Rome, mid-twentieth century. Paying homage to the eternal city, Fellini recounts his love affair with Rome, from the 1930s to the 1970s, through a series of extravagant scenes, somewhere between realism and fantasy.
The screening will be followed by a discussion with Frédéric Charbonneau, Professor of Literary History at McGill University.
"Cities, like dreams, are made up of desires and fears." - Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (1972)
Rome and the cinema have a long-standing love affair.
Along with Paris and New York, the Italian capital is undoubtedly one of the most filmed cities in the history of cinema, served up by both Italian and foreign directors in search of grandiose architecture and postcard settings. Roman majesty has long been characterized by carefree romanticism.
The history of Rome, on the other hand, is less light-hearted, for it is the history of power, ambition and revenge. In the shadow of art and monuments, knives are sharpened and plots are hatched. In the 19th century, Italian opera said no different; in the 20th century, historical cinema feeds on the same dramas.
From the outset, it was undoubtedly the peplum that most vividly recounted Roman history; it was certainly the genre that fired the imagination of producers and audiences in the 1950s and 1960s. But then you have to delve into the extraordinary creativity of Italian cinema, where there are countless genius filmmakers and masterpieces of world cinema, to discover powerful, skilful, combative and polemical historical films, particularly when built around highly focused events or contexts.
Conceived in collaboration with the Instituto Italiano di Cultura di Montreal, this program proposes a journey through history, using Rome as a guideline, from the height of the Empire in Antiquity to the political violence of the Years of Lead (1968-1982). We'll sometimes be carried along by realistic narratives, born of meticulous observation of everyday life; or astonished by fragmented structures that juggle, in front of the spectator, between sobriety and excess, between verisimilitude and fiction... whereas in Rome, faced with history, excess is often on the side of verisimilitude.