Three classic Italian films will grace the Detroit Film Theatre this weekend. The newly restored films are made possible by the legendary foundation and film archive Cineteca di Bologna, which presents the annual Festival del Cinema Ritrovato (Festival of Rediscovered Cinema) in Bologna, Italy every summer.
On Friday night at 7:30 p.m. is the 1960 film “Rocco and his Brothers.” Luchino Visconti’s stunning epic about the dramatic events that befall a family traveling to Milan to begin a new life; it stars Alain Delon as Rocco, who finds work in a dry cleaning establishment and Renato Salvatori as Simone who engages in a turbulent affair with prostitute Nadia (Annie Giradot). After Rocco serves two years in the military, he starts up a relationship with Nadia. This leads to a fierce feud between Rocco and Simone that culminates in murder…
On Saturday night at 7 p.m. is a rare silent film from 1915, “Assunta Spina.” Set in Naples in the early 20th century, it stars Francesca Bertini as the title character, a vivacious woman who runs a laundry service who is in love with Michele (Gustavo Serna), a butcher who becomes violently jealous over her flirtatious nature with other men. They fight and Michele is sent to prison for two years for assault. But Assunta still loves Michele and tries to defend him in court, but in vain. She is so desperate to keep Michele in Naples that she begs politico Don Federigo (Carlo Benetti) for help. He agrees to help Michele–but only if Assunta becomes his mistress.
Bertini and Serna also co-directed the film. Bertini was the highest paid actress in the world at the time of the production. The film was remade in 1948 with Anna Magnani and Eduardo De Filippo as the main characters. This restoration also includes an all new score.
On Sunday at 4:30 p.m. is Federico Fellini’s 1972 ostentatious portrait of his adopted city of Rome, “Roma.” It is a series of seemingly random collection of episodes informed by the director’s memories and impressions of Rome. It’s part documentary (featuring a reconstruction of Fellini’s own arrival in Rome during the Mussolini years; a trip to a brothel and a music-hall) and part hallucinatory dream (including a massive traffic jam on the autostrada; a raucous journey through Rome after dark; an archaeological team exploring the site of the Rome subways; and an ecclesiastical fashion show in which nuns and priests roller skate past shipwrecks of cobwebbed skeletons). The only main character in the film is the city of Rome and its progression.
Admission is FREE to all three films thanks to the collaboration of the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, the Consulate of Italy in Detroit, the Detroit Film Theatre, and the Dante Alighieri Society. More information is available here.