Saturday, July 02, 2011

A Hundred Years Ago: Programme 9: Pantomime 2 - Punch, Pierrot, Pinocchio

Cento anni fa: Programma 9: Pantomima 2 - Pulcinella, Pierrot, Pinocchio. Programme by Mariann Lewinsky and notes by David Mayer, Giovanni Lasi. Saturday 2 July 2011 at 11.15, Cinema Lumière - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni (Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato). Grand piano: Antonio Coppola.

Catalogue: "Albert Capellani’s féerie Vie de Polichinelle (1907) begins as Polichinelle, an automaton in a toyshop, is separated from his partner, a female automaton, when she is boxed and shipped to a ducal palace to amuse the noble’s aristocratic guests. Despairing, Polichinelle is given a chance to recover this human-size doll when a fairy queen gives him life. Polichinelle or Punch, much like Pinocchio, is far more human than a toy, and the scenic obstacles that he encounters are fully realised renderings of the effects described and illustrated in Georges Moynet’s Trucs et Décors (1893). Theatre historians seeking to recover the narrative and technologies of late-Victorian pantomime in a accessible early twentieth century French film may find that wish satisfied by this Pathé film. (David Mayer).""

"One somersault and Tontolini turned into the most famous puppet in the world: with a flip Ferdinand Guillaume, the actor of Cines’s famous comic series, opened Pinocchio, the Roman studio’s kilometric feature length film. The French actor’s impressive athletic feat – he was the descendant of a famous circus family – is a minor performance in comparison to Cines’s extraordinary show of strength producing 1350 meters, a length that had never been reached before in the history of Italian film. The film, shot by Gant (the pseudonym of Count Giulio Antamoro), transferred to screen the parable of the wooden puppet by Carlo Collodi (alias Carlo Lorenzini), keeping intact the underlying educational values of the story, the spectacular qualities of the adventure genre, even including an improvised charge of Indians, which evidently was not contemplated by the original literary work. Despite the lively action of the film, Pinocchio by Cines stands out for its lyricism and the touching drama with which the most moving episodes of the story are resolved, admirably translated into “film” with the skills Antamoro and the acting abilities of Guillaume, who proves to be not only an acrobat but also a great actor. (Giovanni Lasi).""

LA LÉGENDE DE POLICHINELLE. FR 1907. D: Albert Capellani. Cast: Max Linder; P: Pathé Frères (No. 1783). 35 mm. L. or.: 410 m. 340 m. 16’30'' a 18 fps. B&w. Russkie intertitry. From: BFI National Archive. - AA: Une féerie. Title of the print (in Russian): Legenda o Polishinele. Earphone commentary in English and Italian. Resembles Méliès in many ways but with original accents. The hero Pulcinella rides a toy horse. There is a magic castle, and an enchanted forest with swamps. The castle perishes utterly and the lady partner breaks into pieces. Pulcinella collects them in his sack, and the lady is assembled again. A black and white print of a film obviously designed for colour effects.

FUMÉES D’IVRESSE. FR 1910. 35 mm. 50 m. 2‘ a 16 fps. B&w. Intertitres français. From: CNC-Archives Françaises du Film. - AA: The title on the print: Hallucination de Pierrot. A simple vignette: Pierrot wanders in the park, and the statue of a gorgeous woman comes into life in his hallucination.

PINOCCHIO. IT 1911. D: Giulio Antamoro. Based on the fairy tale novel (1883) by Carlo Collodi. Cast: Ferdinand Guillaume (Pinocchio), Augusto Mastripietri (Geppetto), Lea Giunchi (la fata), Natalino Guillaume (Lucignolo); P: Cines (No. 672). 35 mm. L. or.: 1350 m. 1086 m. 53’ a 18 fps. Col. Italian intertitles. From: CSC Cineteca Nazionale Restaurato dalla Cineteca Nazionale CSC in coll. con La Cineteca Italiana di Milano. - Mariann Lewinsky told us that this film was the longest Italian film so far. - AA: The restoration is from 1994. This film is episodic, and some episodes may be missing, but that does not harm. Polidor (Ferdinand Guillaume) has an inspired touch in his interpretation of Pinocchio. The colours of this restoration are strong. Episodes include: pandemonium in the market place, Pinocchio's feet burn in the fireplace, Pinocchio is made to serve as a watchdog, the burglars arrest Pinocchio and hang him, but the Blue Fairy rescues him, the Fox and the Cat (la Volpe e il Gatto) seduce Pinocchio to the Stupid Bastard City and steal his coins, Pinocchio escapes prison and swims 99 days until he lands into the whale's belly from where he rescues Geppetto. They are taken captive by Indians, and Pinocchio rescues Geppetto from the Indians' barbecue stake, Canadian soldiers kill the Indians and shoot Pinocchio with a cannon back home, Pinocchio comes to a puppet theatre (teatro dei burattini), tired of Pinocchio, Geppetto attacks him with an axe, Pinocchio comes to the land of eternal play and is transformed into a donkey, but the Blue Fairy rescues him a second time. When Pinocchio once more returns home the Blue Fairy works her magic to turn him into a real boy. - Still charming to watch.

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