The CSC - Cineteca Nazionale is present at Cinema Ritrovato Festival, one of the most important international events dedicated to the appreciation of heritage cinema, promoted by the Cineteca di Bologna, with two important restorations in the section "Ritrovati e restaurati". On Saturday, June 25, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia will be shown; the restoration was based on the original picture negative and sound negative provided by Rai Cinema S.p.A.; the film's director of photography Giuseppe Lanci supervised the color correction work.
Monday 27 will be the turn of Pier Paolo Pasolini's La ricotta - Director's cut.
CSC Conservator Alberto Anile on the restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia: “You don’t understand anything about Russia,” says Oleg Yankovsky at the beginning of the film. During fraught times sorely lacking in mutual understanding, Nostalghia offers us Russia at its most exalted and esoteric; and, 40 years on, it once more challenges us to decipher it. The story, if you can call it that, is about a Russian poet (Yankovsky) searching in Italy for traces of an ancient Russian musician. Overwhelmed by his separation from both family and homeland, he remains indifferent to the charms of his interpreter, the Botticelli-like Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano) but lends his ear to the profundities of the deranged Domenico (Erland Josephson). Things end badly: Domenico immolates himself in Piazza del Campidoglio while the Russian poet collapses, lifeless, after having succeeded in crossing a thermal bath while bearing a lit candle. This is the fabula; the actual content tells a different story. As slow and dense as a prayer, Andrei Tarkovsky’s penultimate film is a poem about separation and faith, the director’s farewell to a difficult and ungrateful homeland, his personal eulogy to madness and an enchanting manifesto against the dictatorship of beauty, sculpted out of mesmerizing locations: the submerged church of Santa Maria in Vittorino, the ruins of the Abbey of San Galgano, the crypt of San Pietro in Tuscania, the sheltered city of Calcata, and the thermal baths of Bagno Vignoni. Geometric framing, gazes into the camera, a soundtrack filled with singing, dripping, barking, and images continually flooded with rain, snow, thermal baths and puddles – sometimes in black-and-white and other times in color or half-tones. This was a difficult restoration for the Cineteca Nazionale, made possible thanks to Beppe Lanci, the film’s director of photography, who followed and curated the operation. The result is a hymn to life, poetry, conjugal love, and God. Or better yet: faith in something greater than ourselves, regardless of whether it actually exists or not. As Domenico cries after climbing on the statue of Mark Anthony: “Somebody must shout that we will build the pyramids. It doesn’t matter whether or not we build them, but we must feed the desire.”
Francesca Angelucci's commentary: on the restoration of Pier Paolo Pasolini's La ricotta - Director's cut. To mark the centenary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s birth, the Cineteca Nazionale will present the director’s cut of La ricotta. It is a restoration from the only surviving copy of the version the director intended before it met with opposition from the censorship board, which was rediscovered in the “gruppo Dogane” (customs group), which contains film materials that were, for the most part, abandoned in railway yards and never reached their destinations. In this instance, we were dealing with a 35mm positive of RoGoPaG in black-and-white and colour, which bypassed the courts and thus remained intact. It represents the film as it was released in cinemas on 19 February 1963, which was seen by very few people before being seized on 1 March. La ricotta was then modified for the second version of RoGoPaG, distributed in November 1963 under the title Laviamoci il cervello (Let's Have a Brainwash).
The original film of Pasolini’s episode not only bears the original title card with its confident and prophetic opening caption (“It is easy to predict that my story will be met by criticism in bad faith”), in addition to various images and lines of dialogue that were later removed or modified, including the final line spoken by Orson Welles in front of the cross: “Poor Stracci! Dying was his only way to make the revolution.”
The copy, whose colors had become completely desaturated over time, was digitally restored in the laboratories of the Cineteca Nazionale, bringing it back to its original splendor. And it was rendered even more complete by the restitution of two brief cuts enacted by the censors before it even reached cinemas and which were again discovered in the Cineteca Nazionale archives. These belong to the scene in which Natalina (Maria Bernardini) bares her legs while taking off her shoes and, egged on by the extras, removes her bra while facing the other way. It is the final missing piece in a reconstruction of the original version of one of the most persecuted films in the history of Italian cinema.
The restoration of La ricotta - Director’s cut at Cinema Ritrovato is a world premiere.