Cinema for Turin is a bit like gianduja chocolate, the Mole, the exclamation "neh" placed at the end of every sentence. They are, in a word, essential, as they are part of its history,of its most authentic tradition.
A bit of history...
Cinema in Turin is a piece of history. On November 7 1896, in via Po, where today number 33 stands; the first cinematography evening of the Lumiere brothers took place and the first cinema productions "the Kolossal" such as Cabiria by D'Annunzio originated just from the Savoy Capital. At the beginning of the 1900 the most important film companies were in Turin: Fert cinema, Ambrosio, Eula film and Ridolfi film... Roman Cinecittà overtakes "Augusta Taurinorum" only after the Second World War.
The Mole and the cinema
To witness the importance of cinema in Turin, the Cinema Museum set inside the Mole Antonelliana: one of the most important cinematography museums in the world. Given the city's cinematography tradition, it was founded in 1942 by Maria Adriana Prolo and today exhibits over 7,000 films, 100 magical lanterns and 300,000 posters.
Curiosity: inside the museum you can admire the winged genius that used to be on the top of the Mole's steeple until the thunderstorm of 1905 (it was replaced by a star). And if you are university students don't listen to the metropolitan legend according to which those who go to the top of the Mole will never graduate.
If you aren't superstitious - and are heroic enough to enter the museum's entrance, you will have to fight against the powerful air conditioning blowing full blast in order to enter the belly of the "monster", on the floor called Accoglienza (Reception). A cafeteria, a bookshop, a temporary exhibition area and a new computerised ticket office,all in perfect "cine style",greet you.
For a more complete visit and additional useful information, refer to the that you meet along the route. Wandering from room to room you can relive cinema's prehistory: magical lanterns and fascinating optical effects. Then you can follow all the phases in making a film, watch projections of historical images of significant films on the gigantic screen of the "Temple hall".There are also real memorabilia, like set designs, telegrams received by film directors and actors announcing their candidacy for an Oscar, costumes, Fellini's hat and scarf, a Marilyn Monroe bustier, Charlie Chaplin's bowler hat. Also some of the production companies of the 50s and 60s have been reconstructed... Not to be missed: the suspended ramp and the posters of significant films.
Turin Film Festival,
Film Commission and AIACE
When mentioning film festivals in this area everybody immediately thinks of the Turin Film Festival (www.torinofilmfest.org). By now almost as famous and esteemed as Venice's festival. The international previews and the retrospective showings dedicated to the authors of contemporary cinema are the style icon of the event.
Having totalled more than twenty years of career, and of troubled searches for premises given the always increasing number of affectionate spectators, the Turin Film Festival has rooted itself firmly within Turin's historical central cinemas and has become stronger thanks also to the collaboration with the National Film Museum. In the recent years the direction by Nanni Moretti and Gianni Amelio aroused great interest attracting a large public and giving popularity to the event.
Other film festivals organised every year
Gay and Lesbian Cinema Festival (www.tglff.com)
Environment Film Festival (www.cinemambiente.it) and
Under Eighteen Film Festival (www.sottodiciottofilmfestival.it).
The last one, in particular, selects, promotes, and gives a prize to the film production of people under 18, in a festival that has gained more and more importance at a national level.
Naturally, behind every film there is a director
and, behind many of the films shot
in Turin, the director is the local Film Commission.
The Film Commission promotes
both national and international cinema
and television productions in Turin whilst
at the same time indirectly supporting the
local film industry by creating new job opportunities
for those who work within the
film and television fields. www.fctp.it
For this reason the Commission has put at disposal a data base of 6.000 photographs, to refer to for identifying locations in Turin and has strongly wanted a "Cineporto" in the city.
That is a sort of film town, situated in via Cagliari, 42, where they guarantee rooms and services to people who want to AIACE, member of Cicae (Confédération International Cinémas d'Art Européens) is an association of many cinemas characterised by show art films. Present throughout the country, AIACE established its headquarters in Turin in 1968, given the significant presence in town of art film cinemas (actually 22). Its activities include not only world film anticipations, but olso educational and cultural activities like courses on cinematography education, spectator training, publishing activity centred on film history and criticism ((www.aiacetorino.it).
Finally, a word about the Turinese public. Thanks to the city's film tradition and the work of local institutions, there are many people here who keep a careful and critical eye open on showings and are able to determine the success of a film by grapevine, even when it isn't largely publicised. This is testified by the Cinema Massimo, that will surprise with its programme - ranging from absolute classics to congresses and showings dedicated to actors and directors.
Very many indeed are the films shot in
Turin. Among others we have:
Cabiria (1914), Compagni (1963), The italian job (1969), Mimì metallurgico (1972), La donna della domenica (1975), Profondo Rosso (1975), Il bar dello sport (1983), La puttana del re (1990), La seconda volta (1995), Amiche (1995), Tutti giù per terra (1996), Ferdinando e Carolina (1998), Così ridevano (1998) Due amici (2001), Santa Maradona (2001), Non ho sonno (2001), La meglio gioventù (2002), Dopo Mezzanotte (2003), Andata e ritorno (2004), Sotto il sole nero (2005), I giorni dell'abbandono (2005), La signorina Effe (2008), Il divo (2008).
pCabiria,Giovanni Pastrone's film, cost approx. 1.000.000 lire, for the times a totally "crazy" figure, comparable only to some Hollywood productions.
The story goes that the famous actor and film director Stanislawskij, creator of the very popular method, had the inspiration for his particular study and acting method whilst observing the reconstruction of the medieval borgo within the Valentino park.
Some of the battle scenes in the film War and Peace, by King Vidor, with Vittorio Gassman, Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn, were actually shot in Turin (Valentino Castle, Palazzina di Stupinigi, and countryside around the city). This Hollywood film is still today champion of takings among Italian films of all times, and reached 177 billion lire in 2000.
The hills behind the Gran Madre church host, in corso Giovanni Lanza 57, Villa Scott (see picture) better known to Italian horror film fans as the "Villa of the shouting child". Dario Argento used this liberty style building dating 1902 for his renowned film Profondo Rosso.
The Lux Cinema in Galleria San Federico, recently renovated, still shows the same original marbles and decoration as when it was opened.
film director, scriptwriter, writer
Turin is the city that adopted me: here I arrived for love, and here I set some of my films ( from "Tutti giù per terra" to " Dopo mezzanotte" till my last work, " Tutta colpa di Giuda". I 've experienced Turin transformation from " still and grey look linked to FIAT" to "moving" and culturally lively. Somehow, as Turinese, I became the most recognised representative of a certain way of shooting films in this city"
film critic and formerly Turin Film Festival
How did the romance between Turin and the cinema begin?
I believe the reason lies in the vicinity of Lyon, the French city from where the camera operators of the Lumiere brothers departed to spread the newly born cinematographic art throughout Europe. From a logistic point of view it seemed a natural choice to transport the required equipment.
A good reason to visit the Cinema Museum inside the Mole?
Because it's packed with lights, small levers, buttons... Children and novices interact and enjoy themselves, familiarising with cinema whilst playing.
Which film do you feel best represents the Piedmontese capital?
Certainly Cabiria. It required as many as 20,000 extras, i.e. 5% of the city's population at the time (1914). Further, the extremely renowned statue used in the film, now stored in the Cinema Museum, was exhibited to the public in piazza Castello for about a year. This proves the huge impact the film had on the public. p
And the most beautiful scene filmed in Turin?
Probably the suicide of the teenage girl at the Murazzi in "Persiane chiuse" by Comencini. Curiously it was actually shot by Fellini, and it is his only scene in the entire film.
If you were a film director,what kind of film would you shoot in Turin? And where in particular?
All kinds are appropriate. I would make a film based on the farmer's market in Porta Palazzo. The interweaving of past and present, the mix of different cultures and races, characteristic elements of the neighbour, offer an optical and artistic effect that deserves great respect.
Everything and more... the RAI
On January 3 1954, from the RAI studios in via Montebello, in Turin, the voice of Fulvia Colombo announced the official beginning of Italian television. The first programme to be broadcast on what at the time was a single channel called National Programme, was "Arrivals and departures", a magazine brilliantly presented by a young American , but with Turinese origins, Mike Bongiorno.
Experimental television, however, had already begun a few years before in Turin - a real stronghold of RAI (originally "Radio Audizioni Italiane", but from 1954 more simply Italian Radio-television) in turn born from the ashes of EIAR (Italian Radiophonic Auditions). Thus during the 50s the new production centre in via Verdi and the experimental research centre in corso Giambone were set up. Only later, at the beginning of the 70s, the historical headquarters in via Arsenale 21 were transferred to the current location of viale Mazzini in Rome. The atmosphere within the initial years of Rai television is well expressed by the guidelines of the short but intense Filiberto Guala direction (1954- 1956): he was from Turin and a sworn enemy of light entertainment, strongly attached to the severe ethical principles of Catholicism. Indeed, Guala tried to give programmes a greater cultural content; he employed high level intellectuals like Umberto Eco and Gianni Vattimo and entrusted programme direction to important Turin authors like Edmo Fenoglio and Massimo Scaglione.
The "talking box's" success was sanctioned by transmissions like Lascia o raddoppia? (from 1955 hosted by Mike), that achieved an unbelievable popular outcome: people would crowd into the few cafés and public places having a television to breathlessly watch the destiny of competitors. The '70s witnessed the progressive success of TV serials.
Turin still remained one of Rai's main production centres: La freccia nera dates 1968, I Buddenbrook was made in 1971 and Bel Ami dating 1979 are a clear example. Also variety shows continued to be very successful. Between 1977 and 1978 two editions of Non Stop, an experimental cabaret, brought great popularity to comic actors such as Carlo Verdone and the Neapolitan trio "La Smorfia" formed by Massimo Troisi, Lello Arena and Enzo De Caro. The 80s witnessed the diffusion of commercial television.
In 1979 the third Rai channel was launched, with a strongly regional character aimed to partly satisfy the needs expressed by the fast spreading local television, even though the space given to television produced in Turin, beyond the news, was diminishing rapidly. Local televisions like TeleBiella, an absolute irreverent forerunner, and TeleTorino, that together with five other northern television stations began to broadcast using the shared name of Channel 5.
Today the children's programme La Melevisione is broadcast from the Rai studios in via Verdi, whilst fiction, whether produced by Rai (Il Grande Torino) or by Mediaset seems to have rediscovered the tight connection between television and the Turin province.
beneath the Mole
Erminio Macario: comic actor and successful company manager absolute protagonist of the genre "music hall", characteristic of the 1920s.
Bruno Gambarotta: a long career as author, producer and director. Today he works for many newspapers and writes novels that are dense with references to "his" Turin.
Enza Sampò: among the first to emancipate the female figure in television, ranging from entertainment programmes to cultural ones.
Giovanni Minoli: Rai journalist and anchorman of the current cult programmes like Quelli della notte, in collaboration with Renzo Arbore. Today he directs Rai Educational, Rai Storia and Rai Scuola.
Luciana Littizzetto: comic actress and debunking writer. Since 2005 has been a regular and very followed guest at the Rai 3 programme "Che tempo che fa".
Simona Ventura: bubbly and strict TV anchorwoman: At the moment she hosts the programme "Quelli che il calcio" and some reality shows "L'isola dei Famosi".
Piero Chiambretti: showman and TV anchorman". After successful programmes such "Markette" he now hosts "Chiambretti Night".
Piero Angela: he started working in RAI as a journalist, but he became famous to the public as an actor and anchorman of the most popular scientific programmes such as "Quark","Superquark" and "Ulisse", the last one realised in collaboration with his son Alberto.
And they are Turinese too:
Marco Berry, Antonella Elia,Marco Maccarini, Franco Neri, Alba Parietti, Maria Teresa Ruta, Cristina Chiabotto, Edelfa Chiara Masciotta, Flavio Montrucchio and Gabriel Garko.