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EVENTS Italy

100 films to rediscover Italian history

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One hundred Italian films from 1942-1978 have been chosen to bring the country’s history to schools through cinema. The long list of titles – from Alessandro Blasetti’s Four Steps in the Clouds to Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs – was drawn up by a committee led by Fabio Ferzetti, director of Venice Days.

"Young people have lost contact with our collective memory,” says Ferzetti. “Cinema, which is no longer seen on TV, should be part of the educational curriculum, it should be teaching material. We feel that the films we’ve chosen best portray our history and help us rediscover it".

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The list teeming with wonderful titles will definitely evoke controversy (producer Grazia Volpi complained about the lack of female directors), but is "simply a provisional and certainly imperfect catalogue" added Ferzetti in defence of the selection.

The initiative is similar to one undertaken in 2000 by France’s then Minister of Culture and Education Jack Lang with the help of critic Alain Bergala, who was invited yesterday to the Casa del Cinema in Rome to speak of his experience.

"We thought up a collection of DVDs to distribute in schools. Films from throughout the world, not just French films, which were moreover difficult to obtain because of author’s rights. The average price of a DVD was €60,000. Without political will, an undertaking of that kind cannot come to fruition".

The promoters are aware of the many problems that lie ahead. "In order for the project to become operative, we need to track down prints, acquire rights, decide through which channels to propose these and other titles to the schools, and train teachers how to use cinema in a different way", says Ferzetti.

According to director Maurizio Sciarra, new technological media will be used to revitalise something priceless, the memory of which is being lost.

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(Translated from Italian)

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