Lights, Camera, Emotion!


Every year, as part of the Rome Film Festival, a series of exhibitions demonstrate the great Italian movie moguls and makers of big screen magic.

This year, the Rome Film Festival 2013 celebrates three Italians who have contributed to Italian cinematic history, with a celebratory exhibition in the foyer of the Sala Santa Cecilia at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, funded by Media Friends and The Rome Film Festival.

The magic three are directors Giuseppe Tornatore and Massimo Troisi, and actress Anna Magnani, with a themed sense of emotion threading them seamlessly together for this expo.

Tornatore, the maestro of the mostra, won an Oscar for The Best Foreign Language Film, for Cinema Paradiso in 1989. For Tornatore’s 2012 thriller ‘The Best Offer’, with Geoffrey Rush and Donald Sutherland, the foyer is turned into an art gallery in tribute to the art theme of the movie, reminiscent from a scene.

The Best Offer is a dark, twisted masterpiece focusing on the condition of agoraphobia, despair, and betrayal.  Rush masters his role as art dealer and collector Virgil Oldman, who is the main character in this psychological thriller, made even more somber thanks to an eerie score by Ennio Morricone.

Black and white movie stills of Virgil Oldman decorate the foyer corridor, whilst reproductions of priceless masterpieces by the likes of Dutch Baroque artist Johannes Vermeer, hang on the wall. Cogs, wheels, and clock faces deliver the final touch, adding further grandeur to this display, with clocks also playing a key role, being relevant to the storyline of the movie.

Further recognition is given in this exhibit to Massimo Troisi (19 February 1953 – 4 June 1994) the Italian actor and film director, best known for his role as Mario Ruoppolo in the 1994 film, Il Postino (The Postman). Troisi was one of only seven actors to ever be posthumously nominated for an acting Academy Award. His beginnings in Cabaret took him onto television stardom, further leading to film making, and a series of beautiful poster shots record the highlights of his career.

Troisi literally gave his life to finish his last film Il Postino. Aware of a heart condition he suffered, stemming from his teens, and bouts of rheumatic fever, he was told that he needed surgery, but wanted to continue the making of this film. He died 12 hours after the camera stopped rolling.

Finally, Anna Magnani (7 March 1908-26 September 1973) is an Oscar winning actress, celebrated through a series of black and white photographs called ‘Portrait of Anna’. Magnani won her Oscar in 1956 for her portrayal of a Sicilian widow, in the film The Rose Tattoo, of the play by Tennessee Williams. He wrote the screenplay especially for her to star in after writing the Broadway version for her, originally rejected by Magnani because of her difficulty with English. She was the first Italian actress to receive an Oscar, and worked with the top Italian film directors for over 20 years. Film historian Barry Monush (co-editor of ‘Screen World’) deemed her “The volcanic mother earth of all Italian cinema”, known for her passionate, fiery and fearless performing and temperament.

Magnani deserves the decidant dedication. Tennessee Williams, after meeting her, said, “I never saw a more beautiful woman, enormous eyes, skin the color of Devonshire cream”.

With the glamour and instinct of Magnani, Troisi’s dedication and commitment, and Tornatore’s sense of emotional attachment, these three internationally famed masterminds, fit well together. It seems fitting therefore that they share this space in recognition of their significance and contribution to Italian film.

Whilst the foyer clocks ticked away waiting for this winners of the weekends awards ceremony, there was an exiting buzz mixed with a dimension of tension, as we wondered who the winners would be.

Extra note:

Not to miss out on a good cause, and also spotted in the foyer, was a collection box for the Italian charity CIAI, who sponsor Microcredit activities to support women and children in difficulty.

CIAI Italian Association to Aid the Children is a non profit organization founded in 1968. Since then, CIAI has dedicated itself to promote the acknowledgement of all children as human beings and to defend their basic rights to live, to be healthy, to have a family and an education, to play and to be innocent everywhere around the world. Solidarity and Cooperation Our aim is to prevent children from being abandoned.

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