Piazzetta Pier Paolo Pasolini > 22:15

La Voix du rossignol / LA FUGA DI SOCRATE

Introduced by

Oliver Hanley

Piano accompaniment by

Daniele Furlati and drum accompaniment by Frank Bockius

carbon arc lantern projection


Wednesday 28/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

A pioneer of puppet animation, Ladislas Starevich found himself in France at the beginning of the 1920s, having fled Russia after the revolution. Like many emigrants, he had to find his place in the film business anew and began producing films in his family’s home studio with his wife Anna and two daughters, Irène and Jeanne (aka Nina Star).
The lighthearted animated fairy-tale La Voix du rossignol tells the story of a nightingale who is captured by a little girl (played by Nina Star). While the girl sleeps, the nightingale sings to her a song of how he dreams of being reunited with his beloved. The girl sets the nightingale free, and the bird repays her by lending her its voice.
The film combines animated birds and insects (the latter a hallmark of Starevich’s first animated films made in the 1910s) with live actors. Featuring both toning and stencil colour, La Voix du rossignol brought Starevich worldwide recognition and won him the Hugo Riesenfeld Gold Medal for the “most novel” short film of the year after it was shown in the US in 1925.

Elena Barysheva

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Ladislas Starevich. Int.: Nina Star. Prod.: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. 35mm. L.: 251 m. D.: 12’ a 18 f/s. Col. (from a stencil-colored nitrate print)


Film Notes

Tuscan native Carlo Aldini moved to Bologna in his early teens and was a champion athlete before appearing in films from 1920. With his impressive physique, he was ideally suited to play the superhuman strongman types (forzuti) that were all the rage following the success of Cabiria (1914) and the Maciste offshoot series with Bartolomeo Pagano. Like Pagano and other forzuti actors such as Luciano Albertini (Sansone), Aldini established a recurring character with a name stemmed from mythology: Ajax, “a suave man-about-town who solves mysteries, performs muscular feats, and resolves social conundrums” (John D. Fair, David L. Chapman, Muscles in the Movies, University of Missouri Press 2020).
Aldini’s last outing as Ajax in an Italian production was La fuga di Socrate. Ajax’s fiancé Annita is the proud owner of a pet parrot named Socrates. When Ajax accidentally brings about the parrot’s escape, Annita gives him an ultimatum: either he brings Socrates back safely, or their wedding is off. This leads to an extended round-the-world chase with several twists and turns along the way. In the end, Annita regains her beloved parrot but loses her fiancé, for Ajax has met and fallen in love with another woman during his search for Socrates.
As with most forzuti films, the simple premise serves as a springboard for one setpiece after another, giving Aldini ample opportunity to display his athletic prowess and penchant for comedy. Director Guido Brignone’s adroit staging and flawless sense of timing ensure there’s never a dull moment, prompting reviewer Pier Giovanni Merciai to label the film “a little jewel of cinematic art” in his write-up in “La Rivista Cinematografica” (25 September 1923).
Shortly after the release of La fuga di Socrate, Aldini would make a flight of his own: to Germany, which had become a mecca to many Italian filmmakers and actors in the wake of the economic crisis and political upheaval in their home country after the First World War. Aldini’s first German film, Die närrische Wette des Lord Aldiny, was released at the end of November that same year.

Oliver Hanley


Cast and Credits

Sog.: Gioacchino Forzano. F.: Maggiorino Zoppis. Int.: Carlo Aldini (Aiace), Ruy Vismara (emigrante), Vasco Creti, Armand Pouget, Giuseppe Brignone. Prod.: Rodolfi Film; Distr.: U.C.I.. 35mm. L.: 1249 m (l. orig.: 1531 m). D.: 61’ a 18 f/s. Col. (Desmet)