Italian cinema used to be the best in the world for a quarter of a century, from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. Its level was so high, the names Fellini, Visconti, Antonioni, and a later Pasolini and Bertolucci sounded so loud, that almost all the excellent directors, whose films are presented in this programme, were pushed into the second row. But this ‘second row’ could be the first for any other cinematography. Ermanno Olmi and the Taviani brothers presented on screen the world of Italian folk culture, including rural culture, preserved a relict image in a society of total consumption. The brilliant comedian Dino Risi gave examples of sophisticated eroticism. And two grand dames of Italian cinema - Lina Wertmüller and Liliana Cavani - have enriched its history with masterpieces of directing long before the ‘female gaze’ has begun to be practiced. The Night Porter, The Night of the Shooting Stars, How Funny Can Sex Be? are all big films from the era of classical which seems to be gone forever. This year we are presenting digitized and restored copies of those outstanding titles, given to the festival by the leading Italian cinematheques.
Andrey Plakhov