The Northern Italian town of Bologna, one time home to Etruscans and Celts, is home to Il Cinema Ritrovato - a film festival that goes out of its way to celebrate restored versions of landmark films. In other words it’s a cinematic mecca.
This year’s festival lasts from Saturday 23 June 23 to Saturday 30 June and Park Circus has more titles screening than there are types of pasta. For starters there’s two tales of all too British eccentricity and bravery at the festival. There’s the stunning 4K digital restoration of David Lean’s epically awesome Lawrence of Arabia. Digitally enhanced from the 1988 restoration of the film, this version of the film recently went down a storm at Cannes. Also screening will be Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s brilliant wartime drama The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, which has been painstakingly restored under the guidance of Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker Powell.
If those two fine epics aren’t enough for you there’s loads more. For the soft-hearted among you there’s Otto Preminger’s Bonjour Tristesse (pictured), his finely wrought adaptation of Françoise Sagan’s popular romantic novel, made just four years after the book was published. For the hard-boiled there’s Robert Aldrich’s bleakly brilliant adaptation of Clifford Odets’ ‘Hollywood thriller’ play The Big Knife. For those who like to keep it silent there’s Miles Mander’s powerful tale of wronged women and terrible cads The First Born.
There’s also rare screenings of not one but two of great filmmaker Raoul Walsh’s most overlooked films - 1947 psycho-western Pursued starring the mighty Robert Mitchum and Civil War romancer Band of Angels starring Clark Gable. Finally kicking and screaming to the very end will Mervyn Le Roy’s little seen Cagney gangster flick Hard to Handle.
There’ll be fireworks in and outside the cinemas of the magnificent Piazza Maggiore this year courtesy of Park Circus. Bologna, our hearts beats to be with you.