Teatro Comunale di Bologna > 14:30

Gaumont Chrono de Poche Home Movies / Ariadne

Drums accompaniment by Frank Bockius


Sunday 30/08/2020


Original version with subtitles

Gaumont Chrono de Poche Home Movies

Film Notes

If taken as a compact body of work that needs no cutting or mending, Stucky’s films remind us that memory is splintered, visionary, diaphanous and intermittent. Close your eyes for a memory. Open them. Close them again for another. Or vice versa. Stucky’s images are revelations of a memory we thought foreign but suddenly we perceive as our own. Hanging from a trembling thread that looks like it could break at any moment, seemingly fragile, exhausted and yet so precise, sharp and uplifting. Stucky’s shots are dizzyingly dense. There is no hierarchy or distinction between centre, background and contour. Each detail is an allusion, a potential spell. Even the small gesture of a hand that reaches a hat, a twisting wind, a small foot rising, a merry-go-round in the distance. You could watch them again and again, and each time you would see a new ghost, a new story to lose yourself in. Stucky’s films make us aware of the presence of the movie camera. We see it in the quick comic sketches staged here and there by the kids at home, a constant attraction to that black hole called a lens, where eyes often land with joyful or stealthy glances. Two ragged little girls sitting in front of the doorway even imitate the actions of filmmaking, that turning of the hand that seizes the cameraman’s crank, visible and invisible all at once. It’s a game of reflexes. What’s in that box? And what’s outside of it? In Stucky’s world two themes reappear constantly: children and water. We suspect they have a powerful, hidden and reciprocal force of attraction. They are pictures in motion from a time that cinema can make move in any direction. You throw yourself in as a challenge to the abyss, in a moment that stops the world and makes it explode in splatters. Some knowledge of the facts helps, of course. Giancarlo Stucky (1881-1941) was a descendant of Giovanni, the ‘mill king’, Venice’s own Scrooge Mc- Duck. In 1900, at the Paris Exposition, young Giancarlo was enchanted by the Gaumont-Demenÿ Chrono de Poche, the first amateur cinematograph (15mm with centre perforation), and he got himself one. At home he started filming scenes of family life, city views, fishermen’s boats, moments of everyday life, parties, markets, work and leisure, rich people and proletarians… Today, a little more than 70 of his lightning films, which run about 30 seconds each, survive.

Andrea Meneghelli

[Scene, at School (n. 01); Villa Exterior, Children Playing and Maids (n. 02); Villa Exterior, Children and a Little Airplane (n. 03); On the Street, Children Carding Wool (n. 04); Diving from the Pier (n. 05); Women Chatting on a Vaporetto and Children Sitting on a Pole (n. 06); In the Square, Children and Passersby (n. 07); In the Garden, Woman with Baby and Woman Spinning (n. 08); Children and Chocolate (n. 09); Girl Winding the Crank (n. 10); Ring a Ring o’ Roses on the Beach (n. 11); Girls and Chickens (n. 12); Trieste, Carriages on Riva Tre Novembre (n. 13); Bath in Tub and Candies (n. 14); Bath in Tub, One Girl Washes Another (n. 15); Canal Grande, Gondolas and Vaporetto (n. 16); The Letter (n. 17); Vacationers on the Lido (n. 18); Kites and Roller Skates (n. 19); Vegetable Shopping at the Market (n. 20); Children’s Games on the Lido (n. 21); In the Garden, a Magazine and Small Flowers (n. 22); In the Lagoon, on a Stairwell (n. 23); Scene, the Suffering Artist (n. 24); Rowboat on the Canal (n. 25); Comings and Goings in St. Mark’s Square (n. 26-1); Girls in Giudecca, Ponte Lungo in the Background (n. 27-1); Scene, the Contested Object (n. 29); Religious Procession on Pontoon Bridge (n. 30); Gondola and Vaporetto from Riva degli Schiavoni (n. 32); Diving from the Ponte Lungo Fondamenta (n. 33); Girl and Pigeons (n. 34); Rowboat on Rio del Ponte Lungo (n. 37); On the Island of Torcello (n. 38); Boat Docking, Arsenal in the Background (n. 39); Children Filling a Bucket at Campo San Piero di Castello (n. 40); Scene, You Can’t Sleep in Peace! (n. 36-2); Rough Sea and Passersby on a Bridge (n. 41); Sailboat at the Dock (n. 42); Throwing Shrubs in Giudecca (n. 43); Men Working on Docked Boats in Giudecca (n. 45); Coal Load (n. 46); The Puppet (n. 47); Children and Rabbits (n. 50); A Boat Trip (n. 51); Fishing Boats and Vaporetto (n. 53); A Large Boat Pulling a Small One (n. 54); Playing with the Cat (n. 56); The Pontoon and the Rough Sea (n. 57); Fishing (n. 58); Passersby on a Bridge and Vaporetto (n. 60); Children at the Pond (n. 61); Children and Pigeons in St. Mark’s Square (n. 62); Little Washerwoman, Skipping Rope, Lace, Coal and Chocolate (n. 63); Leisure Time on a Tree-lined Avenue (n. 66); Line of Oxen (n. 67); Five Women on the Beach (n. 68); Scene, Catch the Thief, Catch the Thieves! (n. 69-2); Girls and the Little Washerwoman (n. 70); A Busy Street (n. 71-1); Draught Horses (n. 72); Merry-go-rounds, Skipping Rope and Snowballs (n. 73); Children and Lace (n. 74); Children at the Fountain (n. 75); Splashing Water and Children (n. 76); Comings and Goings on Fondamenta de Canaregio (n. 77); Breaking Waves (n. 78); Washerwomen on the Shore (n. 52-2); Sea Waves Crashing on Rocks (n. 79); Elegant Ladies and Children at the Park (n. 82); Children Feeding Chickens (n. 83); Children at the Edge of a Pond (n. 84); Children Sitting on the Street with a Wicker Basket (n. 85); A Girl Embroidering (n. 88); Children Throwing Stones in the Sea (n. 89); Children Skipping Rope (n. 90-1); Fishing Boats (n. 91); Girls Skipping Rope (n. 90-2)]

Cast and Credits



Film Notes

The constant movement of the wheels, threads, sprockets, feet and hands suggests restlessness, and this is paralleled by the soundtrack. The unknown woman could be Gretchen from Faust, hopelessly in love, or Ariadne who gave Theseus the thread to find his way out of the labyrinth, or perhaps she is one of the Fates, weaving destiny… Enlarged from Super8 to 35mm, the film is very grainy, in itself an homage to the medium of film, which is also emphasised by the depiction of all kinds of turning machines, both in image and sound.

Barbara Meter  

Cast and Credits

F.: Barbara Meter. Prod.: Barbara Meter. 35mm (ingrandimento da Super8mm). Col.

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