Giovanni Pastrone

  • Giovanni Pastrone – Il fuoco (la favilla – la vampa – la cenere) AKA The Fire (1916)

    1911-1920ArthouseGiovanni PastroneItalySilent

    A poor painter, never artistically recognized, meets on the riverside a wealthy young lady. They are both attracted to each other and she invites him to come over to her castle. There they begin an illegal affair (the woman is married to an old grand duke who is absent at that moment). Even when she warns him that their love will be as a big fire, that will be extinguished too quickly, the painter, blinded by passion, accepts. He paints a daring and somewhat manneristic portrait of the woman and sends it to town. At the moment when they read in the newspaper that due to the portrait the painter is finally recognized and praised, the duchess receives a message her husband is returning. Secretly she puts a sleeping powder in the painter’s wine. When he awakes, she is gone and has left him only the money for the painting, that she clearly has bought. Desperately he leaves the castle and wanders around, in search for his beloved. But when he finally encounters her, in company of her husband, she pretends not to know him.Read More »

  • Giovanni Pastrone – Cabiria (1914)

    1911-1920EpicGiovanni PastroneItalySilent


    Standing out from all the stumbling efforts toward a new expression of cinema, Giovanni Pastrone’s story of the Second Punic War, Cabiria , demands special attention. Compared to the other colossal Italian spectacles of its time, it had an integrity and sense of purpose. From the beginning it was regarded as something special, and its premiere at the Teatro Vittorio Emmanuele, Turin, on 18 April 1914 was a great occasion. The film’s accompanying score by Ildebrando Pizzetti, performed by an orchestra of 80 and a choir of 70, added to the excitement. Viewed today, the film has lost little of its epic poetry to the zeitgeist, though the acting performances may seem dated.Read More »

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