Every June, the northern Italian city of Bologna becomes the capital of cinephilia when it hosts Il Cinema Ritrovato, a celebration of film history with an emphasis on newly restored and rediscovered films. Launched in 1986 as a relatively modest, three-day affair, the festival has grown to become one the biggest showcases of its kind in the world. This year, around 500 films will screen over nine days through July 1.
The event is organized by the Cineteca di Bologna, one of the world’s major film archives, whose L’Immagine Ritrovata lab has been restoring and preserving the legacy of cinema for over twenty-five years. Its restorations regularly premiere at major festivals such as Cannes and Venice before heading out to repertory theaters around the world.
The Cineteca has also worked closely with this year’s guest at the festival, Martin Scorsese, whose Film Foundation, founded in 1990, has rescued neglected films from around the globe. Tomorrow night, following his conversation with Italian filmmakers Jonas Carpignano, Matteo Garrone, Valeria Golino, and Alice Rohrwacher, Scorsese will introduce a screening of the new restoration of Mexican filmmaker Emilio Fernández’s Enamorada (1946). A loose adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew in which an aristocratic woman catches the eye of a revolutionary general, Enamorada is probably best known for Gabriel Figueroa’s striking black-and-white cinematography.
As Ehsan Khoshbakht, one of the festival’s directors, points out, the 2018 lineup spans 130 years of film history, from Étienne-Jules Marey’s Anguille (1888) through to new documentaries on Ingmar Bergman, André Bazin, and May ’68. Each year, the festival devotes a program to films released 100 years ago, and the selections from 1918 include work by Charles Chaplin and Louis Feuillade as well as Joseph Golden’s Wolves of Kultur, a fifteen-episode serial jointly restored by fifteen archives. It’s a tale of espionage and intrigue pitting Americans against their enemies in a struggle for control of a newfangled radio-controlled torpedo. There’s also a diverse program of short films made in 1898, “Year Three of Cinematography,” featuring work by the Lumière Brothers and Georges Méliès.
Other programs focus on names rather than dates. Marcello Mastroianni is the face of this year’s Il Cinema Ritrovato, and the selection of nine films ranges from some of his most famous performances—in Pietro Germi’s Divorce Italian Style (1961), for example—to less widely seen work, such as the film that most credit with launching his career, Giuseppe De Santis’s Days of Love (1954).
The ongoing Keaton Project, launched in 2015, will present four of Buster’s features from the early 1920s, and there’ll be programs devoted to the work of Hollywood director John M. Stahl, studio founder William Fox, editor Cécile Decugis (who worked with Godard and Truffaut), actor-turned-director Yılmaz Güney, “pink neorealist” Luciano Emmer, documentary filmmaker Ella Bergmann-Michel, and neglected Italian director Marcello Pagliero. National cinemas will also be celebrated, as the festival revisits Chinese films from the 1940s and Soviet talkies from 1934.
The riches just pile on and on, and besides the screenings, there’ll be panel discussions and the presentation of the fifteenth annual Il Cinema Ritrovato DVD Awards. Keep an eye out for dispatches from David Cairns and Pamela Hutchinson from what will be, for the next nine days, the capital of cinephilia.
For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.