Today is Monday September 25, 2023 and I woke up with Bologna on my mind.
It's been a whole lot of three months since we've been to Il Cinema Ritrovato XXXVII Edition festival for the first time, and I feel no shame admitting that we're already planning ahead for next year's.
There were a lot of first times in this trip. First time visiting Italy, therefore first time visiting Bologna. First time on a European film festival, therefore first time in a non - Greek film festival. Falling in love with this city wasn't intentional, but definitely inevitable.
Bologna has a home kind-of feeling, a living-in-a-movie kind-of feeling with a lot of croissants, coffee & delicious Bolognese pasta.
In between unique flavors of filled croissants in our favorite Pappare, and one-of-a-kind Bolognese plates in Osteria dell' Orsa, we found ourselves into film restoration screenings - the heart of Il Cinema Ritrovato.
Cineteca Bologna works all year to bring back to digital life films that have formed our cinematic perspective throughout the years. It's amazing how people from every corner of the world come every year to spend their time at Cineteca Bologna's small garden, drink their refreshing Aperols from Il Cameo bar and talk about movies.
I never thought I'd seen Ladri Di Biciclette by Vittorio De Sica on a big screen. Everytime I watch this movie, I can hold back my tears, especially in this heartbreaking last scene. Watching this Italian masterpiece on the big screen of Pop Up Cinema Arlecchino hit definitely differently.
Among a lot of screenings throughout our week at Bologna, I can't help but single out a film I've never seen, yet it's a classic of the worldwide cinematic world. That is Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. This film did not only surprised me for its directorial approach by Rouben Mamoulian, which was masterful, but also for its theme. A film that rises a lot of questions about our inner thoughts, objective and subjective beauty, and all its extensions to external factors but also to our deepest needs and wants.
Another great - and filled with emotions - film that we saw, was the documentary Viva, Varda! by Pierre-Henri Gibert, a wonderful ode to the life of Nouvelle Vague's "granny", Agnès Varda, my personal favorite female director of all time.
Wim Wenders was one of the honored guests of 37th Il Cinema Ritrovato, and we were very lucky not only to share the screening of Yasujiro Ozu silent film Dragnet Girl - which he introduced us to - but also we attended his Q&A (Conversation with Wim Wenders) within the festival's framework.
This feelming ode wouldn't be complete without mentioning Mr. Ruben Östlund, the awarded auteur of Triangle of Sadness, The Square, etc.. Cineteca di Bologna hosted Ruben Östlund for numerous days, a few masterclasses and a Q&A session, which we attended, and share his thoughts on filmmaking today, as well as some details for his upcoming movie.
Finally, I can't leave behind all these nights under the stars of Piazza Maggiore, the large square of Bologna that every year sets up one of the biggest cinematic screens in Europe for unique film screenings. I have to make a special mention of one of the most heartbreaking silent films, which is Stella Dallas by King Vidor, that left everyone of us with tears in our eyes.
See you in 2024, my favorite Il Cinema Ritrovato.