Antiquity in Cinema: The First Twenty Years (1897-1916)

Nero Styka

Nero at Baiae (Jan Styka c. 1900)

Antiquity in Cinema: The First Twenty Years (1897-1916). Screenings & Workshop, 30th June and 1st July 2016. Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna 2016.

The Cinema Ritrovato festival continues its exploration of the irresistible fascination of Antiquity. This time not through the grand Italian features Quo Vadis? (1913) and Cabiria (1914), but through the beautiful French experiments that led to them and the ambitious and celebrated American ‘colossal’ Intolerance (1916) that drew from them. We will screen myth and history, Babylon, Greece and Rome, eroticism and death, and a cinematic world full of music, dance and art. Our workshop will ask why is the first ever antiquity film from 1897 about Nero, and why did the wicked emperor appear so often in early cinema? Why does antiquity become so spectacular and how does Intolerance mark a watershed in representations of the past? Do different nations produce different antiquities and how does cinema make antiquity modern? We would be delighted if you would join us in our discussions. NB certain films were purposefully restored for this workshop, such as the oldest film adaptation of Sienkiewicz’ novel Quo Vadis?

Ivo Blom (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); Raffaele de Berti (Università degli Studi di Milano); David Mayer (University of Manchester); Pantelis Michelakis (University of Bristol); Jon Solomon (University of Illinois); Maria Wyke (University College London).

Thursday 30th June
Screening 1, 17 00 – 20 00 Sala Mastroianni
INTOLERANCE, USA (1916) dir. D. W. Griffith

Friday 1st July
Screening 2, 9 00 – 10 00 Sala Mastroianni
L’ESCLAVE DE PHIDIAS, F (1916) dir. Leonce Perret
IDYLLE CORINTHIENNE, F (1909)  dir. Louis Feuillade

Workshop 1, 10 15 – 11 45 Sala Cervi
with additional film clips & piano accompaniment

Screening 3, 12 00 – 13 00 Sala Mastroianni
QUO VADIS?, F (1901)
NERONE O L’INCENDIO DI ROMA, I (1909) dir. Luigi Maggi
And other early historical films from the Vermorel Lumière collection

Discussion 2, 14 30 -16 00 Sala Cervi
with additional film clips & piano accompaniment

You are all welcome! You can register in advance or ad hoc:
Hotel reservations with special prices at

~ by Ivo Blom on June 21, 2016.

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