Friday 23 June 2023

A Diary (2) - The Road to Bologna and IL CINEMA RITROVATO - Days and nights in Milan

Dumplings stuffed with potato in a creamy celery and
marmalade (!) sauce served at
Casa Lodi on via Capellari

A bustling place with trams everywhere including right outside my double glazed hotel window. 

There is something about the Brera Pinacoteca which brings you back again and again. For starters there is Mantegna's Lamentations on the Death of Christ with its extreme foreshortening and its echo all the way to Pasolini's Mamma Roma.



But before you get to them you are confronted, twice, with a nude statue of Napoleon by Antonio Canova. Having conquered Northern Italy Nap wanted the Brera to become Italy's Louvre or its Musée Napoléon as the Louvre was called when the great man held sway. Some excerpts from Wikipedia fill in the story

At Napoleon's personal and insistent demand, Canova went to Paris in 1802 to model a bust of him. In 1803, after his return to Rome, he began work on the full-length sculpture; it was completed in 1806. Its idealised nude physique draws on the iconography of Augustus ...France's ambassador in Rome François Cacault and the director of French museums Vivant Denon both saw the sculpture while it was a work in progress: Cacault wrote in 1803 that it "must become the most perfect work of this century", whilst Denon wrote back to Napoleon in 1806 that it belonged indoors in the Musée Napoléon "among the emperors and in the niche where the Laocoon is, in such a manner that it would be the first object that one sees on ...In late 1810 the sculpture was transported to France, reaching Paris on 1 January 1811. When Napoleon saw it there in April 1811 he refused to accept it, calling it "too athletic" and banning the public from seeing it...In 1811 a bronze copy of the statue was cast in Rome by Francesco Righetti and his son Luigi,... Since 1859 the bronze has stood in the main courtyard of Palazzo Brera...In spite of the poor reception of the marble statue, Canova had it cast in plaster. Five copies were made, and were destined for the Accademie di Belle Arti of Italy. The best-preserved of these is now, following restoration in Florence, in the Pinacoteca di Brera. ...and here it is below...

and one other that brings you back.... Caravaggio's Dinner at lighting on the top not MMs

At the Multisala Eliseo each cinema is named after a director (Olmi, Truffaut, Scorsese, Wenders and another). On Thursdays one of their films is screened in its original language. This week its Daliland  a film I'd never heard of. Turns out its directed by Mary Harron from a script by Harron's spouse John Walsh. Ben Kingsley takes on the famous painter and Barbara Sukowa plays the tempestuous and intimidating Gala. Seems it went on at Toronto last year and has since near sunk without trace. The Italian release last month is the first recorded.

The format is another of those stories where a young man is introduced into the menage and slowly some of the mysteries of the lives of the combatants are revealed. Seems that Dali and Gala were perpetually living beyond their means back in the 70s and the film hints that they got up to no good signing pieces of paper that dealers later used to photocopy stuff and sell as originals. The explanation of how all this worked was offered but remained somewhat elusive. Easy to see why the movie has not attracted attention.

Here is the entrance door where it screened.

Elsewhere, Wenders films are having a go round courtesy of the Cineteca Milano. Also on the Cineteca's programs are a series of environmental docos about waste, some films by Jonas Mekas and Michael Snow's Corpos Callosum (Canada, 2002). Hard to recall the name of the last Michael Snow film I saw, but something at the Art Gallery of New South Wales back in the day when Robert Herbert was curating the program. The corpus callosum is a central region of tissue in the human brain which passes "messages" between the two hemispheres, not that that's explained in the movie itself. I had to look it up but it does immediately help.

To enter the  screening of the Snow film, which attracted  six spectators, you pass through a terrific exhibition of posters and machinery devoted to the history of the cinema which currently is interspersed with a series of exhibits relating to the life and work of Jonas Mekas. The Museum has been screening Mekas's catalogue since April and is going to complete it ast the end of July. That is some retrospective. So here's one of the posters on display.

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