Italian Movies - Cinema Italiano
It is a mostly unknown fact that motion pictures were invented by an Italian.
Inventor Filoteo Alberini is one of the pioneers of cinema. In 1894 he build a machine called cinetografo (or Kinetograph), that he used to record, develop and project motion pictures. The Lumière brothers perfected their invention only one year later, but due to a bureocratic problem with the Italian patent office, Alberini was awarded a patent for his machine only after the French brothers had shown the first motion picture to an audience.
Along with his friend Santoni, Alberini co-founded the first Italian film company, and at the same time opened one of the first movie theatres in Italy, in Florence.
The first Italian movie ever made was La Presa di Roma, released on September 18th 1905 and was directed by Filoteo Alberini.
The movie describes the last moments of Rome in the hands of the Pope, divided from the rest of Italy, as it was in 1870. In the opening scene, blindfolded General Carchidio is escorted from Ponte Milvio to General Kanzler of the Papal Army. Carchidio issues an ultimatum to surrender to Kanzler which is refused, and a breach in the city walls is stormed by troops (la breccia di Porta Pia).
The film recorded a crucial moment in the country's recent history: the capture of Rome by the newly-formed Italian army and the election of the city as the country's capital. It was produced with the co-operation of the country's Ministry of War and its goal was to strenghten the feeling of "Italianity" among population, putting in a bad light the role of Catholicism during unification.
There are only about 75 meters of film remaining today, or about 4 minutes (see video above), restored and preserved by the National Film Archive.
During his career in cinema, Alberini produced another 134 feature films, 36 documentaries and 57 comedies, including Quo Vadis? 1913, the first Italian movie epic.
These were the first steps of Italian movies. From then on the industry flourished and gave us such immortal movies as Roma Città Aperta, Fellini's movies and Italian comedies.