Milan Kinemacolor, free screenings of unpublished vintage films with live music: Sforzesca Summer 2021

Milan Kinemacolor, free screenings of unpublished vintage films with live music: Sforzesca Summer 2021
Milan Kinemacolor, free screenings of unpublished vintage films with live music: Sforzesca Summer 2021

Milano – Wednesday 16 June 2021, at 21.30, as part of the program of theSforzesca Summer 2021, the Cortile delle Armi of the Sforzesco Castle in Milan hosts an absolute preview of the event Milan Kinemacolor: all the colors of Milan, a screening evening, with live musical accompaniment, which includes, among others, unpublished movies shot in Milan between 1912 and 1914 with the pioneering technique of Kinemacolor, the first process for color filming and viewing of motion picture films.

Milano – These films of more than a hundred years ago, found by chance in 2021 by the Milan Film Archive and restored with the most innovative digital technologies, they are the work of the Milanese photographer and cinereporter Luca Comerio, pioneer and father of Italian cinema, also known for his first aerial shots of the city of Milan. And the Milanese capital is the protagonist of the projection: the symbolic places of the city such as the Castello Sforzesco, Piazza Duomo and the Hippodrome, are colored on the big screen in a sort of cinematic performance that brings with it the same amazement as then. The screening is enriched by thelive musical accompaniment the care of Francesca Badalini (keyboard / synth), Irene Marracini (clarinet) e Davide Martinelli (percussion).

Milano – Following the theme of colors, the program also includes a fun journey full of discoveries in Cinematic Milan from the 1950s to today through all the colors of the city and the most iconic films and the most important authors of laughter. From Eduardo De Filippo a Totò, passing through Dario Fo, Renato Pozzetto e Diego Abatantuono without neglecting the animation cinema of Bruno Bozzetto e Guido Manuli, the city of Milan is the protagonist of a series of unforgettable sequences in the name of colors and expressive vivacity.

The evening is at free entry previous online booking. Below is the program of unpublished films by Luca Comerio that are screened:

  • Milan smoke and colors (1908): long panoramas of the Sforzesco Castle, the Arch of Peace and the Milan Cathedral. Then the subject of the shooting changes: these are images shot indoors, relating to a sample. A young brunette woman, attractive and casual, poses for the operator in front of a painted backdrop that reproduces the terrace of a cafe with elegant ladies seated at the tables. The woman smokes, shows her profiles several times and wears a hat with a veil.
  • The swim platoons of the third cavalry division commanded by HRH the Count of Turin (1913): the Cavalry Swimmers Platoon carries out a series of exercises along the banks of the Ticino. The first shot shows some officers talking to each other, elegantly dressed women and some children. After this brief preamble of a worldly character, the action moves to the river, where a small boat with soldiers on board can be seen near the shore. Immediately afterwards, horses also appear and enter the water together with their riders. The action is taken from several angles, from the two banks, and probably from a boat in the middle of the river, producing a sort of effect shopping cart. Military operations follow one another rapidly, alternating the phases of the crossing of the river by the troops on horseback, on both banks, focusing attention on the differences in the uniforms and caps of the soldiers employed. The military exercises are interrupted and following city scenes with men and women in ceremonial clothes.
  • The San Siro Milan races for the Ambrosiano Grand Prix (1907/1909): 88 shots, 14 captions and a single sign at the beginning of the film. Shot at the San Siro Hippodrome, the film offers a broad cross-section of the habits, customs and fashion of the Milanese high society present at the event. The first images, preceded by the caption Pesage audience, are crossed by men and women who walk in the park before the races, often in pairs, only casually crossing the lens with their eyes. Women wear large hats and dresses that are tight at the waist. The men, elegantly dressed, have a thin walking stick. The following images are dedicated to the races, shot with large panoramic movements. Even the most famous jockeys outside the race circuit are filmed several times, waiting to start or immediately after the race, as well as the personalities who roam the San Siro park before showing the winners of the day. The uniform of the jockeys often takes on an iridescent color due to the application of the Kinemacolor technique.

What is Kinemacolor

The Kinemacolor is one of the very first procedures for coloring cinematographic images, patented in England in 1906 by Charles Urban and George Albert Smith, used in Italy by the Milanese cameraman Luca Comerio from 1912 to 1914. The system provided that a normal black and white film was run at 32 frames per second (double compared to to the usual 16) inside a camera equipped with a special one shutter with a double green and red filter. Later developed as a common black and white positive, the film was then run at a speed of 32 frames per second in a special projector also equipped with a double green and red filter shutter. Thanks to the overlay effect generated by the human eye, the image thus projected created an illusion of coloring which, however, was not materially present on the surface of the film but only in the eyes of the spectator. There are only 400 films in the world that are certain to have been made with this particular technique.

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