Incomplete Picture of a Still Important national Cinema
(Retrospective of Contemporary Italian Film, Zagreb, 17-23 October, 2006)
This is as essay on the Retrospective of Contemporary Italian Film organized by the Italian Federation of Film Clubs, the Italian Culture Institute in Zagreb, and the Croatian Film Clubs’ Association at the cinema Tuškanac, the Faculty of Philosophy and the Faculty of Dramatic Art in Zagreb. There were thirteen feature films and five documentary films presented in less than a week. This made it difficult for the audience to see at least most part of what was presented but it also provided an answer to an interested question about the importance of the Italian film in the contemporary world cinematography after a success it had from the 1940s until mid 1970s, through neo-realism and its variations, then through different and original forms of film modernism and finally to the political film of the extreme leftist beliefs. In the last thirty years of full dominance of the American film in our cinemas, Italian films mostly disappeared with the exception of Federico Fellini and the Taviani brothers.
We could rarely see films that successfully combined high values and wide appeal such as Nuovo cinema Paradiso in 1988, and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena in 2000, Gabriele Salvatore’s Mediterraneo in 1991 and Roberto Benigni’s La vita e bella in 1997. However, we could not see any work of authors who achieved recognition in the last three decades — Nanni Moretti, Pupi Avati and others. Italian organizers could not make a selection of the best among them but they decided to present works and authors that they were convinced (and they were probably right) could not reach Croatian audience otherwise. However, they considered them to be worth of attention. These films had been presented at important festivals and they had been given awards mostly at smaller ones as well as a number of national acknowledgements. Therefore, new works by Daniele Gaglianone, Antonio Capuan, Constanza Quatriglio, Eugenio Capucci, Paolo Genovese, Luca Minier and Francesco Calogera were presented.