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School of Modern Languages and Cultures: Italian Studies

Week Six: Modern Rome

Week 6: Modern Rome

Our week in Modern Rome starts with early films of the Catholic church: Brothers of the Misericordia (1898) and a series of films of Pope Leo XIII (1898). La Presa di Roma (1905), the first Italian-made film, shows the dramatic concluding moments of the Italian unification. Paper making on the island of Liri (1909) is an interesting industrial documentary shot in Lazio. Roman comedienne Lea returns for more hilarious antics in Lea si diverte (1912).

We will then enjoy two episodes from Emilio Ghione's I Topi Grigi (1918), an adventure serial based around the adventures of Za La Mort (Emilio Ghione) and Za La Vie (Kally Sambucini), two Parisian outlaws, who decide to protect a young orphan and help him to seek his rightful fortune, which is held by a group of well-placed criminals. With improbable turns of fortune, exaggerated posing, exciting technology and some of the slowest car chases ever seen, I Topi Grigi is a worthy rival to Louis Feuillade's serial films Judex and Les Vampires. Despite being set in exotic locations, the entire serial was shot in Rome's suburbs and surrounding countryside on a  very limited budget, making use of anonymous backstreets and footage from other productions.

This film programme will be shown from 7:30pm until 9:30pm on the 15th November 2011 at Durham Clayport Library, Millenium Place, Durham.