9 “views” of Venice and Luigi Comencini’s Tutti a casa (1960)
One hundred twenty years ago – and precisely on the night of July 9th, 1896 – the Cinématographe Lumière made its first appearance in Venice, with the screening of a programme composed of 15 “views”, held just a step away from Piazza San Marco at the Teatro Minerva. It was not until the following August 21st that for the first time the screening also introduced 3 films made in Venice: Arrival of a gondola at Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Vaporetti at Rialto and The Legendary Pigeons of San Marco, which were followed by others in the days to come.
To celebrate this important anniversary, on the Pre-opening night of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (Tuesday August 30th, at 8:30 pm) in the Sala Darsena on the Lido, the public gathered to celebrate Comencini’s one-hundredth birthday, prior to the screening of the previously announced restored version of Luigi Comencini’s Tutti a casa, is invited to enjoy the programme of nine “views” made in Venice by the operators of the Cinématographe Lumière, commented in the theatre by the Director of the Institut Lumière of Lyon, Thierry Fremaux.
The films, which were made over three consecutive years (1896-98), are:
Arrivée en gondole, 1896, N°291
Pigeons sur la place Saint-Marc, N°292
Tramway sur le Grand Canal, 1896, N°293
Grand Canal avec barques, 1896, N°294
Panorama du Grand Canal pris d’un bateau, 1896, N°295
Panorama de la place Saint-Marc pris d’un bateau, N°296
Venise, place Saint-Marc, 1897, N°430
Arrivée en gondole des souveraines d’Allemagne et d’Italie au palais royal de Venise, 1898, N°1058
Départ en gondole, 1898, N°1059
The Biennale di Venezia wishes to thank Thierry Fremaux and the Institut Lumière for their valuable collaboration, as well as the Alliance française and Carlo Montanaro of La Fabbrica del Vedere in Venice.
The screening of the “views” will be followed, for the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the great director Luigi Comencini (1916 – 2007), by the previously announced screening of Comencini‘s masterpiece Tutti a casa (Everybody Go Home, Italy/France, 1960) starring Alberto Sordi, Serge Reggiani, Carla Gravina and Eduardo De Filippo, produced by Dino De Laurentiis, for the world premiere of the digitallyrestored copy by Filmauro and CSC – Cineteca Nazionale di Roma.
Venetian audiences will be invited to the special Pre-opening tribute-night at the Sala Darsena on the Lido, beginning at 8:30 pm, thanks to the collaboration with the daily newspapers “Il Gazzettino”, “La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre” and “Il Corriere del Veneto”.
To attend the screening on the tribute-night in Sala Darsena free of charge, interested viewers can pick up their invitation at Ca’ Giustinian (San Marco 1364/a) or at the Lido (Bar Al Leone d’oro, on the corner of the Palazzo del Cinema on the side of Via Candia) starting on the afternoon of Friday August 26th through Tuesday August 30th (from 10 am – 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm) simply by presenting the coupon published from Friday 26th to Monday 29th August on “Il Gazzettino” or “La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre” (or, for online subscribers, by displaying the paid digital edition on their smartphones or tablets) or by following the instructions published on the “Corriere del Veneto” from Friday August 26th through Tuesday August 30th.
· For information on available invitations call +39 041 2726505
· Each coupon is good for one invitation for the free admission of one person to the screening
· Invitations will be distributed on a first come first served basis for the number of seats reserved for each newspaper
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The 73rd Venice International Film Festival will be held on the Lido from August 31st to September 10th 2016 directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.
Tutti a casa by Luigi Comencini is one of the most famous and successful examples of what made the “commedia all’italiana” immortal: the blend of comedy and drama, of real and grotesque, of courage and determination to survive. Comencini, with the autobiographical complicity of the two great screenwriters Age and Scarpelli and the bitter laughs provoked by the remarkable performance of Alberto Sordi, tells the story of the chaos that ensued on September 8th 1943, when Badoglio signed the armistice and the soldiers loyal to the King and Mussolini were abandoned to their own destinies, to face many dangers alone. In the film, Alberto Sordi, on the phone under German gunfire, asks his superiors: “Colonel, Sir, this is Lieutenant Innocenzi, something amazing just happened, the Germans have become allies of the Americans. What are we supposed to do?”
Tutti a casa is a “road movie” across the ruins and confusion reigning in Italy at that time, when the soldiers had no one to give them orders and one after another they decided to head back home: tutti a casa, everybody go home. In the story, Second Lieutenant Alberto Innocenzi (Sordi), who is used to obeying and not answering back, is abandoned by his soldiers and flees from north to south with his sick friend, the Neapolitan military engineer Ceccarelli (Serge Reggiani). He runs into German soldiers eager for retaliation who shoot at them, witnesses the odyssey of a Jewish girl attempting to escape (for whom a young Venetian soldier gives his life), meets an American prisoner hiding in an attic, is united with his father (Eduardo De Filippo) who wants to send him back to the Fascist army, until the final redemption during the 4 days of Naples. At the time Comencini stated: “On the 8th of September, people were abandoned to themselves, and that is what I wanted to describe”. The film was a box office hit, bringing in over a billion lire in ticket sales.
Luigi Comencini (1916-2007) who was awarded a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 1987 by the Biennale di Venezia, is considered one of the greatest masters of Italian-style comedy, as well as “the children’s director“. Among his comedies, his first masterpiece was Pane, amore e fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams, 1953), with Gina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica, winner of the Silver Bear in Berlin, the prototype for what is known as “neorealismo rosa” and one of the highest-grossing films in the history of Italian cinema, followed over the years by other hit comedies such as Pane, amore e gelosia (Bread, Love and Jealousy, 1954), Mariti in città (Husbands in the City, 1957), Lo scopone scientifico (The Scientific Cardplayer, 1957) and Mio Dio, come sono caduta in basso! (Till Marriage Do Us Part, 1974).
Comencini addressed the theme of childhood early on in 1946 with Bambini in città, his first short documentary (which won an award in Venice and a Nastro d’argento), while Proibito rubare (Hey Boy, 1948), set among the street children in Naples, was his first feature-length film. His significant production of films on the theme of “childhood” continued with La finestra sul Luna Park (The Window to Luna Park, 1956), Incompreso (Misunderstood, 1966, in competition at Cannes and winner of a David di Donatello), Voltati Eugenio (1980, presented at the Venice Film Festival), Un ragazzo di Calabria (A Boy from Calabria, 1987, in competition in Venice) and Marcellino pane e vino (1991) his last film directed with his daughter Francesca. Also worthy of note are his versions of two classics of children’s literature, such as Le avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio, 1972) and Cuore (1984).
A co-founder in 1935 with Alberto Lattuada and Mario Ferrari of the Cineteca italiana in Milan, Comencini directed a total of forty feature-length films, excluding his documentaries, screenplays, and investigative reports for Rai television. He experimented with many genres other than comedy, such as murder mysteries (La donna della domenica, The Sunday Woman, 1975), melodrama (Incompreso, 1966), literary films (La ragazza di Bube, 1963), period films (Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova veneziano, 1974), film-operas (La Bohème, 1987), but also experimented with more particular films (Cercasi Gesù, 1982, winner of a Nastro d’argento). In an interview he granted in the early 1980s, Comencini declared that he was willing to defend ten of his films, that “would never have seen the light of day if I had not made other flawed films, wholly or in part. But I have never made a film in bad faith”.
On June 10th, 1940, Italy declared war: the echoes of the conflict were heard at the Venice Film Festival, though in terms that were still triumphant. The Minister Alessandro Pavolini came to Venice, to participate in a special screening for the soldiers at the Teatro Rossini: “When he appeared on the central stage”, reports the announcer, “the 500 soldiers that crowded the theatre jumped to their feet to acclaim him. A salute to the king and to the Duce introduced the world premiere screening of the festival dedicated with brotherly solidarity to our soldiers on land, sea and sky”.
Rigorous climate of war at the Venice Film Festival, in which “seventeen nations which embrace all of Europe in its active, healthy, working part”, says the announcer. The clip shows Ministers Pavolini and Goebbels at a performance reserved for the armed forces and the screening of the German film Ritorno.
The first post-war Venice Film Festival espoused the “principle of quality”, “which alone can inspire the new civilization for which millions and millions of men fought and died”, says the announcer. In the film clip from the Archivio Storico Luce we can see, among others, the first President of the Italian Republic Enrico De Nicola, the Minister Pietro Nenni, the President of the Biennale Giovanni Ponti, Count Zorzi and Massimo Bontempelli. The inaugural event features screenings of the documentary films L’Italia s’é desta and Blood and Sand by Rouben Mamoulian. “People in cinema”, recites the clip, “made peace long ago with Italy, and the programme of the Venice Film Festival is here to prove it: Great Britain, Russia, the United States, France and Sweden have sent the best of their production”.
Alida Valli in the Sala Grande in 1946 for the presentation of Eugenia Grandet (Eugenie Grandet) by Mario Soldati: the first edition after the War was a temporary festival that awarded no prizes, just a series of special mentions.
In 1948 the Venice Film Festival returned to the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido, after temporarily moving to its location in the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. “The honour of opening the Festival”, says the announcer, “went at random to the English film The Red Shoes, by Powell and Pressburger. The most prestigious film competition in the world promises this year to be of exceptional importance”.
1948: twenty-nine year old Giulio Andreotti, Under-secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, attends one of the screenings at the Venice Film Festival. That year Hamlet by Laurence Olivier triumphed as Best Film and Jean Simmons, in the role of Ophelia, won the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress.
The Shah of Persia visits Venice for the Film Festival, from the “monumental” city to the “resort” area on the Lido. The clip also shows Anna Magnani, the star of Roberto Rossellini’s Amore, Orson Welles, Lea Padovani.
Orson Welles and Darryl F. Zanuck on the beach on the Lido in 1948. Welles was in Venice to present Macbeth in competition, Zanuck was producing The Snake Pit by Anatole Litvak, which the following year would win the Coppa Volpi as Best Actress for Olivia de Havilland.
The Biennale di Venezia announces a new title in the lineup of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (August 31st – September 10th), presented in collaboration with the Giornate degli Autori – Venice Days.
It is the documentary film by Enrico Caria The Man Who Didn’t Change History, freely inspired by the diaries of archaeologist and art historian Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, “Il viaggio del Fuehrer in Italia”, and made with the images from the archives of Istituto Luce – Cinecittà.
“Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli is a renowned figure among Italian art historians and archaeologists,” declared Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival. “A lesser-known fact is that, forced to serve as a guide for Hitler and Mussolini during the Nazi leader’s trip to Italy, he considered the idea of organizing an assassination attempt to get rid of the two unwelcome dictators. Caria reconstructs the incredible affair with irony and documentary precision, raising questions that continue to be relevant today”.
“I am thankful to Alberto Barbera,” says Giorgio Gosetti, director of the Giornate degli Autori – Venice Days, “for having agreed to let us join him in an event that not only highlights Enrico Caria’s vivid talent, but opens up a chapter in Italian history that has much to teach our present time. The protection of Italy’s historical legacy, the power of beauty versus the brutality of dictatorship, the figure of a great intellectual such as archaeologist Bianchi Bandinelli, and the paradoxical affair with Mussolini and Hitler, are all elements of cultural and political consideration to which this fictional documentary (rigorous, however, in its use of sources) gives extraordinary relevance”.
Enrico Caria is an Italian director, writer and journalist. Born in Rome (1957), he has worked as a cartoonist and journalist for “Paese Sera”, “Cuore” “Repubblica”, “L’Unità”, “Il Mattino”, “Il Fatto quotidiano”, “Le Iene”. He is a screenwriter for radio, television and cinema. He has directed dark or satirical comedies (17, ovvero: l’incredibile e triste storia del cinico Rudy Caino, Carogne, Blek Giek, L’era legale) and the docu-film Vedi Napoli e poi muori. He has published two books “Bandidos” (for Feltrinelli) and “L’uomo che cambiava idee” (for Rizzoli).
Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli (Siena, 1900 – Rome, 1975), an archaeologist and art historian, contributed significantly to renewing the study of archaeology and ancient art in Italy, in tune with the European culture of his time. In the 1930s he taught archaeology at the universities of Cagliari, Pisa, Groningen (Holland) and Florence. In 1935 he founded the “Critica d’arte” review (1935) with Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti. In 1938 he was commissioned by the Ministry of Popular Culture to serve as a guide for Adolf Hitler during his visit to Rome and Florence. He later accepted to hold lectures in Germany and to guide Hermann Goering during his visit to Rome. The following year he refused the offer to direct the Italian Archaeological School in Athens, which had just dismissed its Jewish director Alessandro Della Seta, and in 1942 refused the offer by the Ministry to teach the “History of Italian Civilization” in Berlin. He then demonstrated his definitive opposition to Fascism by joining the clandestine liberal-socialist movement (which later developed into the Partito d’Azione). After the war and through 1964, he taught at the University of Rome. He founded the magazine “Società” (1947). His many publications include: Storicità dell’arte classica (1943), Archeologia e cultura (1961), Dal diario di un borghese (1962), Rome: The Center of Power, 500 B.C. to A.D. 200 (1969), Rome: The Late Empire, Roman Art A.D. 200–400 (1970).
The 73rd Venice International Film Festival will be held on the Lido from August 31st to September 10th 2016, directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.