Presented in its Italian premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, Passion for cinema from Francesco Ranieri Martinotti, is part of the prospect of a relaunch of film collaboration between France and Italy, by virtue of the co-production document signed by the two governments last November. About twenty interviews with actors, directors, producers and screenwriters are intertwined with film extracts and archival material, and go to create the fresco of passion between French cinema and Italian cinema, a long-lasting exchange that, starting from the second post-war period up to the early seventies, he gave life to works of infinite beauty. It is a choral story about the intense communication between the two cultures and their complementing each other, as the film historian Aldo Tassone points out.
The two countries observed and admired each other, suggests Louis Garrel, and this reciprocity could be savored in films such as Overtaking by Dino Risi, where Jean-Louis Trintignant and Vittorio Gassman played, or ne The big binge by Marco Ferreri, in which the French actor Michel Piccoli was chosen to play one of the characters and still ne The family by Ettore Scola, who had selected an incredulous Fanny Ardant for the role of Adriana, also preferring her to other local actresses. In Passion for cinema, in addition to a subtext committed to promoting the return to the association of the time, also emerges the nostalgic feeling of those who had the good fortune to witness the evolution of that artistic love. The testimonies collected in this documentary are interesting precisely because they are direct: interviewees are asked to remember which directors, actors and films from the opposite country influenced them the most. It is suggestive to think of a young Toni Servillo in front of films by Truffaut and Chabrol, and it makes you smile to listen to the words of Valeria Golino, accompanied by a pinch of envy declared by her, on the dark and sensual light that the French actresses emanated, between all Catherine Deneuve and Jeanne Moreau.
Producer Dominique Besneard recalls the spontaneity and beauty of Italian actresses, including Sofia Loren, Claudia Cardinale and Silvana Mangano. The director and screenwriter Martin Provost, on the other hand, illuminates himself by talking about Federico Fellini, and admits to being incredulous in the face of those who, today, say they do not appreciate him as a filmmaker, while for him he is undoubtedly to be considered the Leonardo Da Vinci of cinema. In such amarcord sweet and melancholy voices blend with scenes from the most representative films of this artistic relationship, in a real window on the past: even if a renewed co-production relationship between the two countries fails, the pleasure will certainly remain to have tasted again with this documentary one of the best eras in the history of cinema.