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Cinema

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Sergei Eisenstein and the Anthropology of Rhythm

The exhibition Sergei Eisenstein: The Anthropology of Rhythm opened on September 19, 2017 at Nomas Foundation, Rome. Numerous documents from Eisenstein’s archives – The Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts (RGALI) and The National Film Foundation of Russian Federation (Gosfilmofond) – are exhibited for the first time, including notebooks, drawings, film footage and photographs. Curated by art and film historians Marie Rebecchi and Elena Vogman, in collaboration with the artist and typographer Till Gathmann, the exhibition will continue through January 19, 2018.   Here below is an excerpt from the introduction of the book Sergei Eisenstein: The Anthropology of Rhythm, published by NERO, Roma.     “Out of poverty, poetry; out of suffering, song.” This is how the anthropologist and writer Anita Brenner describes the unfolding of a corrido, a Mexican ballad. Literally “event of the time,” the corrido is an anonymous poetic genre that musically voices the lament of the day. Whether recounting a political or personal event, a catastrophe or a bad dream, corridos lend rhythm to the sorrows of life, equally “for the servants...

Filmmaker Fred Kuwornu on Blaxploitalian and representation in cinema.

Fred Kuwornu is an Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker and activist best known for his documentaries Inside Buffalo (2010), about the Black American soldiers who participated in the liberation of Italy during World War II, and 18 Ius Soli (2012), about the children of immigrants in Italy and their struggles for legal and social recognition. This summer, he has begun screening his latest film project, Blaxploitalian: One Hundred Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema (supported by a grant from the Lettera27 foundation). A sweeping documentary inspired by Leonardo De Franceschi’s seminal collection L’Africa in Italia as well as Fred’s own experiences in the Italian film industry, Blaxploitalian recounts the century-long yet underappreciated history of people of African descent in Italian cinema. Like Fred’s previous projects, this documentary has an explicit social mission. He is using Blaxploitalian to connect with an international network of activists who are building on the momentum of #OscarsSoWhite and similar conversations in England and France, with the ultimate goal of developing a platform to support advocacy for greater diversity in media.    I have known Fred since 2013; we first...

Why Africa? Changing the Narrative of the World

Why Africa?  For many years lettera27 has been dedicated to exploring various issues and debates around the African continent and with this new editorial column we would like to open a dialogue with cultural protagonists who deal with Africa. This will be the place to express opinions, tell their stories, stimulate the critical debate and suggest ideas to subvert multiple stereotypes surrounding this immense continent. With this new column we would like to open new perspectives: geographical, cultural, sociological. We would like the column to be a stimulus to learn, re-think, be inspired and share knowledge. For the opening piece we asked our partners, intellectuals and like-minded cultural protagonists from all over the world to answer one key question, which also happens to be the name of the column: "Why Africa?". We left the question deliberately open, inviting each of the contributors to give us their perspective on this topic from their own context. This first piece is a collection of some of the answers we received, which aims to open the conversation, pose more questions and hopefully find new answers.   Elena Korzhenevich, lettera27   Here the column's introduction...

Birth of the Home Video

In the beginning there were movie theaters, with their giant screens and comfortable armchairs, a darkened room, ice creams served by ushers, and, of course, an audience. There were annoying people coughing, heads too high in front of you, or too low behind you, unwarranted comments during the interval. Most important, back then, the show came to an end. There were double bills, of course, where the first film cost more than the second. But opportunities to see your favorite actor, actress or director’s other films were minimal, unless you were lucky and there was a special, a film festival or, much later, late-night replays on television. The bravest of us tried to solve the problem with the only machine on the market for home viewing: the Super 8 projector. After inflicting those flickering few minutes of family birthdays and christenings on your audience, as a dubious reward you could mount whole film canisters and subject your friends to a fairly traumatic viewing experience. The chances of getting to the end of the film without a) the film splitting, b) the light bulb blowing, c) the light bulb burning the film, d) the sound track being inaudible, were as high as the chances...