Luchino Visconti – Le notti bianche AKA White Nights [+extras] (1957)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:

A chance encounter on a canal bridge results in a series of twilight rendezvous between a lonely city transplant (Marcello Mastroianni) and a sheltered woman (Maria Schell) haunted by a lover’s promise. Their hesitant courtship soon entangles both of them in a web of longing and self-delusion. Adapted from the Fyodor Dostoyevsky short story, director Luchino Visconti’s Le notti bianche—shot in ravishing black and white—is a romantic, shattering tale of the restlessness of dreamers. Continue reading

Vittorio De Sica – Teresa Venerdì (1941)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot Synopsis from allmovie.com

Doctor Beware was the U.S.-released title of Vittorio DeSica’s 1941 effort Teresa Venerdi. DeSica not only directed, but played the leading role of orphanage official Dr. Vignali. The thinnish storyline finds the good doctor becoming romantically involved with three women. It is up to orphaned girl Teresa Venerdi (Adriana Benedetti) to untangle all the plot lines–and, as a bonus, to come to the financial rescue of the improvident Vignali. When the film was released to the U.S. in 1951, supporting actress Anna Magnani, cast in a secondary role as one of Dr. Vignali’s amours, was given star billing. Continue reading

Nino Oxilia – Rapsodia satanica aka Satan’s Rhapsody (1915)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Rapsodia Satanica (1915) was the last film directed by Nino Oxilia and is undoubtedly one of the finest achievements of the early Italian cinema. In it, Oxilia spins a variation on the Faust myth, embodied here by the diva Lyda Borelli. Typical of extravagant D’Annunzian aestheticism at its height, Rapsodia Satanica was one of the summits of what was later called the “tail coat film.” Diametrically opposed to the “cinema of reality” practiced by Serena, Martoglio and others, “tail coat films” set their melodramatic stories in the salons and villas of the upper middle class and the aristocracy, deploying narrative structures contrived to showcase their actors and especially its actresses. This had the effect of accentuating their physical presence and turning them into stars – probably the first stars in movie history. The success of the “dive” contributed to the development of motion picture grammar in its special use of the close-up.
Written by Anthony Kobal Continue reading

Roberto Rossellini – La vispa Teresa (1939)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Scalera had obtained backing for a series of animal shorts and needed someone to make them. Roberto plunged in enthusiastically. He arrived at Ladispoli with animals of all sorts distributed among pockets and cages and started sixteen documentaries, no less, all at once. A slew of titles were annouced. La foresta silenziosa (“The quiet forest”), Primavera (“Spring”), Re Travicello, and La merca; and perhaps ll brutto idraulico (“The ugly plumber”). Fellini recalls finding Roberto at Scalera kneeling under small reflectors. “Inside a small enclosure made of nets and rope were a turtle, two mice, and three or four roaches. He was shooting a documentary about insects [La vispa Teresa?], doing one frame a day, very complex and laborious, with great patience.”
“He kept shooting for months,” Fellini adds, probably with his customary exaggeration. For in fact Roberto’s enthusiasm flagged quickly. Continue reading

Francesco de Robertis & Roberto Rossellini – La Nave Bianca aka The White Ship (1941)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
La Nave Bianca is a movie about a group of firemen on a Italian battleship, that takes part in a sea battle. During the battle one of the heaters is wounded and brought to the hospital ship, where he meets a nurse…
The film is intercut with documentary scenes from the movie La battaglia dello Jonio and the cast is completely non-professional. There has been an argument ever since about who directed the movie (Rossellini or de Robertis). A dissertation from 2002 (here on the tracker torrent) seems to decide this question finally in favour of Francesco de Robertis, who is most likely the writer of the script, main director and supervisor, whereas Rossellini merely took part in the production as learning assistant director. Continue reading

Roberto Rossellini – Il tacchino prepotente (1939)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

This is an anti-Fascist short Rossellini made in 1940.
Quote:
La vispa Teresa was rejected and, although Ferrara said that Il tacchino was distributed by Scalera under its working title, “La perfida Albione,” there were no press notices, and no one outside of Scalera is known to have seen it. According to Ferrara, Rossellini told him it was a satire in which “Perfidious Albion,” a big turkey representing England, goes around pecking at the hens representing the nations of Europe, until defied by a rooster representing Italy. “Rossellini detested it,” said Ferrara, “[though his] genius was such that he could achieve extraordinary effects out of nothing. He used to tell me, ‘It’s the only time that, through my weakness, I made a work of propaganda.’” Continue reading

Alessandro Blasetti – Resurrectio (1931)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

PLOT SYNOPSIS:
Desperate because abandoned by his lover (V. Alexandrescu), orchestra conductor hesitates: to kill himself, or kill her? He simply shoots the portrait of the lover and returns to conducting, helped in his “resurrection”, by a cute girl (L. Franca), who restores his will to live.
Second film by Blasetti, after the silent “Sun” (1929), and the only one for which he signs the script himself. Produced by Cines, it is the first Italian sound film but, deemed not commercial enough, was released after La canzone dell’amore (1930) by Righelli.
It is interesting at stylistic level, for the ambitious mixage of dialogs, music (Amedeo Escobar) and noises in parallel with experimental visual inventions. Continue reading