Isabella Rossellini, Alice Rohrwacher and JR
Before the film, performance by Scuola Popolare di musica Ivan Illich
Screening sponsored by MG Bologna – Stefanelli 1952
In case of rain, the screening will take place in venues of the Festival
Last autumn on a walk along the border between Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany, I was telling my friend-artist JR how worried I was about the destruction of the agricultural landscape, which is being violated by the proliferation of intensive monocultures covering entire regions. The daughter of a beekeeper, I told him about the great death toll of insects this causes, and the small-scale farmers’ fight to stem this flood of speculation, subsidies and pesticides. While we were looking at the landscape with its endless rows of hazelnut trees, we told each other that it looked like a cemetery. On the way back we made a decision: if it looks like a cemetery, we have to hold a funeral. But it has to be a funeral that is full of life! That’s how the project of Omelia contadina originated: a film with which, through our work, we could support the fight of the small-scale farmers and inhabitants of the Alfina plateau. Not only a funeral but also a hymn of hope dedicated to all those who keep us alive day after day, producing the food we eat.
Cast and Credits
Scen.: Ales Jusifovski. F.: Berto, Luca Bigazzi. M.: Carlotta Cristiani. Mus.: Banda G. Verdi di Castelgiorgio, Compagnia de la Panatella. Int.: Luciano Vergaro, Dario Sforza, Iris Pulvano, Emanuele La Barbera, Elisa Cortese, i contadini dell’Altopiano dell’Alfina. Prod.: Social Animals. DCP. D.: 10’.
Lattuada chooses to focus on the episode relating the obstructed love between Berta Scacerni and Orbino Verginesi, which takes up a good part of Mondo vecchio sempre nuovo, the third and final part of Bacchelli’s epic novel Il mulino del Po. In this way, he underscores his aim: to combine historical and social fresco with passionate melodrama. To do so, he eliminates the fatalistic undercurrent which Bacchelli had adapted from Manzoni and instead emphasises an interpretation in terms of the beginnings of the industrialisation of the countryside (with the conflict between the modernity of the threshing machines and peasant traditions) and the awakening of class conflict (with the creation of the socialist associations). But he alternates this with a description of the world of his protagonists, the Scacerni millers and the peasant Verginesi, underlining the qualities and defects of each: their dedication to work and their greed; and their sense of family and their pride. In this way the film is able to bestow an epic form on certain characters: the stubborn determination of Berta’s mother, Cecilia, and the irresponsible impetuosity of her son, Princivalle. To others, he gives a novelistic dimension: Berta and Orbino, tormented by love, and the folkoristic Smarazzacucco and Scantafrasca, who strengthen and spice up the progression of the story and its historical ambitions. Neither of these elements overpowers the other. The skilful mise-en-cadre and framing, which at the time was accused of calligrafismo (formalism) and seen as a defect, can now be read as an attempt to balance the historical fresco with the melodrama and to highlight the physicality of both bodies and landscapes (in the extraordinary sequences in the wheat fields where the women on strike clash with the soldiers sent to mow them). Thus the story acquires “a moral and epic significance which makes Il mulino del Po one of the high points of Lattuada’s cinema”.
Cast and Credits
Sog.: based on third chapter (Mondo vecchio sempre nuovo) of the novel of the same name (1938-1940) by Riccardo Bacchelli. Scen.: Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, dalla riduzione di Riccardo Bacchelli, Mario Bonfantini, Luigi Comencini, Alberto Lattuada, Carlo Musso, Sergio Romano. F.: Aldo Tonti. M.: Mario Bonotti. Mus.: Ildebrando Pizzetti. Scgf.: Aldo Buzzi, Luigi Gervasi. Int.: Carla Del Poggio (Berta Scacerni), Jacques Sernas (Orbino Verginesi), Giulio Calì (Smarazzacucco), Anna Carena (Argìa), Giacomo Giuradei (Princivalle Scacerni), Mario Besesti (Clapassòn), Leda Gloria (Sniza), Nino Pavese (Raibolini), Isabella Riva (Cecilia Scacerni), Dina Sassoli (Susanna Verginesi). Prod.: Lux Film. DCP. Bn.
The format came from [a Sundance Channel] experimental initiative to create content for the mobile phone. And one of Sundance’s missions is to address environmental issues … I’ve always been interested in animals and animal behavior. Among the things you read about is their sexual lives, their reproduction, if they take care of their babies, what they eat, etc. And everybody’s interested in sex, so I figured, “Let’s go there!” I wanted people to laugh, but then to leave and say, “Wow. I didn’t know about that.” That was my green intervention! It was to make people aware of animal life… We looked at a lot of films on different cellular phones, and what looked best were animations, because they’re very contrast-y … I think the Georges Méliès films [inspired me], always, because they were pure delight and they still thrill me. They are ingeniously made, but they are made in the kitchen. I wanted mine to feel like that … It is important that I know where the films are seen, what kind of screen, so that I can be clear in my cinematography. But there is an art form in mobile. This is a new canvas, no doubt about it.
Cast and Credits
Scen.: Isabella Rossellini. F.: Sam Levy, Brian Jackson. M.: Stacey Foster, Cynthia Madansky, Angelika Brudniak. Scgf.: Andy Byers, Rick Gilbert. Mus.: Andy Byers, Zeena Parkins. Int.: Isabella Rossellini. Prod.: Rick Gilbert, Jody Shapiro, Isabella Rossellini per Sundance Channel. DCP
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