Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 16:30


Introduced by

Hiroshi Komatsu, Chiruzu Usui (National Film Archive of Japan) and Andrea Meneghelli (Cineteca di Bologna)

Piano accompaniment by

Mie Yanashita

Frusta’s contribution to the superior quality and style of Ambrosio’s productions, and therefore to its international success, cannot be overestimated. When searching for prints, we found many of his important films in three major collections of early European cinema outside Italy, where they had ended up due to exportation: the Desmet Collection (at the EYE Filmmuseum Amsterdam), the Joye Collection (at the BFI – National Archive) and the Komiya Collection (at the National Film Archive of Japan). Jean Desmet was a Dutch distributor, Abbé Joye a Jesuit priest screening in Switzerland second-hand film prints bought in Germany and Tomijiro Komiya (1897-1975) a great film lover and private collector living in Tokyo. He collected mainly European motion pictures – imported and screened in great number in Japan before World War I –, and he clearly was a great fan of Italian cinema. When his collection arrived thirty years ago (in 1988) at the then National Film Center of Japan, it had been badly damaged by two wars, theft and nitrate decomposition. The magnificent remains – complete prints and many fragments – have been identified by film historian Hiroshi Komatsu and restored by the National Film Center.
The programme includes three fragments of films scripted by Arrigo Frusta that do not exist in any other form: a taste of a more extensive section dedicated to the Komiya Collection planned in co-production with the National Film Archive of Japan for the next Cinema Ritrovato.

Mariann Lewinsky


Saturday 23/06/2018


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Prince Ghiacciolino (Carámbano in the Spanish version) is depressed. Wise men’s advice, the jester’s jokes or the delicacies that march in prepared by an army of cooks are of no use. Enchanted by a glowing reflection, he sets out to find the only thing he claims he really wants: a ray of sunshine. Or maybe he is just looking for an excuse to get away from his apprehensive royal parents. Whatever the reason may be, at the end of his journey he finds love. According to Frusta’s notes, an enchanting and graceful cinematic fairy tale with a hint of caricature. The narration is developed through a succession of visual ideas directly related to the story: the astronomers at work, the bright spot, and the appearance of Raggio di sole crowned by Schneider’s lions, which in actual fact were rather tame. Eventually spring returns to the ice country as well. It is almost a shame that the incredible royal sled pulled by penguins cannot be used anymore.

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen.: Arrigo Frusta. Int.: Sig.a Schneider (Raggio di sole), Mario Voller Buzzi (Principe Ghiacciolino), Cesare Zocchi (Re), Lina Gobbi (Regina), Antonio Grisanti (dignitario), Ercole Vaser (il mago), Giuseppina Ronco, Bianca Schinini (dame), Paolo Azzurri. Prod.: S.A. Ambrosio. 35mm. L.: 278 m (l. orig.: 328 m). D.: 15′ a 16 f/s Tinted (Desmetcolor)


Film Notes

At the time, a fussy reviewer noted that the film did not stick to the historical facts. Today, we care less, although we cannot criticize him for it. Galileo ends up before the Holy Office due to a vengeful servant who wanted to win the good Galileo Galilei (Coll. Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Torino) graces of his daughter. And that is not the only flight of fancy. Here’s another example: while at church and on his knees on a kneeler, the genius sees a swinging lamp and is struck by an insight that reveals to him the motion of pendulums (an irresistible visual ploy that joins fervent Catholicism and scientific method sui generis). His theory on planetary motion is a forbidden shape: when church representatives circle around the parchment containing Galileo’s discoveries, they react with disdain and gesticulate as if indicating the shape of woman’s body. When the scientist is forced to burn his own work, he holds it to his chest as if it were a lover about to be taken from him. As the paper burns, a curtain opens in the background and behind a grate we see his daughter who has literally been imprisoned by nuns, opening abysses ofsuffering we cannot see.

Andrea Meneghelli

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen.: Arrigo Frusta. F.: Giovanni Vitrotti. Int.: Umberto Mozzato (Galileo Galilei). Prod.: S.A. Ambrosio 35mm. L.: 192 m. D.: 12’ a 16 f/s. Tinted.


Film Notes

Waiting for the following year’s Richard Wagner anniversary, Ambrosio planned to make films based on his opera in the spring of 1912. The plan resulted in two films: Parsifal and Siegfried, both directed by Mario Caserini, scripted by Arrigo Frusta and shot by Giuseppe Angelo Scalenghe. Both films share the outstanding visual aesthetics in which the actors stop and move geometrically in depth of field images. The quasi-formalist beauty most famously seen in Caserini’s Ma l’amor mio non muore! (1913) is prefigured in these Wagner films. However, after being released, the difficulty of making a film based on Wagner’s oeuvre was discussed everywhere. A Japanese critic wrote: “This was adapted from Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner, a great man of the art world who shined in the 19th century. It is very far from the original. Because this is a film, we should overlook this change. The nymphs singing on the bank of the luminous Rhine. Kriemhild with her beautiful blond hair swinging her sword… It’s an elegantly glossy film.” (“Kinema Record”, November 1914).

Hiroshi Komatsu

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dall’omonimo dramma musicale di Richard Wagner. Scen.: Arrigo Frusta. F.: Giuseppe Angelo Scalenghe. Int.: Dario Silvestri (Siegfried), Fernanda Negri- Pouget (Krimhilde), Antonietta Calderari (Brunehilde), Mario Voller Buzzi (il Bardo), Mario Granata (Gunther), Serafino Vité (Hogen), Vitale De Stefano, Carlo Campogalliani, Giuseppina Ronco, Franz Sala. Prod.: S.A. Ambrosio 35mm. L.: 708 m. D.: 34’ a 18 f/s. Tinted.