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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Bologna Diary (4) - Mizoguchi, Mario Soldati, Jacques Becker

The need for another review by someone who doesn't know near enough about Kenji Mizoguchi is clear. No need. Especially so as the first film at Bologna was the master's Shin Heike Monogatari/New Tales of the Taira Clan, (Japan, 1955) which my memory tells me was the first film I saw at Bologna last year. Why the need for a second go round of the gorgeous restoration and its fine digital projection is no doubt buried somewhere in the catalogue which I haven't opened let alone read....

Mario Soldati
Mario Soldati is largely unknown but after 30 years Bologna is starting to burrow deeper into the second ranks of Italian directors. In previous years it has presented Luigi Zampa, Renato Castellani and Riccardo Freda. Soldati was a working director long before neo-realism and his 1939 Dora Nelson remake of a French film about an arrogant actress who stalks off a movie and is replaced by a fresh-faced lookalike who works as a milliner in a hat shop. The two parts are of course played by the same actress who can thus run the gamut. "Pirandellian" a friend said but domestic rom-com form the late 30s when the world is capsizing but there's no sign of trouble here. The restoration work was excellent

Jacques Becker's Goupi Mains Rouge (France, 1943) was introduced by Bernard Eisenchitz and then followed a rather longish ramble from Noel Very the son of the author Pierre Very who wrote the source novel and then the script of the film. Set in the back blocks its a film about a single family all at constant war. Noel Very explained how he has undertaken the task of retrieving and restoring the films in which his father was involved - finding the prints and negatives, obtaining funding from the national CNC and then controlling the superb 4K restoration. More to come later when Eisenschitz leads a discussion session about Becker's work.

.....and there were at least 10,000 people watching Chaplin's Modern Times (USA, 1935) in the open air screening in Piazza Maggiore. Happy days....

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