The Fuller of Fellini reigns | Culture

Facade of the Fulgor Cinema, in Rimini. In video, trailer of 'Amarcord'.

When at the end of World War II, Federico Fellini He returned for the first time to his native Rimini, the director found a city completely destroyed by the bombing of the allies. The Rimini that saw him grow up no longer existed. "And the Fulgor cinema?"He asked Titta Benzi, his lifelong friend, as soon as he arrived. "Destroyed," he replied. That news, says Benito Merlino in Fellini (Gallimard), it caused an immense grief. There, in a warm dark room where the smell of cigarettes and disinfectants mixed, sitting next to his father, Fellini, aged three, saw his first film: Maciste in hell by Guido Brignone (1923). The yellowish images of voluptuous women projected on the screen marked him forever, turning the Fulgor into an inseparable element of the Fellinian imaginary as it is portrayed in Amarcord (1973). A place of worship that, after numerous restructurings and ten years of closure, has come back to life this year in which it is 25 years since the death of the director, who died on October 31, 1993.

"Cigarettes for export?" He asks with a strong Romana accent and a willingly exaggerated neckline, an actress disguised as the tobacco company. of Amarcord to the spectators assembled at the entrance of the Fulgor. An aperitif awaits the audience that will attend the screening of the film with which Fellini brought the city of Emilia Romagna into the history of cinema. The expectation at number 162 of the Corso d'Augusto is palpable. Most confess to having seen it more than a dozen times, but, in the opinion of Domenico Bucci, 60 years old and who used to frequent the cinema as a child, there is nothing like seeing it there. "Here, Amarcord is at home, in his sanctuary "delves, excited, Mara Betti, 62, in the middle of the happy cacophony.

"We want to return Fellini to the world," the city's mayor, Andrea Gnassi, tells EL PAÍS. The remodeling of the historic cinema, which entailed an investment of eight million euros, will be completed in the next two years with a small museum where their drawings will be exhibited, and a room with sofas, open 24 hours a day, "in which anybody that is passing through Rimini can see the movies of the teacher, "he details. The socialist politician assures that the reopening of the Fulgor is only the first link of the future Federico Fellini Museum that will also include the Sismondo Castle and the Malatesta square with the aim of being the largest space in the world dedicated to the filmmaker. The inauguration of this "Fellini Guggenheim", in the words of Gnassi, is scheduled for 2020, when it will be one hundred years since the birth of the Italian genius.

Only the façade of the building with the typography sign remains from the old Fulgor liberty, no longer violet but brown. Inside, Dante Ferretti, great scenographer of the world of cinema and faithful collaborator of Fellini, has transformed the room into an authentic art deco jewel in pure style "hollywood-romañolo" In the cinema, composed of two rooms baptized Federico and Giulietta, in memory of Giulietta Massina, the director's wife, -and the only actress who managed to move Charlie Chaplin to tears-, the hand-carved wood, the red velvet, and the high stained glass windows have replaced the worn wooden floor and the colored armchairs Salmon. "Ferretti was inspired by the American films of the 20s and 30s, with which Fellini grew to pay tribute to cinema in capital letters," explains Elena Zanni, the new manager of the iconic open room in 1914 by the Massa family. to the staircase that leads to the balcony of the Federico room, nicknamed the Scala Gradisca because of its sinuous shape.

An actress disguised as the tobacco factory of 'Amarcord' with the spectators.
An actress disguised as the tobacco factory of 'Amarcord' with the spectators.

"The Fulgor has always been an important part of the identity of the city, where people met, fought, loved each other. It was a place full of life, "says Zanni. A sealed pact between the young Fellini and the owner, Carlo Massa, to whom the filmmaker delivered caricatures of famous actors in exchange for free entry, made him a regular in the room. Although not for the love of the seventh art but rather for the fascination exerted on him that "cloaca of all vices," as he described it in Fare a film (Einaudi) "My uncle, what he really liked was that magical atmosphere full of smoke where dreams and fantasies were born", tells his diary his niece, Francesca Fabbri Fellini, sitting on the terrace of a café in Tre Martiri square, whose resemblance to the square of Amarcord It is obvious. The author of the documentary Ricordando to Fellini (1995), which many in Rimini call The Fellinette, still remember to see zio Chicco reconstituting that small world made of memories and inventions in the Cinecittá theater five where the Oscar-winning film was filmed for the best non-English-language film in 1975.

In those daydreams that projected the mind of Fellini, Carlo Massa was nailed to the American actor Ronald Colman, and "knew it". The raincoat that never separated, his mustache, and his effort to remain constantly immobile to not lose the resemblance to the actor, inspired the filmmaker one of the funniest characters in Amarcord. In the same way, the director captured in the film his failed attempt to seduce Gradisca, the most courted woman in the city. Upon entering the dark room, it is almost impossible not to remember Titta, the young protagonist, chasing the voluptuous Gradisca (interpreted by Magali Noël) inside the cinema, approaching slowly, from armchair to chair, until getting to sit next to the one that the whole town considers the incarnation of the erotic desire, putting the hand on her thigh, while she, absorbed by the film and surrendered to the charm of Gary Cooper turns around slowly and calmly asks, "Are you looking for something?"


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