Luigi Comencini’s kids in the images if his family archive

A photo exhibition organized by Fondazione Cineteca Italiana

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Comencini’s birth, Castellinaria presents a homage to one of the founders of Cineteca Italiana and great maestro of Italian cinema, showing Luigi Comencini in an unusual role, very dynamic and vivacious, busy with one of his favourite subjects: kids.

Comencini’s relationship with kids was actually very special and in many ways unique in Italian cinema. Since its first films, such as La novelletta (1937), Bambini in città (1946) and Proibito rubare (1948), Comencini focused his interest on childhood both as a socially engaged documentarist and a brilliant intellectual, curious to discover children’s secret, their sense of freedom, their instinctive and natural behaviour. Thanks to his reputation, in 1952, the Praesens production company from Zurich chose the Italian director, born to a Swiss mother, to realise the first film version of Johanna Spyri’s novel, “Heidi“.

Even after the great success obtained with Pane amore e fantasia (1953) and the following Pane amore e gelosia (1954), two films that earned him the favour of a general audience and through which he showed new ways to Italian cinema, he got back to the subject of childhood in his later works: Incompreso (1966), Le avventure di Pinocchio (1972), Voltati Eugenio (1980), Cuore (1984), Un ragazzo di Calabria (1987), Marcellino pane e vino (1991) were the main steps on this path.

And so we have a number of photos portraying Comencini with kids, actors or not, sitting with them, listening to their often confused stories, being a confidant for their dreams, or explaining the secret of a sequence to be shot: with complicity but in control, sometimes authoritarian, always on their side.


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