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Titanus. A family history of Italian cinema

Titanus – still in operation today – is the oldest-established of the great Italian production companies, and one of the oldest in the world. Gustavo Lombardo founded the firm in 1904 and Goffredo Lombardo, who took over after his father’s death in 1951, steered the company through the crucial decades of Italian cinema, including some crisis-ridden periods. In recent years, Titanus has concentrated on television, while still keeping alive its cinematic tradition. Guido Lombardo, son of Goffredo, is the current chairman.

Titanus effectively had a hand in virtually the entire history of Italian cinema. Sometimes its involvement was only in distribution, at least on paper, but even then it often influenced projects during planning and production, too. For decades Titanus also had its own film studios, dubbing facilities and theaters, forming a vertically integrated chain that interacted with Italian filmmaking across the board, including through co-productions, especially with France and the USA.

This retrospective selection focuses on the production heyday from 1945 to 1965 – which happens to coincide with the richest and most vibrant period of the whole of Italian cinema – but with a number of flashbacks and flashforwards to significant moments outside those two decades. We move from the final years of Gustavo Lombardo, an unjustly neglected period in which Titanus engaged to some extent in neo-realism, to the hand-over from father to son, a phase hallmarked by the great Matarazzo melodramas with the duo of Sanson and Nazzari, metaphorical milestones of developments in the family business, to the 1950s and the successful glut of genre and “serial” pictures helmed by great names like Mastrocinque, Comencini, Bragaglia, Risi, De Santis, Lattuada, Pietrangeli and even, on occasion, Rossellini, Antonioni and Fellini.

With the 1960s, Titanus put its weight behind a new kind of auteur filmmaking, picking up on and revealing to the world the talent of Zurlini, Olmi, De Seta and other young directors. Finally, Lombardo brought in Luchino Visconti to direct an iconic production for Titanus, one which somehow seemed presaged by its heraldic corporate logo, and which now finds an appropriate echo in the “Leopard” of Locarno.

Featuring both rare films and others that are better known but still in need of critical attention, the program also rejects any simplistic distinctions between “genre” and “auteur”, embracing titles by Freda, Bava, Tourneur, Ulmer, Corbucci, Fizzarotti... all of which emulate the mastery of “mise en scène” displayed by Raffaello Matarazzo.
 
Sergio M. Germani
Roberto Turigliatto

The retrospective, supported for the second year by the Swiss Post, is organized in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, where the Titanus archive is deposited, the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca Nazionale (National Film Archive), the book’s co-publisher, the Istituto Luce Cinecittà and the Cinémathèque suisse in Lausanne.
Numerous European and American institutions will repeat the program: the Cineteca di Bologna, the Cineteca Nazionale (National Film Archive) in Rome, the National Cinema Museum in Turin, the Cinémathèque suisse, the Cinémas du Grütli in Geneva, the Filmpodium in Zurich, the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, the American Cinematheque and the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles.

Among the guests of the Titanus retrospective taking part at the Festival will be Dario Argento, introducing his first feature film The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, actress and singer Rita Pavone, with Lina Wertmüller’s Non stuzzicate la zanzara, and Eleonora Brown, introducing Two Women and Amore mio.

Alongside the program of screenings, the Festival audience will also have the opportunity to attend a round-table on Titanus cinema, chaired by Sergio M. Germani and Roberto Turigliatto and with Bernard Eisenschitz, Gian Luca Farinelli, Chris Fujiwara, Miguel Marias, Emiliano Morreale e Simone Starace. This event will be held on Tuesday 12 August at 10:00 in the Spazio Cinema (Forum).

For the occasion, and in collaboration with the Locarno Festival, the Edizioni Sabinae will publish Titanus. Family Diary of Italian Cinema. This volume, in an English/Italian version, contains documentation articles and critical analyses, and is edited by film critic Sergio M. Germani, Simone Starace and Roberto Turigliatto.
 

TRAPPOLA by Eugenio Perego – Italy – 1922 – 58 min.

CASA MIA, DONNA MIA... by Charles Krauss – Italy – 1923 – 64 min.

LA CARNE E L’ANIMA by Vladimir Strizhevsky – Italy – 1945 – 83 min.

GIORNI DI GLORIA (Days of Glory) by Giuseppe De Santis, Marcello Pagliero, Mario Serandrei and Luchino Visconti – Italy/Switzerland – 1945 – 72 min.

CRONACA NERA by Giorgio Bianchi – Italy – 1947 – 90 min.

LO SCIOPERO DEI MILIONI by Raffaello Matarazzo – Italy – 1947 – 84 min.

LA MADONNA DI POMPEI A NAPOLI – anonymous – Italy – 1948 – 11 min.

MARIA DENIS E LE SUE PRIGIONI – anonymous (attributed to Giorgio Bianchi) – Italy – 1948 – 9 min.

CATENE (Chains) by Raffaello Matarazzo – Italy – 1949 – 91 min.

PROSSIMAMENTE…TITANUS - UNA STORIA LUNGO I TRAILERS – Italy – 60 min.
Curated by the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna

TORMENTO by Raffaello Matarazzo – Italy – 1950 – 93 min.

I FIGLI DI NESSUNO (Nobody’s Children) by Raffaello Matarazzo – Italy/France – 1951 – 92 min.

IL TALLONE DI ACHILLE by Mario Amendola and Ruggero Maccari – Italy – 1952 – 83 min.

ATTANASIO CAVALLO VANESIO (Trailer) by Camillo Mastrocinque – Italy – 1953 – 5 min.

PANE AMORE E FANTASIA (Bread, Love and Dreams) by Luigi Comencini – Italy – 1953 – 92 min.

SIAMO DONNE (We, the Women) by Gianni Franciolini, Alfredo Guarini, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti and Luigi Zampa – Italy – 1953 – 101 min.

IL SOLE NEGLI OCCHI (Empty Eyes) by Antonio Pietrangeli – Italy – 1953 – 101 min.

MADDALENA by Augusto Genina – Italy/France – 1954 – 103 min.

PANE AMORE E GELOSIA (Frisky) by Luigi Comencini – Italy – 1954 – 98 min.

SCUOLA ELEMENTARE (Primary School) by Alberto Lattuada – Italy – 1954 – 100 min.
 
LA SPIAGGIA (Riviera) by Alberto Lattuada – Italy/France – 1954 – 102 min.

TORNA! by Raffaello Matarazzo – Italy – 1954 – 98 min.

L’ANGELO BIANCO (The White Angel) by Raffaello Matarazzo – Italy – 1955 – 100 min.

LE AMICHE by Michelangelo Antonioni – Italy – 1955 – 105 min.

IL BIDONE by Federico Fellini – Italy/France – 1955 – 112 min.

UN EROE DEI NOSTRI TEMPI (A Hero of Our Times) by Mario Monicelli – Italy – 1955 – 89 min.

POVERI MA BELLI (Poor but Beautiful) by Dino Risi – Italy/France – 1956 – 101 min.

TOTÒ LASCIA O RADDOPPIA? (Totò Double or Nothing?) by Camillo Mastrocinque – Italy – 1956 – 90 min.

UOMINI E LUPI (Men and Wolves) by Giuseppe De Santis – Italy/France – 1957 – 97 min.

I VAMPIRI (Lust of the Vampire) by Riccardo Freda – Italy – 1957 – 81 min.

TUPPE TUPPE, MARESCIÀ! by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia – Italy– 1958 – 94 min.

LA BATTAGLIA DI MARATONA (The Giant of Marathon) by Jacques Tourneur and Bruno Vailati– Italy/France – 1959 – 84 min.

ESTATE VIOLENTA (Violent Summer) by Valerio Zurlini – Italy/France – 1959 – 98 min.

I MAGLIARI (The Magliari) by Francesco Rosi – Italy/France – 1959 – 116 min.

ANONIMA COCOTTES (Little Girls and High Finance) by Camillo Mastrocinque – Italy/France – 1960 – 107 min.

DOLCI INGANNI (Sweet Deceptions) by Alberto Lattuada – Italy/France – 1960 – 91 min.

ANTINEA, L’AMANTE DELLA CITTÀ SEPOLTA (Journey Beneath the Desert) by Frank Borzage, Giuseppe Masini and Edgar G. Ulmer – Italia/Francia – 1961 – 88 min.

BANDITI A ORGOSOLO (Bandits of Orgosolo) by Vittorio De Seta – Italy – 1961 – 98 min.

LA CIOCIARA (Two Women) by Vittorio De Sica – Italy/France – 1961 – 101 min.

LA RAGAZZA CON LA VALIGIA (Girl with a Suitcase) by Valerio Zurlini – Italy/France – 1961 – 121 min.

CRONACA FAMILIARE (Family Portrait) by Valerio Zurlini – Italy – 1962 – 107 min.

I GIORNI CONTATI (The Days are Numbered) by Elio Petri – Italy – 1962 – 98 min.

LA LEGGE DELLA TROMBA by Augusto Tretti – Italy – 1962 – 85 min.

LA CORRUZIONE (Corruption) by Mauro Bolognini – Italy/France – 1963 – 82 min.

I FIDANZATI (The Fiances) by Ermanno Olmi – Italy – 1963 – 77 min.

LA FRUSTA E IL CORPO (The Whip and the Body) by Mario Bava – Italy/France – 1963 – 87 min.

IL GATTOPARDO (The Leopard) by Luchino Visconti – Italy/France – 1963 – 185 min.
(Piazza Grande)

IL GIORNO PIÙ CORTO (The Shortest Day) by Sergio Corbucci – Italy – 1963 – 91 min.

AMORE MIO by Raffaello Matarazzo – Italy – 1964 – 95 min.

IL DEMONIO (The Demon) by Brunello Rondi – Italy/France – 1964 – 100 min.

NON STUZZICATE LA ZANZARA by Lina Wertmüller – Italy – 1967 – 103 min.

L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) by Dario Argento – Italy/ex Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) – 1970 – 96 min.

LA PRIMA NOTTE DI QUIETE (Indian Summer) by Valerio Zurlini – Italy/France – 1972 – 130 min.

BUON NATALE… BUON ANNO (Merry Christmas… Happy New Year) by Luigi Comencini – Italy/France – 1989 – 105 min.             

L’ULTIMO GATTOPARDO by Giuseppe Tornatore – Italy – 2010 – 100 min.

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