The Century of Cinema: 1901

The miracle of cinema makes it possible to join the Bolognese audience of 1901 and see what they saw in the Royal Cinematograph Lumière in Via Rizzoli 13. But what is cinematography in 1901? The inexhaustible fascination of captured reality as in the ‘views’ of the frères Lumière or of the Mutoscope & Biograph, which were screened internationally or in the films of UK-based Mitchell & Kenyon who catered to local audiences. The exuberant irreality of surprising tricks bringing the art of magic to new levels. A heuristic pleasure principle revealed in comic sketches of male preoccupations, just as in Vienna Sigmund Freud was publishing his theories of the unconscious revealed by dreams, Freudian slips and jokes. British pioneers R.W. Paul and James Williamson made films of advanced technical and narrative sophistication, and Ferdinand Zecca, who had just joined Pathé frères, launched a new genre that would sweep away Early Cinema a few years later: drama. As at any other moment, there is more to cinematography in 1901 than entertainment: with a camera given by Léon Gaumont, French diplomat Auguste François started a unique visual documentation of life in Southern China.
Curated by Karl Wratschko and Mariann Lewinsky

The Century of Cinema: 1901

One Hundred Years Ago: 1921

1921 turned out to be a surprising vintage, a meeting point of ‘not yet’ and ‘already’. Top directors Ernst Lubitsch (Die Bergkatze) and Victor Sjöström (Körkalen) are still working in Europe; soon they will have left for Hollywood. Weimar Cinema (discovery: Die Ratten by Hanns Kobe) and avant-garde movements (Ruttmann and Richter) already make their mark, but Soviet production has not yet picked up. This probably explains why Gosfilmofond is able to offer us unique prints of imported films from its collection, works not seen in decades, such as Sessue Hayakawa’s The Swamp and ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle’s mythical Crazy to Marry, his last release before scandal and Will Hays abruptly transformed the popular idol into a non-person. Stars such as Alla Nazimova (Camille) and Henny Porten (Hintertreppe) not only continued their acting careers in 1921, they were also their own independent producers. When it comes to comedy, 1921 was an especially wonderful year, with extraordinary performers (Arbuckle, Biscot, Chaplin, Hardy, Keaton, Laurel and Larry Semon) intent on making us laugh, all of us together – once again.
Curated by Karl Wratschko and Mariann Lewinsky

One Hundred Years Ago: 1921

In a Maze of Images. The Tomijiro Komiya Collection

A time-capsule of the first golden age of European cinema. A hundred years ago in Tokyo, a young man was collecting distribution prints of European films. What remained of this legendary collection was donated to the National Film Center (now National Film Archive of Japan) in 1990 and was duplicated on safety stock. Ever since, precious Komiya prints have enriched Il Cinema Ritrovato’s sections on Genina, Grémillon, Capellani and Frusta. But it is high time to revisit the collection of Tomijiro Komiya as a subject in its own right. In fact, much of it has never been screened anywhere in the world. So enter the maze and be prepared to fall under the spell of old dreams and mysteries, of dazzling colours and suggestive glimpses of mostly lost films.
Curated by Hiroshi Komatsu, Mariann Lewinsky and Karl Wratschko
Co-organizer: National Film Archive of Japan

In a Maze of Images. The Tomijiro Komiya Collection

Documents and documentaries

For over a year travelling has seemed to be a thing of the past, so if you come to Bologna this year we promise to take you on a trip across the continents on screen. From Italy to Central America (Dall’Italia all’Equador) will show you life in Latin America in the 1920s, Empire in the Sun (L’impero del sole) captures 1950s Peru in Ferraniacolor, while Mario Fantin – a mountain climber born 100 years ago who was also an ethnographer, filmmaker and the creator of a massive work of documentation – will take you around the world. Of his many films we will show you his legendary 1954 record of Ardito Desio’s expedition to K2. We’ll take trips across time and space but also across films with compilation movies, like the two new pictures by a master of this art, Bill Morrison, The Village Detective: Song Cycle and Buried News. Plus mesmerising portraits of Chaplin, Louis de Funès, John Farrow, Lotte Eisner and the fatal encounter of two couples: Montand & Signoret and Monroe & Miller.
Curated by Gian Luca Farinelli

Documents and documentaries