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Cinema Ritrovato a Bologna- by Alex Deleon


News background

By Deleon-Pevner


Against the background of this fabulous week of cinema rediscoveries in Bologna, the following major NEWS Items:

The big news, of course, BREXIT, the spectacular British exit from the E.U. overshadows all other current news stories.

The Passing of the famous Italian star with the English name, Bud Spencer, big news in all Italian papers. No news elsewhere

Islamic attack in Dacca, Bangladesh  -- seven italians among the hostages. 

Olivia Dehaviland, (born 1916) -- last survivor of GWTW and the Golden Age of Hollywood, celebrates her 100th birthday. She was a mere 23 at the time of the movie. Biz a  hindert untzvontzik!


Brando wooden in Countess from Hong Kong


Four rediscoveries yesterday at Cinema Ritrovato:

1. The Countess from Hong Kong, 1967.

Chaplin's directorial swan song starring Marlon Brando at his most wooden and Sofia Loren at her most ridiculous. Arguably one of the worst big name films ever, but I loved watching this early study in High Camp and have to agree with Peter Von Bragh's dissenting opinion that CFHK is a masterpiece -- of corny Camp!  Brando's stiffness as a wealthy diplomat is the crowning pit of his career. Tippi Hedren steals the show in the final act.


2."MURIEL, ou le temps d'un retour", Resnais, 1963.

    Resnais' followup to Last Year at Marienbad stars the same actress, la Divina Delphine (Seyrig) -- but set in contemporary Boulogne in the wake of the Algerian war of secession. Loved it when I saw it in 1963 and had the hots for la Nouvelle Vague. Was bored to walkout depths this time around with all those discussions of who remembers what and why. This two hour dissertation does not stand the test of Father Time.


3. Adieu Bonaparte (Arabicوداعا بونابرت‎‎, Yussef Chahine (Egypt), 1985.  A reinterpretation of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt on an epic scale. French and Egyptian dialogue. Chahine (يوسف شاهين) ~ who died in 1994 at age 82 --was Egypt's most renowned director. Film features Michel Piccoli as one legged General Caffarelli, sympathetic to the Egyptian cause against the French. While Chahine was greatly respected in France the film was nor well received in The Hexagon because of the obvious anti-French imperialism message. Most notable scene, Naked Piccoli in steam bath revealing his very hairy chest and abdomen. The iconic French actor is still alive and kicking (against the National Front) at age 90.

4. "JAZZ Musume Tanjo" (A jazz girl is born), 1957, starring Top Jap-Pop songstress of the time, Chiemi Eri and Yujiro Ishihara, Japan's answer to Frank Sinatra. (She was later married to top Japanese Yakuza eiga star, Takakura Ken).

A real unabashed untarnished Japanese color musical directed by Masahisa Sunohara, a journeyman commercial director for Nikkatsu. The production numbers of such well known American hits of the early fifties as "Jambalaya", a clone of Rosemary Clooney's giant 1951 hit "Come On-a My House", "Bluei Moon" and "Walking (singing) in the Rain", sung in both English and Japanese, can stand up to any MGM equivalent. The Jazz section with five Screen inserts and Yujiro blowing trumpet is a mind bender and a finger snapper. A total joy to watch although it helps if you are American and a throwback to the fifties. I wanted to stand up and cheer after every musical number but the stoic festival audience at the cinema Arlechino was watching it in serious quiet absorption.


Tonight a reprise of the exceptional Peter Von Bagh documentary "Peter Von Bagh", former Finnish visiting art director of the Bologna Cineteca. After seeing the première in Finland a couple of weeks ago I realized there was so much in it that I would simply have to see it again -- multiple times if possible -- someday.  Well, whuddyaknow -- Someday came sooner than expected. Here I have already seen it once again, and tonight's repeat will be the third time.  

Come to Bologna, "Ask and Ye shall receive"


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