The academic works by Luigi Di Gianni, Liliana Cavani and Amidio Greco
Luigi Di Gianni, Liliana Cavani and Amidio Greco’s program “Studiare da regista: i saggi accademici” (“Studying as filmmaker: academic essays”) had been suggested in “Appunti sulla regia cinematografica” (“Notes on film direction”) by Umerto Barbaro and Antonio Pietrangeli, a draft which had remained unpublished for a long time, and in which there was the message to “warn” future movie directors on “studying film’s problems and building up an incitement for these enthusiastic researches”.
Written in 1943, a very crucial year for the World’s destiny and for Italian cinema as well –the same year of Obsession by Luchino Visconti, which conventionally opened the neorealistic season – it contained in its deep ingenuity some of the suggestions that would have been adopted by the students of the the Experimental Cinematography Centre, founded by Barbaro with Alessandro Blasetti and Luigi Chiarini.
Here Barbaro had been both a teacher and a theorist for about ten years, having translated in particular works by Pudovkin and Ejzenštein. . . These names may not mean much to young people, but they had indeed been protagonists of Italian cinema for a long time. Blasetti began his career when sound film did not even exist and lived through all the phases of national cinema, often anticipating its themes and movements – telefoni bianchi (white telephones) kolossals on the regime propaganda, neorealistic films, sophisticated comedies and then inquiry films. – until he experimented television as well at the end of the ‘70s. Meanwhile, Chiarini -who had started off as a promising movie director and had taken part in the calligraphistic movement of the ‘40s, shifted his attention to the cinematographic institutions and presiding the Venice Film Festival throughout the ‘60s, until the protest of 1968. Therefore they had been men who, with their idea of cinema, had founded one of the best cinema schools in the world. Just like Lizzani wrote – quoting Pietrangeli – their intention was to find “new energies… young people who believe in cinema and feeling it as a vocation, who have in themselves the ferment of a world which can be already clearly expressed… people who love a form of reality which is set out of any conventional formalism and landscape rethoric”. Luigi Di Gianni, Liliana Cavani and Emidio Greco were among the young people who were able to inherit these principally aesthetic requests especially from the mid‘50’s and for about ten years.
The choice fell upon them because, differently from other directors, they literally interpreted one of the capital dictations of the Barbaro-Pietrangeli duo: “Basically, the director has to organize his film not starting from an actual script, but only from a draft”. And from this idea they had been able to manage, since their first trials, an establishment of a coherent artistic policy.
This adhered pretty much to those embryonic ideas so far in time, which would soon show, under an historical upside-down perspective, how their filmographies would develop. . In rapid succession, suggesting to refer to the bibliography for a deeper analysis, for Luigi Di Gianni this will mean a concise confrontation with Kafka’s novels and stories, even through his ethnic-documentaristic, theatrical and television excursions (it’s not a coincidence that the prologue in 1978’s Il processo “The trial” looks so much like the 1954’s academic exercise L’arresto “The arrest”).
The main Italian television channel, state-owned Rai, would be the promoter both for Cavani and Greco. The former entered the authorial ambient of politics at its beginnings, invented by the producers in the ‘60’s, following it irregularly upon a double track. After some inquiries for television, filmed simultaneously with her scholastic performances, Incontro di notte “Night encounter” and La battaglia “The battle”, she realized an poor and humble cinema, filled with inspirations from Greek and Indian myths (like 1966’s Francesco, I cannibali, “The cannibals”, Milarepa), together with a cinema which could compete with European and American great productions (Portiere di notte, “Night porter” Al di la` del bene e del male, “Beyond good and evil” La pelle “Skin”).
This path was conveniently avoided by Greco, who chose instead to undergo, under the influence of some masters such as Godard and Rossellini, some possible literary and dramaturgical breaches, especially the ones suggested by Borges, in a movie context. He worked upon an accumulation of materials, miscellaneous and coming from different places, starting from the criticizing spirit of the ‘60’s in a tone more explicit than the one expressed by Cavani and Di Gianni. This inclination is particularly expressed in Uno, due, tre “One, two, three” during the final and joyous Roman walk, supported by the Rolling Stones music, by Delia Boccardo, a student at the Experimental Centre who will have quite a career as an actress. Three years later, a similar scene was, for the easy-going Ninetto Davoli in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Sequenza del fiore di Carta “The sequence of a paper flower”, the proclamation of the end of every illusion, with the bombs, the machine gun and cannon shots, which overshadow his run along the streets of the capital city.
Director: Luigi Di Gianni
Italy / 1954 / 30’
INCONTRO DI NOTTE
Director: Liliana Cavani
Italy / 1961 / 10’
Director: Liliana Cavani
Italy / 1961 / 30’
UNO DUE E TRE
Director: Emidio Greco
Italy / 1966 / 27’