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Bologna and the Cinema

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The film which launches Bologna as an architectural set at a national level is Hanno rubato un tram (They stole a tram) (1954). The comedy, directed by and starring in the lead role Aldo Fabrizi, is shot in a black and white tonality which enhances the monumental scenery of the town. The assistant director is a young man with a promising future: Sergio Leone. A tracking shot on the town and its long porticoes accompanies the opening credits.

Written by Eugenia Paolucci

Edipo Re by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1967) - Piazza Maggiore

Edipo Re by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1967) - Piazza Maggiore

Edipo Re (Oedipus Rex) is a personal interpretation of Sophocles's tragedy. The prologue is set in the Twenties, the central part in a barbarous Greece and the epilogue in a present-day Bologna: on the steps of the Basilica di San Petronio on Piazza Maggiore, a blind beggar, played by the same actor (Franco Citti) that lends his face to Oedipus, plays the flute. It's the 1960s: the autobiographical connotation of the story is clear. Another epilogue scene is set in the portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi (strada Maggiore, 43), along which the present-day blind Oedipus wanders together with his faithful beggar fellow Anghelos (Ninetto Davoli). The Theban high priest is played by Pasolini himself and Creon by a thirty-year-old Carmelo Bene.

Fatti di gente perbene by Mauro Bolognini (1974) - Piazza Galvani, 1

Fatti di gente perbene by Mauro Bolognini (1974) - Piazza Galvani, 1

Professor Augusto Murri, a well-known clinician and doctor of the Savoia Royal House, is giving a lecture in the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio Palace: it is a scene from Fatti di gente perbene by Mauro Bolognini. The film stars Giancarlo Giannini as Tullio Murri and Catherine Deneuve as Linda Murri. The film was internationally released as The Murri Affair and in fact it refers to an event involving the Murri family which upset public opinion in Italy in the early XXth century: on September 2, 1902, Count Francesco Bonmartini, the son-in-law of Augusto Murri, was found stabbed to death in an elegant building in via Mazzini (today strada Maggiore) in Bologna. At first, the motive appeared to be robbery, but nine days later, the renowned clinician reported to the police and declared that the person responsible for the murder was his son Tullio.

Gino Cervi - Via Cartoleria, 3 – birthplace

Gino Cervi - Via Cartoleria, 3 – birthplace

A plaque at the corner between via Cartoleria and via S. Stefano commemorates the birth of Gino Cervi on 3rd May 1901. Beside the roles of Maigret and Peppone, we remember him as the dubber of Laurence Olivier and Orson Welles. In 1954, Gino Cervi appears as the main character of a film entirely shot in Bologna: Il Cardinale Lambertini, directed by Giorgio Pastina, inspired by the homonymous theatrical work by Alfredo Testoni of 1905, and focused on the charismatic figure of the cardinal, who was to become Pope Benedict XIV in 1740.

Il cuore altrove by Pupi Avati (2003) -  Strada Maggiore, 44

Il cuore altrove by Pupi Avati (2003) - Strada Maggiore, 44

In Il cuore altrove (Incantato) Nello (Neri Marcorè) is a professor of Latin literature during the Twenties. He is sent from Rome to Bologna by his father (Giancarlo Giannini) in order to overcome his shyness with women: he will lose his head for Angela, a young blind person (Vanessa Incontrada). In the seventeenth-century palace Davia Bargellini, Pupi Avati sets the scenes of the circle of hunting, where Nello and Angela spend their first day together.

Pier Paolo Pasolini - Via Borgonuovo, 4 – birthplace

Pier Paolo Pasolini - Via Borgonuovo, 4 – birthplace

"What does Bologna have, which is so beautiful? Winter with the sun and the snow, the barbarically azure air on the cotto brick." (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
A plaque in via Borgonuovo 4 commemorates the birth of Pier Paolo Pasolini in Bologna on 5th March 1922. Pasolini attends the Liceo Galvani and at the age of seventeen he enrols at the University of Bologna. He also attends a film club, where he sees all of René Clair's films, Renoir's early works, and some films by Chaplin: "My love for the cinema started there".

E allora Mambo! by Lucio Pellegrini (1999) - Piazza S. Stefano

E allora Mambo! by Lucio Pellegrini (1999) - Piazza S. Stefano

In the film E allora Mambo! (screenplay by Fabio Bonifacci) Stefano (Luca Bizzarri) is an employee who feels unsatisfied with his work and is nostalgic for his carefree life as a student in Bologna. He is married and has a daughter. His life changes radically when a sum of six billion is credited by mistake into his account. He, therefore, decides to return to Bologna and resume his life as a student; this decision leads him to invent a double life and find himself married and father twice. In piazza Santo Stefano, Lisa (Luciana Littizzetto) and Antonia (Maddalena Maggi), Stefano's two wives, meet for the first time: they will gang up on him.

AmeriQua by M. Bellone e G. Consonni (2013) - Piazza di Porta Ravegnana

AmeriQua by M. Bellone e G. Consonni (2013) - Piazza di Porta Ravegnana

AmeriQua is pervaded by the clichés about Italy and the Italians which are typical of many American films - mafia, spaghetti, tagliatelle, jealous boyfriends, American tourists robbed in Naples, punkabbestias stealing bikes - but it is, however, in its own peculiar way, a tender portrait: the film in fact comes from the memories of Robert Kennedy's nephew, Bobby III, who lived in Bologna as a University student for a year. The soundtrack was composed by Lucio Dalla.

Pupi Avati - Via S. Vitale, 51 – birthplace

Pupi Avati - Via S. Vitale, 51 – birthplace

"Bologna is my home. It's the house of my childhood, my adolescence, and my youth. And it's the house where everything was born…" In Il papà di Giovanna  (Giovanna's Father - 2008), Pupi Avati choses via S. Vitale 51 as the house of the main character Michele Casali (Silvio Orlando), his wife Delia (Francesca Neri) and his daughter Giovanna (Alba Rohrwacher), thus paying homage to his birthplace. The film is set in Bologna during the 1930s and 1940s and is a family drama, which takes place during fascism first, and during World War II then. However, it is also, and above all, the story of a father-daughter relationship, which is so emotionally intense that it overshadows the brutal reality of war.

Centochiodi by Ermanno Olmi (2007) -  Via Zamboni, 35

Centochiodi by Ermanno Olmi (2007) - Via Zamboni, 35

The University Library is adjacent to the sixteenth-century Palazzo Poggi and has a monumental Aula Magna, also known as "Centochiodi Room" from the film Centochiodi (One Hundred Nails) by Ermanno Olmi. It tells the story of a young professor at the University of Bologna (Raz Degan) who nails one hundred rare manuscripts to the floor of the Aula Magna, thus expressing his disappointment with the world of culture and his desire to get back to nature. He leaves everything and moves to the quiet riverbed of the Po, where he discovers an old farmhouse which he will make his new home, thus creating a new relationship with life, people, and things.

Cineteca of Bologna - Piazzetta Pier Paolo Pasolini, 2b

Cineteca of Bologna - Piazzetta Pier Paolo Pasolini, 2b

The courtyard of the Cineteca of Bologna (Bologna Film Library) is named after "Pier Paolo Pasolini-Poet". The Cinema Lumière (with its two movie theatres: Sala Officinema/Mastroianni and Sala Scorsese) and the library named after Renzo Renzi (journalist, writer, film critic, and one of the founders of the Cineteca) overlook this small square. The Renzo Renzi library also houses the "Centro Studi-Archivio Pier Paolo Pasolini" (Pier Paolo Pasolini Research Center and Archive). The Cineteca has become an international point of reference in the field of film conservation and restoration thanks to its highly specialised film restoration laboratory “L'Immagine Ritrovata”. One of the most important projects undertaken by the Cineteca of Bologna is the “Chaplin Project” aimed at restoring all of Charlie Chaplin's films and bringing them back to the big screen.

La banda Casaroli by Florestano Vancini (1962) -  Piazza Medaglie d'Oro

La banda Casaroli by Florestano Vancini (1962) - Piazza Medaglie d'Oro

La banda Casaroli is a film based on real life events concerning the criminal group led by Paolo Casaroli (Renato Salvatori) which kept Bologna in check in the early fifties. Against the backdrop of crucial historical events, such as the fall of Fascism and the Second World War, the director reveals the poverty and anger of disoriented youth. Most of the film takes place in a fog-shrouded Bologna: in particular, one of the final scenes shows a trolleybus wrapped in fog travelling across the square of the railway station.