Cinematic treasure features the work of 7 Italian legends

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Screenwriter and director Cesare Zavattini was truly ahead of his time when he organized the 1953 film compilation “L’amore in città” (Love in the City), a collection of seven short film essays directed by Zavattini, Dino Risi, Michelangelo Antonioni, Carlo Lizzani, Francesco Maselli, Federico Fellini and Alberto Lattuada.

The New York Times did a beautiful article on the collection in 2014 referring to Zavattini as “a pioneer of documentary fiction (sometimes called ‘hybrid cinema’), in which non-actors essentially play themselves, dramatizing their particular situations.” With the exception of Fellini’s short, in which he narrates something that happened to him but uses actors to demonstrate it, this collection is a shining example of “hybrid cinema.” The people portray themselves in the essays and experienced the very situations they are reenacting. The occasional narration that accompanies them is a nice touch because it adds a layer of meaning to these sometimes tragic events.

For example, Fellini’s piece about an agency in Rome that arranges marriages ended with this commentary: “We drove back to the city in silence. I wanted to say something to her not to justify myself but to help her. I wanted to tell her to be more confident, to open her eyes to the many encounters life presents daily. But I didn’t want to be rhetorical and I knew it’d be of no use. Her problems, her daily hardships would still be all that mattered to her. I didn’t say anything. When we said goodbye, I sincerely wished her good luck.”

The compilation was released on Blue Ray in 2014 and is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. I highly recommend seeing it, also because it provides a beautiful portrait of contemporary Rome in the 1950s.

To stream it, click here.

About Jeannine Guilyard

Jeannine Guilyard is a longtime correspondent for Fra Noi and the Italian-American community newspaper in Rochester, N.Y. She has also contributed to the Italian Tribune of New Jersey, Italian Tribune of Michigan and L'Italo Americano of Southern California. Jeannine wrote and directed the short film "Gelsomina," which was selected for the Screenings Program of the 59th Venice Film Festival, and she won Emmy and Peabody awards as an editor of ABC's "Special Report" following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Jeannine is also a writer and editor for Italian Cinema Today, a publication and blog she founded in 2005 to bridge culture between New York and Italy. Follow her on Instagram at Italianartcinema and on Twitter at @ItaloCinema2day.

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