The Italian Almanac

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Cabiria poster

Italian News / MOvies - March 16

Italy's greatest silent film epic Cabiria has been reconstructed from long-lost rushes recently found in a Turin basement. The reincarnated blockbuster, with just 5% missing, will have its premiere here on March 20, preceded by a video-presentation by Martin Scorsese. It will then travel to the Cannes Film Festival in May, the first stop in a world tour.

Director Giovanni Pastrone's mammoth work, which runs to three hours and ten minutes, has been compared to D.W.Griffith's Birth of a Nation. After its release in April 1914, partly thanks to the captions written by famed poet Gabriele D'Annunzio but mostly due to Pastrone's entrepreneurial flair, it went on a world tour that made Genoese stevedore Bartolomeo Pagano a mass idol in the role of strongman Macistes.

Also going around the world with the 'lost' Cabiria will be a sound version Pastrone made in 1931. The Cabiria&Cabiria exhibition will highlight key differences between the two films, such an arm making a Fascist salute - the film was distributed just after Benito Mussolini came to power and went on to found the Venice Film Festival as a rival to Cannes.

A 400-page exhibition catalogue will highlight the painstaking work done by technicians and film historians at Italy's National Cinema Museum.