5 truly unmissable movies to watch on Piazza Maggiore (or at Lunetta Gamberini)

It is indeed that time of the year when I live like a vampire, hidden in a secluded, refrigerated shadow, and all my friends will hear from me is complaints about the heat the the mysterious composition of my body, which is unable to stand still over 30 degrees. But luckily it is also that time of the year when La Cineteca di Bologna provides consolation for my sufferings, in the shape of luxurious free cinema in the piazza. And this year the consolation is double: films of Sotto le stelle del cinema will be screened both in Piazza Maggiore and at Lunetta Gamberini park.

So, without further ado, here’s a mini list of the truly unmissable movies you’ll have the chance to enjoy over the following weeks. Like I said, but it’s good to stress it again, screenings are free. Just remember to reserve your spot in time.

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

Set in Hong Kong in the Sixties, within the community of Shanghai expatriates, In the mood for love is “almost a love story” (to quote another Hong Kong movie), or a very intense love story indeed, depending on the viewer. And it will also be in the viewer’s discretion wether to find it stylish to the point of cold perfectionism or filled with painful sentiment. Either way, Wong Kar-wai‘s masterpiece is still as impeccable as it was when it came out in 2000, and its 4k retauration (a collaboration between Criterion and L’immagine Ritrovata) only adds up to its glory. A splendid exercise in languor, nostalgia and melancholy, it became an instant classic the minute it came out, with its heart-wrenching music (from Shigeru Ubemayashi’s main theme to Nat King Cole’s Quizàs, quizàs, quizàs) and sinuous plot. Maggie Cheung walking in slow motion and wearing those incredible cheongsams is one of the many iconic scenes that made Wong Kar-wai one of the most feticized and obsessed-over filmmakers of this era.

In the mood for love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000). June 26th

LA STRADA

Only Fellini could have Giulietta Masina and Anthony Quinn play side by side, and of course within the milieu of the circus. This black and white movie from 1954 (that won Best Foreign Film in 1957) reunites some of Fellini’s passions: the above-mentioned circus, both as an expression of popular, unsophisticated entertainment and as a home for street artists and weirdos; all that is marginal and peripheral, from places to people; and of course his spouse Giulietta Masina, here portraying the delicate and eccentric Gelsomina, an endearing mix of childhood and senility with the apparel of a clown.

La strada (Federico Fellini, 1954). June 30th

LA CLASSE OPERAIA VA IN PARADISO

This very political movie from 1971, a very political time in Italy, tells the harsh story of Lulu, a hard working labourer at a factory whose life and views are subverted when he has a serious accident on the job. Attracted by the new theories of protesting students and ostracized by some, he will embark on a revolution and see both his job and marriage go to pieces. Distributed abroad as The working class goes to paradise as well as Lulu the tool, this movie shot in a factory in Piedmont, with many of its actual workers working as extras, not only offers a powerful view of a very specific season of Italian history, but also displays the talent and charisma of Gian Maria Volonté, a superb actor that didn’t have quite the same fame abroad as some of his colleagues.

La classe operaia va in paradiso (Elio Petri, 1971). July 3rd

LA PISCINE

Whenever I have to compile a list of movies that taste like summer, this French film from 1969 is the first that comes to mind. Sensual, slow-burnt, sunny, almost entirely set around the swimming pool that gives it its name and with the French Riviera on the backside, La piscine was written by Jean-Claude Carrière, directed by Jacques Deray, and casts three of the most attractive human beings that ever walked on the soil of earth, in the pick of their beauty. Alain Delon and Romy Schneider used to be an item (and what a couple they were) before the movie was shot, and reunited on screen for the occasion, and for the feast for the eye to be complete, they were joined by a young Jane Birkin. Sexual tension, mystery and violence slowly unravel, while the viewer is trapped in the perfect frame of Sixties chic.

La piscine (Jacques Deray, 1969). July 21st

L’UOMO CHE VERRÀ

Not as famous or as accomplished as the other films on this list, L’uomo che verrà still deserves a mention as it tells a very local story, was partly shot locally (with actors speaking Bolognese dialect and subsequently subtitled in the original version) and brings to the screen a dramatic and violent episode of WW2 that is still strongly remembered in Bologna. Starting like the intimate account of a young girl’s life in the small mountains of Marzabotto, it proceeds to depict the tragic account of an infamous war crime that later became known as the Marzabotto massacre, or the massacre of Monte Sole, where over 770 civilians, with more than 100 children, were murdered by Nazi troops in 1944.

L’uomo che verrà (Giorgio Diritti,, 2010). August 4th


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