It is often claimed that cinema is the seventh art. So taking this premise, it is my will to write a few lines in an art blog in honour of the great maestro Ettore Scola, screenwriter and director of Italian cinema that left us last January.
Born in 1931 in Treviso (Avellino, Italy), Scola graduated in Law, profession that he never practised because his real passion from an early age had always been cinema (Figure 1).
Since the fifties, first as a screenwriter and then as director, along with his inseparable screenwriter Ruggero Maccari and influenced by Federico Fellini style, he dedicated his career to bring to the big screen characters that portrayed the post fascist Italy that wanted to forget the previous period, presented always from a historical realism perspective with very humanized figures. These elements shaped the greatness of his films.
Lover of Italy and politics until the day of his death, he claimed to feel disappointed with their people, specially those that supported antisocial policies and laws against culture made by the government of Silvio Berlusconi. He was one of the first to turn against the government that, as he stated, was mistreating culture and giving a banal and conservative message to the people. According to him, ignorance promoted by Berlusconi, was very much rooted in the Italian citizens, something that saddened and irritated Scola in equal measure.
I discovered Scola during my Erasmus in Napoli (2010). His film Una giornata particolare (1977) (Figure 2) is probably the icing on the cake of his films. In this movie, we find a sublime and mature Sofia Loren, who plays a resigned but unhappy housewife, devoted totally to her fascist husband and his sons (8 in total). She finds a great consolation in the figure of Marcello Mastroianni, who plays a homosexual journalist that flees from the social rejection due to his sexual condition. All this happens the day of Hitler‘s visit to Rome in 1938. The one and the other will discover that despite the gulf that separates them, loneliness of not being understood in fact unites them. Some of his best films were C’eravamo Tanto Amati (1974), Brutto, sporchi and cattivi (1976) La Terrazza (1980) and La famiglia (1987), among others.
With his death, we are now left a little more orphans from street cinema, that kind of cinema that teaches us things and the reality as it is, or at least, as it was, without obstacles or traps. Always with a touch of humour, to be aware of what has been our reality so far.
I close these commemorative lines with a quote of the same Ettore Scola:
…Il cinema è bello se risce a leggere la realtà…
…Cinema is beautiful if you can read the reality …
Maria Pérez Santafosta
Front picture: Scene of the movie Una giornata particolare (1977)
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