The Messina Film Festival-Cinema&Opera opens on Friday 1 December at 6pm with the Bellini al Cinema exhibition in the restored Foyer of the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele in Messina. An exhibition of film memorabilia dedicated to the composer. Seventy very rare film memorabilia – from the 1930s to the 1950s – for the exhibition dedicated to Vincenzo Bellini and the films in which he was the protagonist, will open the Messina Film Festival on 1 December in the restored Foyer of the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele. The exhibition will be inaugurated by the Regional Councilor for Tourism, Sport and Entertainment Elvira Amata, the Mayor of Messina Federico Basile and the Extraordinary Commissioner of the Messina Theater Orazio Miloro.
It will therefore be possible to admire the advertising materials of a curious double version (Italian and English) of Casta Diva from 1935, with the same female protagonist, the divine Marta Eggerth, but with a double male interpreter for the role of Bellini (Sandro Palmieri for the version Italian and Philips Holmes for the English one). But also the 1954 remake, directed by Gallone and starring Antonella Lualdi, Nadia Gray and Maurice Ronet. And then Casa Ricordi (1954), also by Carmine Gallone, the story of the legendary Musical House in which, in addition to our Bellini, many famous composers move. And again Maria Malibran, a tribute to the legendary singer linked to Bellini by an affectionate friendship by Guido Brignone, created in 1943, a lost film that can only be known through existing advertising materials. Two versions for La sonnambula: the 1942 film by Pietro Ballarini, in which the composer from Catania lives a love story with a delicate girl in poor health and the 1952 one by Cesare Barlacchi, which tells the tormented story of two engaged couples in a small Swiss town with the music of Bellini in the background.
La Norma from 1911, a silent film restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, is a real rarity. Posters, playbills, photo envelopes, stage photos, barbers’ scented calendars, film novels and many curiosities that give an original perspective on the representation of Bellini for the cinema. The ‘Bellini at the cinema’ exhibition winds through eight islands – one for each film and was curated by Ninni Panzera who found materials from collectors from various parts of the world. The exhibition will remain open even after the conclusion of the Festival and until the end of January to allow school groups to learn about the cinematic world of Vincenzo Bellini.