Monday 30 January 2017

Bologna's Il Cinema Ritrovato - Curator Mariann Lewinsky interviewed by Victoria Duckett

What follows below is a short introductory extract from a much longer interview, with some fascinating pictures accompanying, which appeared in the Winter 2016 edition of the online journal Feminist Media Histories. I was interested in the subject having observed Mariann Lewinsky do intros and lead discussions at Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato in recent years. The interview was conducted by Victoria Duckett the Director of Entertainment Production and Lecturer in Screen Studies in the School of Communication and Creative  Arts  at Deakin University, Melbourne.

VICTORIA DUCKETT Thank you for agreeing to talk with me today. I would like
to start by asking you to explain what you do.

Mariann Lewinsky at Cineteca Bologna
MARIANN LEWINSKY I mainly do silent cinema programs for Il Cinema Ritrovato
here in Bologna. Il Cinema Ritrovato is by now the major international festival
for films of the past, screening not only silent films, but also [films that go] up to the present. This year, for example, the restoration of Chantal Akermans Jeanne Dielman (France, 1975) was screened here. But I mainly work with silent films.

Victoria Duckett What do you do with these sections? What is your role?

MARIANN LEWINSKY: I decide and propose which sections and films I would like to do. However, there is one section we do every year (since 2003), the “100 Years Ago (Cento anni fa] section, presenting films from one hundred years ago. This is a very important
source of inspiration for other [festival] sections. For example, the first feminist or
 womens section I did came from viewing films from and, where I discovered how strong female comedy was in early cinema; it was a real surprise. These, of course, were also the years of the suffragette movement. So I decided to do something on comic actresses and suffragettes. With this program, which I curated for the 2008 Il Cinema Ritrovato together with Bryony Dixon and Madeleine Bernstorff, I managed to implement a womens section. 

Since then we have regularly done programs dedicated to a feminist or lets say a female subject or figure, like “Fearless and Peerless: Adventurous Women of the Silent Screen (in 2010, co-curated with Monica DallAsta); directors Alice Guy (curated by Kim Tomadjoglu), Germaine Dulac (curated by Tami Williams), and Lois Weber (curated by Shelley Stamp); actress-directors like Musidora and Rosa Porten (curated by Annette Förster); and many others. By the way, Il Cinema Ritrovato always had a focus on great actresses, the Italian divas, Lyda Borelli [figure, Bertini, Menichelli, performers like Loïe Fuller or Sarah Bernhardt which you curated in 2006….

For the remainder of this quite long and detailed discussion you will have to go to this post at

More on Il Cinema Ritrovato which takes place in Bologna from 24 June to 2 July 2017 as news comes through.

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