Is FilMarilyn by Paolo Gioli the last film with Marilyn Monroe? Is Rose Hobart by Joseph Cornell the definitive version of Universal’s 1931 film East of Borneo? Does Judy Garland sing her most beautiful song in Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy by Martin Arnold? And, is La verifica incerta by Grifi and Baruchello the greatest all star film of all time, or not? Without expecting any revisions of definitive biographies and complete filmographies, during Re-Action!, the second edition of cinema2, the answer is «yes». It is as if the actors, whether divas or forgotten, had given more than that which the films were capable of grasping and placing in a shot, story, or sense. It is as if something else remained, an inconsistency, an instant (or, in the case of the stars, a myth) which other gazes have managed to glimpse.
cinema2 is the section of Il Cinema Ritrovato dedicated to «film without a camera», to those films made completely (or prevalently) by editing and reworking preexistent images, from all times and every genre. The original images are reprinted, edited, compared, analyzed, criticized, blown-up, colored, scratched, sped up, slowed down... From highly respectful compilations to the thunderous recycling of experimental cinema, the cinema2 project aims to represent the attempt to merge history and novelty, to mix philology and fantasy.
The new edition of cinema2 will begin with the screening of another segment of Back to the origins, the program from 2001 dedicated to reuse of images from silent films. One year ago, teasing at the screen and in our regrets was a still unfinished film which would have been perfect... Now, one year later, here it is Film Ist. 7-12 by Gustav Deutsch, the opening event for this section.
The films of Re-Action! range from devoted tributes and idolatry (founder Rose Hobart) to parody and masquerade (such as I Was a Male Yvonne de Carlo by Jack Smith, which will bring the screenings to a close, and in which the diva leaves the floor to her followers en travesti). Philological reconstructions, experimental variations on the iconography of a star, testing the boundaries between cinema and video art and performance. The cast? Marilyn (who makes a number of appearances), Rock Hudson, Mickey Rooney, Rita Hayworth, Barbara Hershey, Fred Astaire, Orson Welles, Renée Falconetti, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Catherine Deneuve...
The opening of each program will furthermore host objects of the most disparate and eccentric nature, because the image of an actor can survive and change not only through direct recycling, like the funeral starring Rudolph Valentino, or screen tests of Katherine Hepburn and John Barrymore, or like Oona’s Veil by Bryan Frye, cinema2’s tribute to the «Chaplin Project», made with a screen test which Chaplin shot of his future wife Oona O’Neill.
Re-Action!, under the sign of the actor, of film moments which have never given it all, gazes which run after ghosts who have no intention of being driven away, neither from the screen nor from our obsessions.
Pauline de Raymond, Sergio Fant, Paolo Simoni