This Week’s Agenda
This week’s selection offers some solace to the few cinephiles who aren’t attending Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna now, the world’s major film restoration festival. For those at home, the Brussels International Film Festival has set up a mini festival-within-the-festival with five Italian films restored and selected by the Cineteca di Bologna.
Opening the Bologna-in-Brussels series, Comizi d’amore [Love Meetings] (1964) is a lesser- known documentary by Pier Paolo Pasolini that was restored in 2020. Microphone in hand, Pasolini traverses Italy to interview a cross section of ordinary Italians about their attitudes towards sexuality. A cinéma vérité-inflected investigation on whether it’s possible to act sincerely in front of a camera, the film is equally a meditation on the difficulty of using such material honestly.
Pasolini also co-wrote the screenplay of La ragazza in vetrina [Girl in the Window] (1961), directed by Luciano Emmer, who’s best known for his (art) documentaries. Whereas in Comizi d’amore Pasolini would ask questions to prostitutes or on topics such as sex work and the 1958 Merlin Act that closed Italian brothels, here we get the story of two Italian miners – Lino Ventura and Bernard Fresson – who spend a weekend with two women from Amsterdam’s red-light district. “Follow your instincts, tell a story that is as romantic as possible,” was the advice Emmer got from Pasolini, with whom he went to Amsterdam to conduct his research.
With Tôkyô monogatari [Tokyo Story] (1953) by Yasujirō Ozu, we add another restoration to the selection. Playing in different cities, the screenings of this film kick off the summer series Ozu in 4K, comprised of four films by the Japanese director rereleased by Lumière and EYE. As Comizi d’amore, Tokyo Story confronts different generations to draw a portrait of a changing post-war society. In silent grief and with everybody gone, Chishû Ryû, one of the leading actors, must eventually find comfort in… his own home.