Curated by Mariann Lewinsky and Karl Wratschko

Since 2003 the festival has dedicated a strand to films from 100 years ago, and with this edition we will have covered 27 years of film history, from 1903 to 1922 plus 1896 to 1902 in the Century of Cinema strand. We started out as explorers in uncharted territories, presenting a majority of films that had not been seen in public for decades. Our research in archival vaults around the world has led, year after year, to astonishing discoveries and to a number of monographic programmes (and Dvd editions) adding substantial chapters to our knowledge of cinema, among them the series dedicated to comic actresses and suffragettes, views from the Ottoman Empire and director Albert Capellani, whose magnificent Les Misérables (1912) in the Recovered and Restored section shouldn’t be missed.
Now that we are in the 1920s and the 2020s our material, mission and audience have radically changed. In the past the films were mostly interesting if unknown; for 1922, most of the interesting films we found happened to be well-known works, if not classics, by Chaplin, Delluc, Dreyer, Dwan, Flaherty, Murnau, Nazimova, Reiniger, Stroheim and Vertov. Several titles included in the programme have enjoyed a high reputation right from their first appearance. Some are easily accessible on Dvd or YouTube. Nanook of the North and Nosferatu might be called outright popular. Why screen them in Bologna?
We have observed an important change in the audience recently, with new generations and a much wider public now attending. Many of the spectators have not experienced all the great films of the past on a big screen, which amounts to not having seen them. The 1922 strand offers the possibility to discover Salomé, La Femme de nulle part, Robin Hood or Die Gezeichneten and many more films in a proper projection on a cinema screen (and Nosferatu or Foolish Wives on the giant screen of Piazza Maggiore). To know what cinema is about, it is crucial to view films as they were meant to be seen, in their proper theatrical setting and with the full impact of the luminous image on a big screen. This holds especially true for the films of 1922, which experiment in different ways to enlarge cinema’s potential of expression, of aesthetic and emotional effect. There were also technical innovations, such as the new 9.5mm format, which changed the world of amateur film forever. We will celebrate the 1922 launch of the Pathé Baby in the festival section Great Small Gauges. As we do every year, we have inserted newsreel footage to nudge you to inform yourself about the contemporary political situation and we have been also on the lookout for good shorts. The most beautiful film in the entire festival may be the British advertisement Changing Hues from 1922. But let’s discuss that after the festival.

Mariann Lewinsky and Karl Wratschko