THE DREAM FAC­TORY TURNS 80 YEARS OLD

Italy’s film stu­dio Cinecittà turned 80. Es­tab­lished in 1937, this dream fac­tory was pro­jected as the largest film city and over time be­came one of the most im­por­tant cin­ema stu­dios in the world, sec­ond only to Hol­ly­wood.

All About Italy (USA) - - Editorial - Franco Del Panta

Cinecittà was born dur­ing Italy’s fas­cist era. In fact, Ben­ito Mus­solini him­self and the di­rec­tor of the Isti­tuto Luce (“Light In­sti­tute”, acro­nym for “L’ Unione Cine­matografica Ed­uca­tiva”, i.e. “The Ed­u­ca­tional Film Union”) Gi­a­como Paolucci di Cal­boli, cut the rib­bon to­gether at the open­ing cer­e­mony. In 1931, the regime, which strongly sup­ported the im­por­tance of cin­ema as a pro­pa­ganda tool, passed a law to stim­u­late na­tional pro­duc­tions and pe­nal­iz­ing for­eign films. In 1934, Luigi Freddi was com­mis­sioned to set up a “Direc­torate-gen­eral for Cin­e­matog­ra­phy” for ide­o­log­i­cal con­trol, but also to pro­mote cin­ema as an art. Af­ter an en­light­en­ing trip to the United States, Freddi de­cided to bear down and sup­port na­tional cin­ema, in­ject­ing cap­i­tal into pro­duc­tion. He be­gan to re­vi­tal­ize the first com­pany and struc­ture, called “Cinecittà”, in 1935, but the build­ings burned to the ground shortly af­ter their in­au­gu­ra­tion, most likely an act of van­dal­ism. It was then that he de­cided to cre­ate a more mod­ern “cin­ema ci­tadel” on Via Tus­colana (right in front of the newly-born Ex­per­i­men­tal Cen­ter of Cin­e­matog­ra­phy), which opened its gates on April 28, 1937.

Three years later, Cinecittà be­came an en­tirely pub­lic en­tity, forg­ing tal­ented and unique artists, ac­tors and pro­fes­sion­als in the field of cin­ema. Af­ter the early years un­der the Fas­cist regime, the end of World War II de­layed the re­vival. But then the Mar­shall Plan funds that came to Italy helped spark the re­birth. Colos­sal Amer­i­can films helped con­se­crate the resur­gence, but there were also mas­ter­pieces such as “Quo Vadis”,

From Cleopa­tra’s splen­dors to the film Va­canze Ro­mane (Ro­man Hol­i­day), through Ser­gio Leone’s west­erns to ma­jor in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­tions such as Martin Scors­ese’s Gangs of New York, Cinecittà has shown con­stant move­ment and evo­lu­tion

“Ben Hur”, “Cleopa­tra”, “La Dolce Vita” and “Rome”, that ush­ered in the golden age of Ro­man film pro­duc­tion. The im­pos­ing build­ing com­plex is still lo­cated on 400,000 square me­ters, about 9 km from the cen­ter of the cap­i­tal. Com­posed of 22 dif­fer­ent sized the­aters (the small­est 15x30 square me­ters and largest 40x80), it also has a 7,000 square me­ter out­door pool and is sur­rounded by ver­dant parks, of­ten used for film­ing scenes (as in Fellini’s “Casanova”).

The stu­dios’ an­niver­sary also co­in­cides with the 6th year of “Cinecittà si Mos­tra”, an event that opens the doors for vis­i­tors to show­case the realm where in­ter­na­tional cin­ema icons have worked, mak­ing avail­able all of the his­tor­i­cal and ar­chi­tec­tural her­itage of the fa­mous Dream Fac­tory. This re­cur­ring event, “Cinecittà si Mos­tra”, has of­fered vis­i­tors cul­tural in­sights, spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and en­ter­tain­ment since its in­cep­tion in 2011. Start­ing in April, the pub­lic will not only have the op­por­tu­nity to visit the great sets and his­toric build­ings, they will have ac­cess to the ex­hi­bi­tions - “Why Cinecittà”, “Film­ing at Cinecittà” and “Back­stage”, a Cinecittà ed­u­ca­tional walk. Vis­i­tors will be able to take part in spe­cial tours ded­i­cated to the art of cin­ema: through sto­ries, anec­dotes and items of in­ter­est, vis­i­tors will dis­cover how crafts­men and set de­sign­ers work, scenery is cre­ated, see equip­ment, dis­cover the tricks of fic­tion and dive into the cool at­mos­phere of the Cine­gar­den to learn the se­crets of a flo­ral set­tings for cin­ema. The spe­cial tours pro­gram is en­riched with ed­u­ca­tional

ac­tiv­i­ties de­signed for kids and fam­i­lies, to ex­pe­ri­ence Cinecittà as true pro­tag­o­nists.

From Ben-hur’s char­iot race to Cleopa­tra’s splen­dors, Fellini’s Dolce Vita and Va­canze Ro­mane (Ro­man Hol­i­day), Ser­gio Leone’s west­erns to re­cent ma­jor in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­tions such as Martin Scors­ese’s Gangs of New York, Ben Stiller’s Zoolan­der 2, Bal­tasar Kor­makur’s Ever­est and The Young Mes­siah by Cyrus Nowrasteh, Cinecittà has shown con­stant progress and evo­lu­tion, host­ing cre­ative fash­ion, mu­sic and art events through pa­rades, photo shoots, mu­sic videos and art in­stal­la­tions. From its in­au­gu­ra­tion un­til today, more than 3,000 films have been shot in Cinecittà, 90 of which have been nom­i­nated for Os­cars, and 47 of which brought home the award. Those num­bers sing the praises of a bril­liant pro­duc­tion his­tory, ver­i­fy­ing that Ital­ian ex­cel­lence has been a bea­con around the world for cin­ema pro­fes­sion­als and will con­tinue to be so in the years to come.

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