Messina, that 1914 film found by the Cineteca dello Stretto, returned to the big screen


By John

Another masterpiece pulled out of the time machine. Another film that comes back “to life” after more than a century. “Torquato Tasso”, an Italian film from 1914 that until now was considered lost, recently rediscovered in Ortigia from the Cineteca dello Stretto, it will be presented, restored by the Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with the Sicilian collectiveas part of the thirty-eighth edition of the international festival “Il Cinema Ritrovato”, which is taking place in Bologna these days. In the 1910s, a particularly prosperous period for film production, the capital of cinema was Turin.
And 1914, in particular, was a rich year in terms of film production, just think of Cabiria by Giovanni Pastrone, considered the first Italian blockbuster. The production company Savoia Film distributed 63 titles in 1913 and in 1914 decided to invest in a feature-length costume film, “Torquato Tasso”1600 meters of film that should have narrated the life, love and madness of the famous writer. The Turin production spared no expense and chose Mario Roncoroni, already a well-known face of Italian silent cinema, as the protagonist, entrusting the direction to Roberto Danesi. The film hit theaters in March 1914, the Manifesto defined it as a “wonderful masterpiece of art”, even “The Bioscope” of London published an article speaking of a “veritable triumph”. Then, as often happened, oblivion, thanks to the world war. A good 110 years later in Ortigia, where the film archive is located which, as the name suggests, betrays its origins in Messina, a copy of the film was found in an excellent state of conservation, still with the “hand” coloring intact. The Cineteca dello Stretto, together with the Cineteca di Bologna, is therefore beginning the long work of reconnaissance, recovery and restoration of the film.. The L’Immagine ritrovata laboratory carries out the delicate restoration operations. Of the 1600 meters of the original version, about 25 minutes of vision survive, which will be screened on Saturday at noon in Bologna. Another “gift” from Maurilio Forestieri and the other guys from Cineteca dello Stretto.