Bellocchio and his degree in Messina: «An encouragement to continue doing beautiful things»

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By John

«Returning to Sicily, where I filmed “The Wedding Director” and “The Traitor”, has always attracted me, Sicily is something more, and the moment you return the attention becomes greater, you stay there for a few months and you understand many things and you also fall in love with this beautiful language and you ask yourself why not live there.” So he tells us Marco Bellocchio before he enters the Aula Magna of the Rectorate of the University of Messina where he will receive the honorary Doctorate in “Cognitive Sciences”, Curriculum “Social, territorial, media and performing arts theories and technologies”.
«It is my third honorary degree – he says – welcomed with enthusiasm because despite my long history it is an encouragement to defend my positions, to do beautiful things, to give me more strength and conviction to continue doing what I have done up until now. until now.” And while he allows himself a memory of Piera degli Esposti together with the regret that her greatness was more than what remained, when we ask him what he thinks of the relationship of his cinema with young people, he says that he doesn’t really know what it means for today’s young people , but both for the “Esterno notte” series, for “The Traitor” and for “Kidnapped”, he also saw great interest from young people.
Solemn ceremony, with the Academic Senate of Messina and the College of Researchers, the vice-rector Eugenio Cucinottathe general director Francesco Bonannothe director of the Cospecs department Carmelo Maria Portothe coordinator of the doctorate in “Cognitive Sciences” Alessandra Franzoni and the rector in the room Giovanna Spatari, «a special, extraordinary, festive event», this is how Federico Vitella, professor of Cinema History and promoter of Bellocchio’s famed degree, began his laudatio. To tell the full story of the beauty of the filmography of the most important director of our time, Vitella started from his debut with “Fists in the Pocket” (1965, awarded at Locarno) up to “Kidnapped”, the highest moment of cinema (Silver Ribbon 2023) , examining his inexhaustible creative activity with his metacinematographic ability to reflect on images with images, to combine languages ​​of different origins and use archive materials, and to focus on the state of health of cinema itself.

«Bellocchio is a member of that transnational cinema that has renewed the so-called modern cinema – said Vitella – and has been able to renew itself over the years while always remaining faithful to its unmistakable style as well as to some leading themes transversal to the entire horizon of poetics, according to the paradigms of history, of the mechanisms of power, of authority, of complex family dynamics and of the desecration of the bourgeois family, of illness, of euthanasia, of social conditions, of religion, of autobiography.
But it is the films of the last twenty years that have become an absolute point of reference for auteur cinema, for the ability to combine the thematization of power in all its manifestations with the conscious re-elaboration of film language and the forms of representation together with salience of the images”.

And it was a Bellocchio excited to welcome, according to the traditional rite, the toga, the touch and the book symbolizing the possession of knowledge. «I am no longer old enough to “lose my mind”, but I am obviously satisfied with this recognition which commits me to an additional responsibility, that is, to continue to carry out a search beyond glory and riches, but which is profoundly human , that it is something precious in our history, as men, taking into account the fact that ours is a demanding job that must mediate a whole series of practical needs. I thank those who gave me absolute value with respect to Italian cinema, being alive and enthusiastic about my work despite my age.” And Bellocchio generously recounts this in response to Vitella’s requests, talking about his education, from when he was young, after starting out at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Milan, he made the big decisive leap, arriving in Rome where he learned invaluable lessons at the Experimental Center of Cinematography. , cinematographic writing, screenplay, editing and then the history of cinema, the masterpieces of silent cinema, the great German expressionist cinema, French realism. From there began the powerful ability to represent reality and raise it to the level of the eye at eye level, between historical faithfulness and imaginative “infidelities”, to investigate its darkest shadows but also dreams. And he reflects on technology, and on seriality in relation to “Esterno, notte”, in the awareness that it entails rules, and the “visionary” Bellocchio thinks about the future, about programming, some of which has already started such as the six episodes of the series on Enzo Tortora.