The exhibition displays material that is generally categorised as “paratext”, the so-called minor material.
The extensive variety of press books, in terms of origin (Enic, Lux Film, De Laurentiis, Paramount, Warner …), age (from the 1930s to the present day), artists that contributed to their realisation (Enrico Prampolini, Sandro Biazzi, Fabrizio Clerici, Andrea Pazienza …) and relevance of the films and the directors (Antonioni, Fellini, Pasolini …), makes them quite interesting both from a graphic and informational point of view. Press books are a set of publications that are distributed outside of the usual commercial channels or printed for a special event. They are usually either booklets or leaflets and, like the poster, flier and postcards, serve as a promotional complement to the opening of the film.
The idea of an exhibition of such material originated from the wish of fostering the appreciation of lesser known documents, of highlighting their iconographic features and providing, through various access points, information often not available in more traditional and widespread publications. In the catalogue’s description, the film’s title is in a prominent position, often preceded or followed by the director’s name or the producer who represents them, while the intellectual or artistic contents are mainly credited to the film companies’ press offices and artistic departments, to the illustrators and the photographers. When a document does not state its publication/distribution date, the printing date is quoted or, if the latter is also missing, the film’s release year is used as an hypothetical date. The description is extremely accurate, in order to convey the material’s peculiarity and wealth of details, focusing on the iconography, the format (brochures, cardboard cut-outs, sheets in folders), the dimensions, the attachments (stage photos, model sheets, plot, cast and credits of the film). In the case of serial press books, the sequential numbering is indicated, see e.g. Warner Bros’ “Guida pubblicitaria” or the series produced by Dino De Laurentiis Film. Content-related notes have been curated with extra attention and they point out the existence of: bio-filmographies and statements by creators and performers, lists of film music, press review, production and director’s notes, excerpts of synopses and screenplays, interviews, end credits, slogans. The main access point to the press books is represented by the film title it promotes – including the original title, the acronym of the production country, the director’s name and the year of its first public screening -, nevertheless without omitting other items, especially the biographic ones (director’s name, performers) that are particularly prominent within the publication.
It is suggested reading the essay Le_frange_del_film_invito_all’analisi_del_press-book by Elena Mosconi contained in the Press-book publication of the Luigi Chiarini Library, published by the CSC and available on our bookshop.