40 years of the Azzurro Scipioni Cinema in 95 minutes. A stellar cast of great directors, actors and composers, in dialogue with the spectators of the historic cinema founded by Silvano Agosti. The life, crisis and announced death of a cinema with its airplane seats; from the 1980s to the closure imposed by Covid-19, up to the move of the interiors of the Azzurro Scipioni to the museum hall of the Cineteca Lucana. A journey going back and forth in time that evokes the magical realism of Silvano Agosti’s world. Finally, the last minute rescue by the BNL BNP Paribas Group, which plans the relaunch of the New Azzurro Scipioni Cinema.
- Cinecittà News, October 22nd 2022
- Cinemaitaliano.info, October 20th 2022
- GST, October 22nd 2022
- Il Corriere della Sera, October 22nd 2022
- Il Messaggero, October 20th 2022
Bio-filmography of Lorenzo Negri
Lorenzo Negri was born in Rome on 27/01/1967, and he graduated in telecommunications in 1985. He made his acting debut in Silvano Agosti’s film Quartiere, presented, in competition, at the Venice Film Festival in 1987. He subsequently collaborated with the same author in Uova di garofano (1991), as camera assistant, and in L’uomo proiettile (1995), as assistant to photography. In 1994 he moved permanently to Montréal, where he grew professionally over the course of 12 years, from focus puller to camera operator, also in the IMAX format, and then became director of photography. He made his first short films The Last Man (1995) winner at the 13th edition of the Annual Visions of U.S. Home Video Competition, administered by the American Film Institute, followed by Tempo (1996) presented at the Montreal World Film Festival and in competition at the Turin Film Festival. Naturalized Canadian in 1998, he returned to Italy in 2007 and with Carmelo Albanese he co-directed the documentary Caro Sociologo, dealing with political movements in Italy from 1968 to 1978. He resumes his historic collaboration with Silvano Agosti, who entrusts him with the supervision of the restoration of eight films from the Agosti Fund of the Istituto Luce. Over the course of over 30 years, he has filmed most of the audiovisual archive of the Cinema Azzurro Scipioni, where the greatest authors of Italian and international cinema have been invited as guests. With the post-Covid reopening and the relaunch of Cinema Azzurro Scipioni by BNL, the BNP Paribas group, in 2021 Silvano Agosti entrusts him with the continuity of the historic Roman cinema. In 2022 he made the documentary film C’era una volta il Cinema Azzurro Scipioni, with a stellar cast of great filmmakers, presenting a panorama of the most significant moments from the 1990s to today, back and forth in time, with Silvano Agosti as the absolute protagonist.
The history of the Azzurro Scipioni Cinema has a legendary and fairytale aspect, a place where VIPs do not walk on red carpets. To paraphrase Marquez’s words, I wanted to restore to the narration the magical and authentic realism of those moments that marked the life of this singular cinema. This interpretive key helped me navigate through the hundreds of hours of my archive materials. So I chose a narrative line following different temporal planes, that alternate and intertwine according to the themes generated by the unifying force of different sequences, which is practically physiological. Even the images stylistically lend themselves to this choice, because the archival materials document the evolution of analogue to digital media, from Umatic to Betacam, from Video Hi8 to MiniDV up to FullHD and finally 4K.
In a deleted scene, Giuliano Montaldo tells Agosti that a good director must know how to act in order to talk to the actors, and adds: “So let’s imagine a film cast of directors, such as Maselli, Agosti, Moretti or Verdone, who know the game of ‘look-at-me’ well!”. I made a canon of this concept by exploiting the expressive power of the directors who become the characters on stage. In a narrative sense, the plot is built on the association of ideas and recurring themes, such as the concept of ‘Authors of Cinema’ (so dear to Agosti), of cinema as a means of research and introspection, the impact of the digital revolution on cinemas and on cinematic language, and the vision of the restored masterpieces in a museum context.
I tried to visualize the singularity of the Cinema Azzurro, of its life, through iconic elements such as the projection booth, the reels, the moviola and the camera exhibited in the Chaplin room, but also the arrival of the long-awaited director, whose face is a further reference to the well-known images of his films. With Once there was an Arthouse Cinema in Rome, my intent is to make anyone who has entered a cinema at least once in their life relive that feeling, that little jump the heart makes, they experience when the lights go out, and the film begins.
Pier Giorgio BELLOCCHIO
Trio ORESELLI APUZZO LALLA
Francesco “Citto” MASELLI
Directed by: Lorenzo Negri
Filmed by: Lorenzo Negri
Film editing by: Lorenzo Negri
Supervising editor: Silvano Agosti
Graphic: Lorenzo Negri
Music by: Nicola Piovani
Written by: Lorenzo Negri
Re-recording Mixer/Sound editor: Stefano Di Fiore
Colorist: Daniele Tullio
Film produced by Lorenzo Negri and Silvano Agosti’s Edizioni l’immagine S.r.l.