This past weekend in Rome, hundreds of performers and crew members staged a spectacular protest on the Piazza del Popolo, calling on the Italian government to reopen cinemas, theaters, and music venues. The city of Bologna and its renowned Cineteca are counting on that happening by midsummer and have announced that the thirty-fifth edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato, one of the world’s foremost festivals of new restorations and discoveries, will take place in indoor and outdoor theaters from July 20 through 27. For those still hesitant to mingle with fellow cinephiles, a selection from the program will be available on a virtual platform.
The Cineteca di Bologna is offering a sneak peek at the highlights of this year’s lineup, which naturally includes such beloved Il Cinema Ritrovato standards as strands devoted to the cinema of a hundred years ago and to Buster Keaton. But there will also be a retrospective dedicated to the work of George Stevens, who directed Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Swing Time (1936); Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun (1951), the film that won Stevens his first Oscar; Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur in Shane (1953); and Taylor again, along with James Dean and Rock Hudson, in Giant (1956), for which the director won his second Oscar. If you find your curiosity piqued, George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey, a documentary that his son, George Stevens Jr., made in 1984, is on the Criterion Channel and features interviews with Astaire and Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, and fellow directors Frank Capra, John Huston, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
Mankiewicz’s brother, Herman J., is not only the subject of David Fincher’s Mank but also of one of three tributes this year. The other two are Romy Schneider, in a program curated by Volker Schlöndorff, and Aldo Fabrizi, the actor, director, screenwriter, and comedian best known outside of Italy for appearing as the priest in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (1945). Ritrovato 2021 will also feature a “Fritz Lang Dossier”; a strand dedicated to India’s Parallel Cinema, which will likely feature work by such directors as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Bimal Roy, and Mrinal Sen; and another spotlighting work on Super 8 and 16 mm. We can look forward to more details on the program—and hopefully, a waning and ultimate cessation of this pandemic’s third wave in Europe—in the coming weeks.
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