Wednesday 30 June 2021

All the Films of Il Cinema Ritrovato 2021

Bologna getting ready for Il Cinema Ritrovato XXXV

All the titles programmed for Il Cinema Ritrovato XXXV, listed by the year of production:

Saturday 26 June 2021

Nattlek (Mai Zetterling, 1966)


Nattlek [Night Games] (Mai Zetterling, 1966)

Actors: Keve Hjelm, Ingrid Thulin, Jörgen Lindström, Naima Wifstrand, Lena Brundin

In this compelling work of cinematic rigour, a man returns to his childhood country home, accompanied by his fiancée. In flashbacks, we learn of his troubled relationship with his mother, who is also the object of his sexual fantasies. Living a sybaritic life, the mother hosts one party after another, the guests resembling characters from a nightmare or circus, completed by a jazz band (the ensemble featuring well-known Swedish musicians Jan Johansson and Georg Riedel). The present is woven into these scenes from the past which, rather than offering simple reminiscences, provide explanations for the behavioural traits of the leading character.

This second feature by actor-turned-director Mai Zetterling, after the remarkably accomplished, if highly scandalous Loving Couples, is arguably even more controversial. Described by some as "pornographic" (accusers included the former child star Shirley Temple), it is in fact one of the most intelligent and sincere studies of the agonies of puberty; the story of a young boy surrounded and troubled by women.

Thursday 17 June 2021

Cinemas in Antonioni's Films

Cine Romolo in La signora senza camelie (1954)
Walden Cinema (?) in Saffron, UK, in I Vinti (1953)

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Cuadecuc Vampir (Pere Portabella, 1970)

Cuadecuc Vampir

This note was written on the occasion of the screening of Cuadecuc Vampir at Il Cinema Ritrovato 2020 where Mr. Portabella's scheduled and much-anticipated attendance was cancelled due to the Covid crises. Fortunately, he managed to participate via Zoom and Esteve Riambau engaged in a conversation with him which you can view over here. — EK

Duke Ellington disliked the term jazz, instead preferring "beyond category" when referring to any type of musical accomplishment. This mesmerising tour de force of audio-visual etching by Catalan filmmaker Portabella, which plays with but shrewdly eschews experimental filmmaking, underground cinema, documentary film, behind-the-scenes film and even fiction, is strictly Dukish in being "beyond category".

The Spanish genre director Jesús Franco was churning out one of his more expensive horror flicks (El conde Drácula), starring Christopher Lee, when Portabella, who was present on the set, made his own film based on the events. Cuadecuc Vampir is a film about images being constructed (with fake fog and cobwebs), and about Bram Stoker's Dracula. It is far more eerie and haunting than not only Franco's film, but anything since Dreyer's Vampyr. It is also a film of political metaphors, the kind one would expect being made under Franco's dictatorship.