Mamoun gave an introduction to ‘Rome Open City’ at BFI Southbank in February. We’re presenting this introduction in a new format – one that we feel is more informative and entertaining.
This introduction was part of the NFTS/BFI Passport to Cinema series, and we would like to thank both Dominic Power, Head of Screen Arts and the NFTS, and David Somerset and the staff of BFI Southbank for their support on this and other events.
Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City is the first great epic of Italian Neorealism. Seventy years on, the movement still survives. At any one time a neorealist film is being made somewhere in the world. These films are forever ‘neo’ or new because they are fresh and unexpected, focusing on people not considered worthy of attention and/or events which are ignored or suppressed. The originating neorealists were not only introducing an aesthetic but also challenging the view that ‘human kind cannot bear very much reality’ in its cinema.
As a movement neorealism is flexible, adaptable and generous. Its essence is to be found in its bone marrow and not in a set of rules – there are no obligatory twists and turns in a neorealist screenplay, for instance. Rome Open City ushered in a cinema that can flourish and is authentic in every society and every condition. Neorealism is universal.
Mamoun is very pleased to have been invited to introduce Rome Open City (Roma città aperta) on Monday 9th February 6.10pm at the BFI Southbank in NFT1 as part of the Passport to Cinema.
Join me in March at the National Film Theatre, London to see two outstanding Italian films which knock the stuffing out of most of modern cinema.
3 March 2014: 18.10
National Film Theatre, BFI Southbank London:
Passport to Cinema Programme
Dominic Power, Head of Screen Arts at the National Film and Television School, has invited me to provide an introduction to Antonioni’s L’Eclisse as part of NFTS/NFT’s Passport to Cinema. The film is often seen as part of a trilogy of L’Avventura (which won a Special Prize at the Cannes 1960 ‘For a new movie language and the beauty of its images‘); followed by La Notte(1961) and culminating in L’Eclisse (1962). All three starred Monica Vitti, who was Antonioni’s inspiration, muse and, for a while, his companion. These films are more than fifty years old so qualify as antiques. But apart from the cars and clothes (fashion photography cannibalised L’Avventura and unconsciously feeds off it still) the films feel mint new.
ROME OPEN CITY
8 March 2014 13.00 – 17.00 (with breaks)
The Studio, National Film Theatre
BFI, Southbank London
I am pleased to be invited by David Somerset, BFI Education Programmer/ Curator to hold a masterclass on Rossellini’s ROME OPEN CITY .
A towering work which heralded Italian Neorealism. After nearly seventy years, Neorealism still inspires filmmakers. It is a strong seed that continues to find suitable soil somewhere in the world.
Tickets for both shows are available online from the BFI.