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Cinema Modernissimo to open soon

On 21 November 2023, the Cinema Modernissimo will open its doors to the public: this has been announced by the Municipality of Bologna, the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Confindustria Emilia Area Centro.

This appointment is highly anticipated by the citizens of Bologna and by the many international cinephiles who in recent years have passionately followed the development of an ambitious project that will restore the Cinema Modernissimo to its early twentieth-century beauty.

And among these international cinephiles there is a truly exceptional one: Martin Scorsese.

On the occasion of his public meeting in Bologna last June to launch the great retrospective that the Cineteca has dedicated to his monumental filmography (which will continue at the Cinema Lumière from 17 September next), Martin Scorsese "christened" the Cinema Modernissimo, taking part in a visit and a short screening conceived and realised for him, with masterpieces of the period restored by the Cineteca di Bologna. Scorsese was thus able to admire a preview of the cinema that, from this autumn, will become an essential stop for all cinema lovers.

The history of the Cinema Modernissimo

At the beginning of the 20th century, the race towards progress transformed ancient historical centres into modern cities: Bologna - traditionally 'La Turrita', but projected towards the future - thus began to change its urban layout.

In this process of renewal, where the medieval Palazzo Lambertini once stood, the foundations of Palazzo Ronzani were laid: a multifunctional building in reinforced concrete - a bulwark of Bolognese modernity born from the futuristic project of engineer Pontoni - that housed an underground theatre and one of the city's best cinemas, the Cinema Modernissimo, inaugurated in 1915. Between the 1950s and 1960s, an extensive modernisation programme led to the complete reconversion of the theatre's spaces into cinemas. In 1955 there were two cinemas: the underground Cinema Modernissimo with access from Piazza Re Enzo 1 and the Cinema Centrale in Via Rizzoli 3. One of the two cinemas remained in operation until 2007 under the name of Cinema Arcobaleno, one of the busiest cinemas on the city's circuit.

Going against the logic of the multiplex, the Cineteca di Bologna embraces the new international sensibility for the recovery of turn-of-the-century cinemas, and is ready to take on such a culturally and entrepreneurially important challenge as that of bringing the Cinema Modernissimo back to life: restoring the interiors of the theatres to their original Art Nouveau splendour and creating the conditions for a viewing experience at the highest quality allowed by today's technological standards, both in terms of image restitution (the projection booth will be equipped with projectors for both film and digital formats up to 4K, the highest resolution possible today) and in terms of sound quality.

The recovery of the underground theatre represents a unique opportunity for the city of Bologna. In the heart of the historical centre, within the 'quadrilateral', the 'new' Cinema Modernissimo will present itself as an ideal place for the dissemination of film culture in a splendid historical context, in continuity with the spectacle of the 'Il Cinema Ritrovato' festival, which enlivens Piazza Maggiore every summer.



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