This article originally appeared in
February 22, 2008
Capturing Italy's Golden Age
Nation marks 100 classics for preservation
By ERIC J. LYMAN
ROME -- Federico Fellini's iconic "La Dolce Vita" and Vittorio De Sica's
neo-realism classic "Ladri di Biciclette" (The Bicycle Thieves) are among the
100 films that will be protected and highlighted as part of the "Hundred Films
and One Country" project.
The initiative, unveiled during the Venice Days sidebar at the Venice Film
Festival in 2006 and officially launched there a year later, will protect 100
films made from 1942-78, Italy's so-called Golden Age of film.
The films selected will be refurbished if necessary, and protected, promoted
and made available free of charge for educational and cultural uses.
Organizers of the project caution that the list should not be seen as a list of
the 100 best films of the period in question but rather a "cinematographic
examination" of Italy during those decades.
Minister of Culture Francesco Rutelli, on hand for the official launch last year,
likened the project to a "cinema-based cultural archive."
"This is very important because the youngest generation is very familiar with
cinema but not necessarily with the history of cinema," Rutelli said. "And by
becoming familiar with the history of cinema, they will become more familiar
with the history of Italy and its culture."
Among the other films selected for the initiative are Roberto Rossellini's
classic World War II-era drama "Roma, Citta Aperta" (Rome, Open City);
"Bellissima," Luchino Visconti's examination of the Italian film industry;
Franceso Rosi's mob classic "Salvatore Giuliano"; "Riso Amaro" (Bitter
Rice), Giuseppe De Santis' dramatic examination of the northern Italian rice
trade; and Dino Risi's "Una Vita Dificile" (A Difficult Life), a look into some of
the difficulties of post-War Italian life.
A 10-person committee of experts that included Venice Days director Fabio
Ferzetti, David di Donatello-winning director Gianni Amelio and film critic
Morando Morandini selected the films.
Said Amelio when the list was announced: "These are not just films to be
protected, these are films every Italian should know."