A Sunday in Bologna

Programme and notes curated by Alexander Payne e Neil McGlone


Sunday is the traditional day of rest and worship, so what better place to spend a Sunday in Bologna than in the cinema enjoying great movies? Many over time have compared churches to cinemas, but, as Lev Trockij said in 1923, the cinema “liberates you from the need of crossing the church door” since it “amuses, educates, and strikes the imagination by images. The cinema is a great competitor not only of the tavern but also the church. Here is an instrument which we must secure at all costs!”.
We discussed collaborating on a series for the festival two years ago, with an initial idea of early Scandinavian film noir. A few days later on the telephone, Alexander said he’d had a dream the previous night that we should choose films with Sunday in the title. Initially thinking it an unorthodox concept for Il Cinema Ritrovato, but inspired by our mutual love for Menschen am Sonntag and Domenica d’agosto, we proposed it to Gian Luca Farinelli.
After months of researching films with ‘Sunday’ in the title, we drew up an extensive list but then decided to limit the selection to films that actually took place on Sunday as well.
Our list complete, we set about our favourite task in the world – watching movies – and narrowed our ‘boutique’ selection to the six features and three shorts presented in this year’s festival.
Our journey takes us from the cradle of sound film innovation with Machatýs Ze soboty na neděli (1931) to Robert Gliński’s chilling debut Niedzielne igraszki sixty years later. The series includes films from the neorealist and Czech New Wave periods to the cinéma vérité of Dan Drasin’s groundbreaking short Sunday (1961). Mix in a sprinkling of French poetic cinema, a brooding British post-war drama, a dash of early Jacques Tati, and we think you’ll agree it’s a fine recipe for a Sunday at the movies.
So take your seats and enjoy a warm sunny Sunday in the cathedral where we particular faithful come regularly to worship: the cinema.

Alexander Payne and Neil McGlone


Photo: Domenica d’agosto by Luciano Emmer (1950)