de chameaux

Italian Title
Carovana di cammelli
Year: 1897
Country: Turchia asiatica, Gerusalemme, Palestina
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Les Chapeaux, I

Italian Title
Cappelli volanti
Year: 1897
Country: Francia
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Barbe-Bleue

Director: Georges Méliès
Year: 1901
Country: Francia
Running time: 11'
Sound
Mute
Edition
2021

Barbe bleue

Director: Jean Painlevé, René Bertrand
Year: 1936-1938
Country: Francia
Running time: 13'
Film Version

French version

Sound
Mute
Edition
2021