Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 11:00


Introduced by

Goffredo Fofi


Tuesday 27/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Michael Roemer and Robert Young co-directed their visually striking essayistic portrait of impoverished Southern Italy for an NBC documentary series whose producers were so shocked and troubled by the film’s  frank  depiction of hardship that they immediately cancelled the broadcast and fired Young, then on the channel’s payroll. By NBC orders, the film’s negative was destroyed but a print was saved by a dedicated NBC employee who believed in the film’s merits. Seen today Cortile Cascino – despite the English language voice-over imposed by NBC upon the film – is an extraordinary document that captures a pocket of Europe forgotten by postwar progress, where the difficult conditions of pre-WW2 stubbornly persist.

Haden Guest

Cast and Credits

Scen., M.: Robert M. Young, Michael Roemer. F.: Robert M. Young. Prod.: NBC Television 16mm. Bn.


Film Notes

Roemer’s rarely screened portrait of Israel just before the Six-Day War is a poetic essay film that counts among his most politically charged works – a charge made immediately clear by the haunting, damning image that opens the film: the corpse of a Holocaust victim. Faces of Israel powerfully echoes the lyrical yet understated intellectual montage best refined by Chris Marker with its observational exploration of everyday life and labor in Israel. Eschewing the kind of voice-over dialogue forced upon Cortile Cascino, Roemer instead allows his footage to create spaces for empathy and understanding that transcends language, inviting the viewer into intimate familial and sacred moments including, most powerfully, the welcoming of new arrivals to Israel. Throughout these scenes in Faces of Israel, whole gestures, emotion and setting are allowed to say more than words ever could. Roemer shot his footage in 1966 while in Israel to research  a never realized film about Martin Buber. An earlier version of this film was screened in 1966 on PBS, but that is not the same, far superior film that will be screened here.

Haden Guest

Cast and Credits

F.: Robert M. Young. M.: Michael Roemer, Peter Vollstadt, Sara Miller. DCP. Bn.