Monday, October 08, 2018

Note dal fronte / Notes from the Front (2018 Le Giornate del Cinema Muto)

Notes from the Front: Music, Words, and Images of the Great War
Concerto-spettacolo / Multimedia concert; prima rappresentazione / first performance: Spilimbergo, “Le Giornate della Luce”, 12.6.2016.
mus: Francesco Bearzatti, Angelo Comisso, Romano Todesco.
coord. artistico/artistic coord: Romano Todesco.
arrangiamenti/arrangements: Zerorchestra.
voce recitante/reciter: Sandro Buzzatti.
testi/texts, cons. storica/historical cons: Lucio Fabi.
estratti da/excerpts from: La guerra d’Italia a 3000 metri sull’Adamello (Luca Comerio, IT 1916); In trincea (Luca Comerio, IT 1917); Das zerstörte Görz [Gorizia distrutta/Gorizia destroyed] (Sascha Film, AT 1916); Les Annales de la Guerre n. 8 (Luca Comerio, IT 1917); [L’avanzata delle forze armate] (Sascha Film, AT 1918); [Grado, Udine] (Sascha Film, AT 1918); [Antologia della Grande Guerra: Verdun; Piave] (1918); La battaglia dall’Astico al Piave (Silvio Laurenti Rosa; Reparto Cinematografico dell’Esercito Italiano, IT 1918); Ingresso degli italiani a Trento e a Rovereto (Reparto Cinematografico dell’Esercito Italiano, IT 1918); Primo omaggio di Trieste liberata al suo Re (Reparto Cinematografico dell’Esercito Italiano, IT 1918); US Army Activities in Italy during World War I (US 1918).
copia/copy: DCP, 76′, did./titles: ITA, GER, FRA, ENG.
fonte/source: Cinemazero, Pordenone; La Cineteca del Friuli, Gemona del Friuli
© Le Giornate del Cinema Muto | Pordenone Silent Film Festival 2018
    Accompagnamento musicale dal vivo eseguito da Zerorchestra / Live musical accompaniment performed by Zerorchestra: Francesco Bearzatti (sax tenore/tenor saxophone; clarinetto/clarinet), Mirko Cisilino (tromba/trumpet, flicorno/flügelhorn, trombone), Luca Colussi (batteria/drums); Angelo Comisso (pianoforte/piano); Luca Grizzo (percussioni/percussion, effetti sonori/sd. effects), Didier Ortolan (clarinetto basso/bass clarinet), Gaspare Pasini (sax soprano, contralto, baritono/soprano, alto, baritone saxophone); Romano Todesco (contrabbasso/double bass, fisarmonica/accordion), Luigi Vitale (vibrafono/vibraphone, xilofono/xylophone).
    Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM).
    Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Pordenone (Il centenario della Grande Guerra), 8 Oct 2018

Lucio Fabi (GCM): "Notes from the Front is a project distinguished by its original and innovative multi-disciplinary approach, which assembles arrangements of popular war songs of the period and original new music by Pordenone’s Zerorchestra with a chronologically complete, thematic review of film footage shot dal vero (“from life”) in war zones by Italian, Austro-Hungarian, and American cameramen. The visual material is set against readings of extracts from diaries kept by soldiers from the two armies. The various sources – musical, cinematic, and autobiographical – are combined to create a unique emotional experience, which simultaneously recounts the war, sheds light on propaganda techniques, compares them with soldiers’ accounts, and puts a modern slant on the music of the time inspired by the war."

"The result is a multimedia concert evoking the Great War as it was actually lived and recounted by its leading protagonists – the men in different uniforms crammed in the trenches on the Italian-Austrian front, from the Adamello mountains to the Carso (Karst plateau), from the Upper Isonzo Valley to the river Piave. Soldiers and civilians take centre stage with their stories and concrete examples of the consequences of the war termed “Great”, a war which remains at the origins of the conflicts and ideologies of a century of blood, the 20th, which we are still unable to put behind us."

"The project’s educational approach takes it beyond entertainment, to spread awareness of the historical events and the human and social factors of the war. This determined the chronological and thematic outline of the film material, a range of newsreels selected from the collections of the Cineteca del Friuli that illustrate the stages of the war."

"The film material assembled in Notes from the Front is accompanied by a careful selection of excerpts from the diaries of officers and enlisted men that bear witness to the thoughts of the soldiers represented on film. The medium of cinema necessarily reflects “the official eye” of the conflict, an effective weapon of wartime propaganda. But the diaries and letters written by men directly involved in the fighting serve to disclose the ulterior motives behind the propaganda, and highlight the firsthand experiences of those who, living with fear and death in the line of fire, had no intention of distorting the circumstances of the brutal reality they lived and suffered. The sources for the autobiographical accounts – read by actor Sandro Buzzatti – are the National Diary Archive in Pieve Santo Stefano (Arezzo) and the personal collection of the project’s curator."
Lucio Fabi (GCM)

The music

Piero Colussi (GCM): "The project Notes from the Front has for the first time ever compelled the Zerorchestra to devise a musical accompaniment consisting not of original compositions but instead drawing on a rich repertoire of both popular and serious music, inspired by and composed in the years of Italy’s participation in the First World War, 1915-1918. Songs that reflected a need to relieve the frustrations of trench warfare, the separation of families, the fear of death, and rage against a war as bloody as it was incomprehensible. Sentiments like those found in songs like “O Gorizia tu sei maledetta” (O Gorizia, You Are Cursed), or others which are now part of the mountain tradition, like “Ta-pum”, “Ai preat” (I Prayed), and “Monte Canino” (Mount Canino). Others reflected needs that were more military, such as “La leggenda del Piave” (The Legend of the Piave) and “Monte Grappa tu sei la mia Patria” (Mount Grappa, You Are My Homeland), both of which were written in the summer of 1918 to raise the morale of the Italian troops and encourage them to resist the Austro-Hungarian offensive. The pieces have been deconstructed and recomposed in a decidedly contemporary-sounding arrangement by Angelo Comisso and Francesco Bearzatti, while Romano Todesco has deftly woven the score’s many musical threads into a single design." Piero Colussi (GCM)

AA: A film concert, a montage film, a requiem. A lament and a memorial. The official records show the solemn parades and victories. The soldiers' testimonies reveal a contrasting reality. The passionate and discordant music conveys the unhealed agony about the senseless butchery.

Since five years there have been centenary events of the First World War. In Pordenone the Luca Comerio screenings have been particularly memorable. This multimedia concert is a distinguished recapitulation.

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