All about Bellocchio

A retrospective exhibition and book launch.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Marco Bellocchio at the 2013 Open Roads: New Italian Cinema for Dormant Beauty (Bella Addormentata): "So the issue, the theme of awakening back to life is very present."
Marco Bellocchio at the 2013 Open Roads: New Italian Cinema for Dormant Beauty (Bella Addormentata): "So the issue, the theme of awakening back to life is very present." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The Museum of Modern Art and Luce Cinecittà organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator in the Department of Film at MoMA, and Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero of Luce Cinecittà are presenting Marco Bellocchio: A Retrospective running from April 16 - May 7, 2014. This is the third collaboration, following exhibitions for Pier Paolo Pasolini and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Il Gattopardo luncheon for Marco Bellocchio in New York
Il Gattopardo luncheon for Marco Bellocchio in New York Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The opening night screening of The Wedding Director (Il Regista di matrimoni) starring Sergio Castellitto, Donatella Finocchiaro, and Sami Frey was introduced by Marco Bellocchio. Tonight, Bellocchio and Maya Sansa will introduce Dormant Beauty (Bella Addormentata) which stars Isabelle Huppert, Toni Servillo, Alba Rohrwacher, Pier Giorgio Bellocchio and Sansa at MoMA.

At the luncheon arranged by Sally Fischer PR at Il Gattopardo in Manhattan, the lively discussions at the long table with sky-high headroom above never strayed far from Bellocchio's work. How the title of his directorial debut, I Pugni In Tasca (Fists In The Pocket 1965) loses some of its revolutionary strength in the English translation, and how the film gave voice to a generation ahead of its time, were some of the topics.

Last year, in my conversation with Bellocchio about Dormant Beauty and his 2009 film Vincere during Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, we spoke about the possibility of cinema as a wake-up call. He said "So the issue, the theme of awakening back to life is very present. There's two cases: those that are asleep and can no longer wake up and then there's those who are asleep but there's still a possibility for them to awaken. So in a general sense, it has been said, and I can see that, we can be talking about Italy as a country as well. Italy as a country can be seen as a metaphor, as being asleep and needing someone to go and wake her up."

Marco Bellocchio at Il Gattopardo luncheon: "You start out from an inspiration that you get images and stories from, and then you jump off a cliff without a net."
Marco Bellocchio at Il Gattopardo luncheon: "You start out from an inspiration that you get images and stories from, and then you jump off a cliff without a net." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Antonio Monda, co-director of Le Conversazioni, who sat across from Bellocchio at the luncheon, wrote on Good Morning, Night: History and Revolution (Buongiorno, notte 2003) in Morality And Beauty (Morale E Bellezza, Marco Bellocchio, Istituto Luce Cinecittà 2014), the book that accompanies the MoMA retrospective. "Bellocchio had related the anguish and necessity of rebellion with extraordinary results and had unhesitatingly attacked every possible act of institutional hypocrisy. Yet, in this film, he celebrated the person who was the symbol of the institutions." The film about the kidnapping and assassination of Aldo Moro, Monda argues, shows perfectly Bellocchio's progression as a filmmaker who never stops being challenged and challenging his audience.

Simone Gattoni, producer of Bellocchio's upcoming film about a 17th century nun, told me a little about the project, which will begin shooting this summer. It most certainly will be a new chapter in Bellocchio's oeuvre of morality and beauty.


Marco Bellocchio: A Retrospective at MoMA
Marco Bellocchio: A Retrospective at MoMA Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The book launch will take place Thursday, April 17th at the Italian Cultural Institute. Morality And Beauty (Morale E Bellezza, Marco Bellocchio) includes forwards written by Richard Peña, former New York Film Festival Director of Programming and Selection Committee Chair, 1988 - 2012 (Marco Bellocchio: Back in the USA), Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, producer, actor (Me, His Teacher? I Think That’s Saying Too Much) and Sergio Toffetti, visiting curator of Italian cinema at the Cinémathèque Française (Morality And Beauty). All of the essays The Filmmaking Machine (La Machine Cinema) and Readings And Interpretations (Lettuce E Interpretation) are published in English and Italian with beautiful images from Bellocchio's films.

Isabella Rossellini and Salman Rushdie will join Antonio Monda in Le Conversazioni to speak about their favorite films on May 8, 2014 at the Morgan Library & Museum.

Included in the retrospective: Il Regista Di Matrimoni (The Wedding Director); Bella addormentata (Dormant Beauty); I Pugni In Tasca (Fists In The Pocket); Gli Occhi, La Bocca (The Eyes, The Mouth); Il Principe Di Homburg (The Prince Of Homburg); La Balia (The Nanny); Enrico IV (Henry IV); Buongiorno notte (Good Morning, Night); Sbatti Il Monstro In Prima Pagina (Slap The Monster On Page One); L’Ora Di Religione (My Mother’s Smile); Diavolo In Corpo (Devil In The Flesh); Discutiamo, Discutiamo (Let’s Discuss); Nel Nome Del Padre (In The Name Of The Father); La Condanna (The Conviction); Vacanze In Val Trebbia (Vacation In Val Trebbia); Salto Nel Vuoto (A Leap In The Dark); La Cina è Vicina (China Is Near); Vincere.

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