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July 3, 2017 / bikesbytesbites

Cinema Ritrovato (Rediscovered Cinema)

For the past 31 years, Bologna has held the Cinema Ritrovato film festival.  The festival is dedicated to showing lost films and/or those that have recently been restored. It’s sponsored by the Cineteca di Bologna.


For most of the people I spoke with, it’s a technical conference, and they were attending sessions related to the technologies and methodologies of film restoration, or case studies of a restoration, or meeting colleagues from other countries.  For me, it was a vacation.  As I said to someone I was standing on line with, it’s truly ironic that I had to come to Italy to see a bunch of American movies. But there I was. And it was worth the trip.

Ok, I saw a few films that weren’t American. But the programs that interested me most were presentations of American movies, including some of my favorites, some I hadn’t seen before, and some I had only seen on late night TV. Of course, I didn’t get to practice my Italian by seeing American movies, except by reading the Italian sub-titles (and noticing how most of the nuances of slang were lost in the translation.) The major attractions:

  • Technicolor. Wow! Even one from 1939! And Rancho Notorious!
  • Douglas Sirk. Yes, I’ve seen them. Yes, I would see them again.
  • Robert Mitchum. Extraordinary. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get a print of Thunder Road, but River of No Return did just fine.
  • Rediscovered and Restored.  Pre-code US talkies from the early 30’s.

Anyhow, in 8 days, I saw more movies than I had in the preceding 6 months of 2017.  Here’s the complete list (in the order in which I saw them):

Film Year Review/Comments
The Graduate 1967 Still a great film. Worth re-seeing
The Story of GI Joe 1946 Ok for what it is – Robert Mitchum
Collette – shorts 1910 Historical interest only
Divine 1935 Written by Colette; historical interest mostly
Fish is Fish (cartoon) 1917 Katzenhammer Kids; still works
Le Mogli e le Arrance 1917 Italian; fascinating
Out of the Past 1947 Worth seeing again
Trouble in Paradise 1932 Pre-code Lubitsch; wonderful
River of no Return 1954 Mitchum and Monroe; worth seeing
The Trial of Vivienne Ware 1932 Excellent; similar source material to Chicago
Outside the Law 1930 Worth seeing
Transatlantic 1932 Good caper and human interest
La Fete à Henriette 1952 Horrible; walked out; way too meta
The Road Back 1937 Director James Whale; great cast and story/Germany post WW I
Bandido! 1956 Good Mitchum; Gilbert Roland
Madchen in Uniform 1931 Fascinating
A Wonderful Country 1959 Gets better as it goes along; buffalo soldiers
Written on the Wind 1956 Sirk; absolutely
Wise Blood 1979 Huston; no; too strange
The Asphalt Jungle 1950 Good to re-see in a theatre
The Patsy 1928 Marion Davies; bleh
Zéro de Conduite 1933 Vigo; contrast with Madchen in Uniform
Sensation Seekers 1927 Directed and written by Lois Weber; ok
All that Heaven Allows 1955 Sirk! Technicolor
Becoming Cary Grant 2017 Excellent documentary
Destination Unknown 1933 Spoiler – Not too subtle Christ analogy; great cast
By Candlelight 1933 Cute
Rancho Notorious 1952 Excellent Dietrich and Arthur Kennedy
Nice Girls don’t stay for Breakfast 2017 Bruce Weber; unfinished? So-so
Drums along the Mohawk 1939 John Ford, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver; technicolor
Le Crime de Monsieur Lange 1936 Grows on you; great last shot
Neighbors; The Goat 1920 Buster Keaton; amazing stunts
Lumière brothers shorts 1897 Cinema Anno 2 (!!)
La Roue – Prologue 1923 Abel Gance; train wreck! color!
Let’s Get Lost 1988 Documentary on Chet Baker; not a fan of Bruce Weber


Leave a Comment
  1. Sue / Jul 3 2017 7:34 pm

    Sounds like a great week. Did they show Dawson City there? If you missed it, it should be showing in DC soon.

    • bikesbytesbites / Jul 3 2017 9:59 pm

      No Dawson City. I’ll be checking for it. In the Documentaries track, Becoming Cary Grant was my favorite.

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