This article originally appeared in
August 31, 2007
Venice kicks off 'Hundred
By ERIC J. LYMAN
VENICE, Italy -- Italy's year-old plan to protect 100 of its greatest films and
turn them into a kind of cinema-based cultural archive officially got under way
Thursday with the launching of the selection process that will choose the
The start of the initiative was announced at the Lido headquarters of the
Venice Days sidebar, which also opened Thursday.
Venice Days focuses on up-and-coming directors, but the "Hundred Films
and One Country" project will be selecting films that already are part of the
public consciousness. All of the pictures under consideration will hail from
the so-called Golden Age of Italian Cinema, the 30-year period that began
with the end of World War II.
Officials announcing the project stressed that the final list, selected by a
specially appointed committee of 10 made up of critics, historians, writers
and film archivists, should not be interpreted as a list of the 100 best films
from the 1945-75 period but rather as a cinematographic examination of Italy
during those decades.
"The greatest Italian films will be on the list, but the films will also illustrate
the way people spoke at that time, changes in geography, slang, values, the
family ... the way things once were" explained Ofelia Patti, the project's
coordinator. "Classic films like (Roberto Rossellini's) 'Rome, Open City' will
be on the list, but so will some popular but less intellectual films that were
typical of their period."
Venice Days director Fabio Ferzetti explained it a different way. "We have to
determine which are the essential films in the history of Italian cinema," he
Francesco Rutelli, Italy's minister of culture, and Venice Biennale president
Davide Croff both stopped by the Venice Days headquarters to throw their
support behind the initiative.
"This is important because the youngest generation is very familiar with
cinema but not necessarily with the history of their cinema," Rutelli said.
The process began Thursday, and the list of the 100 films should be
completed by the end of the year. Once the first 100 films are selected --
organizers say the list will be expanded after the initial films are selected --
they will be restored and refurbished if required and then made available for
educational and cultural uses free of charge.