he took his first steps towards his first big adventure in the world of cinema,
as a young student of the Slade School of Fine Arts, in 1963-64. At that time
he started writing what will become one of the most sensational debuts in
history of cinema, Fists in the Pocket.
Now Marco Bellocchio is back to London
with his whole work, for his first complete retrospective organized by the
British Film Institute, the most important and prestigious institution of national
cinema. “Satire and Morality: the Cinema of Marco Bellocchio” will be held from
July 1 to 31, and is organized by Istituto
Luce Cinecittà, BFI, Italian Institute of Culture, in collaboration with
the Salle Lumière, curated by Adrian Wootton, General Manager of Film London.
an evocative return for Marco Bellocchio to those places where he first
imagined his extraordinary debut, one that anticipated the ’68 movement by
demolishing notions of family, religion, and middle class. It’s a more than
rare invitation for a contemporary Italian filmmaker, who will be honored with
a whole month of excellent screenings in front of one of the best audiences of
the continent. It’s a chance for the British audience to rediscover the work of
one of the biggest European auteurs. And for Italian cinema, it’s an opportunity
to show one of its more significant milestones. For this occasion, Istituto
Luce Cinecittà has digitalized four features, under the supervision of Beppe
Lanci, the great cinematographer of Bellocchio’s work: Devil in the Flesh, The Conviction, The Prince of Homburg, The Nanny.
In this way, most of Bellocchio’s work has now been digitalized, and an
invaluable artistic heritage has been saved from an irreversible deterioration.
the program, the retrospective opens with Fists
in the Pocket on June 23. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with
the director. Another key event will take place on July 9, when Adrian Wootton,
a scholar of Italian cinema, delivers a lecture on Bellocchio’s work, moving
from key themes such as politics, Catholicism, moral, and literary influences.
The London audience will have the chance to see again well-known films such as China Is Near, Leap into the Void, and Vincere; and to discover other
masterpieces from a unique career. It’ll be easy for them to track those themes
which made Bellocchio so famous internationally: the radiographic observation
of the family, political commitment not as simple rhetoric but as a visceral
and contradictory act, the psychoanalysis, an iconoclastic view on life, his
unique way of turning History into something visionary, daily life into a
metaphor, politics into a personal drive.
will be interesting to see how the British audience will react to this cinema
which is always veined by a subtle sense of fun; films that provoke our soul
and our eyes with a biting and sometime irresistible humor on our hypocrisies,
easy shortcuts, social charades. The title of the retrospective, “Satire and
Morality”, perfectly captures this blend of commitment and sense of humor. And
maybe Bellocchio’s experience as a young man at the School of Fine Arts tinged his
humor of a British touch, which is now opening the door of Southbank to one of
the most visionary and sensual directors working in Europe today.