Do you know what the official birthday of Cinema is?
On December 28th, 1895, the Lumiere brothers gathered a group of 200 people at Grand Cafè de Paris and showed them 17 short films, of an approximate duration of 40 seconds each. The most popular of which is the so called “arrival of a train at a station”. It became so famous because people never saw anything like that before thus they got upset that the train would get out of the screen killing everyone in the room, which they left in a big rush shouting out loud, scared to death.
However, what is nowadays called the “Cinema Industry” is believed to be born in Torino, Italy, in 1914. It is in the former capital of Italy, in fact, that the very first “movie” was filmed by a local director named Giovanni Pastrone. The movie is called “Cabiria”, a silent film taken at the very first studio ever opened, called Itala Film. The movie is divided into 5 episodes, the most popular of which tells the story of a young wealthy girl called Cabiria, living at the bottom of the Etna Volcano in Sicily, who miraculously escapes a massive eruption while her family believes she has been killed by the ashes.
As you can see on the poster, the name of the Director, Giovanni Pastrone, does not appear. In fact to make it a success he decided to call the most popular Italian man of the times, the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, to write the subtitles. He gladly accepted and the experiment turned out to be an incredible success.
After that, a series of studios were opened in Torino until 1936 when the leader of the Fascist Regime decided to get a tight control over cinema production and forced all of them to move to Rome where he constructed the so called “hollywood on the Tiber”: the Cinecittà studios, made famous by Federico Fellini.
In 2000, thanks to a donation of a local collector and huge investment by the central Government and the local administrations, the National Museum of Cinema was opened in Torino, to honor the role of the city in paving the way for one of the biggest industries of our times. The museum was placed inside the most iconic building of the city, the Mole Antonelliana, built to be the new Jewish Sinagogue but whose destiny led it away from that, which also is the tallest building in the world for non residential purposes.
The Museum is home to an incredible collection of all the inventions that led many to almost get to same point of the Lumiere Brothers, which is called the “Archeology of Cinema” as well as of an enormous number of relics such as costumes, screenplays and puppets used for filming major production, including E.T, the original costume of the bad boy of the Star Wars saga and so on.
Before the Museum was opened however, Torino started hosting a very unique Film Festival. It might not be as famous as the Venice or Cannes or Berlin’s festivals, because its aim is to support first or second works by discovering the most talented new directors and producers, especially the independent ones. Thus no red carpets neither posh dresses for hollyqood stars, just cinema.
Torino Film Festival was established in 1982 as the International Youth Film Festival, or more simply Youth Cinema. The festival is a forum dedicated to supporting independent cinema, first and second works, documentaries and linguistic experimentation. The festival also supports research on the history of cinema. What makes the Torino Film Festival unique is its commitment to diversity, collaboration and innovation. This unique mix draws a passionate community of filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate the power of cinema to unite and inspire us.Torino Film Festival staff
Despite the pandemic, The Torino Film Festival will be held in 2020 too from November 20th to the 28th, in the safest possible mode, by limiting the access to the theatres to the numbers suitable to respect preventive measures. You might not be able to come and enjoy the festival this year but you migh bookmark its website and plan your next trip to Torino on the same dates next year.
Are you a Cinema Lover too?