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Historical Outlines

Starting from the Vita futurista (1916) to the Ballet mécanique (1923) by Fernand Léger; from the provocative films by the Dadaists and the Surrealists to the Pop works by Andy Warhol, the cinema has always fascinated painters, seduced by the desire to compete with modern century art and adopted by them not only as a recording tool but also as a means of a temporal investigation and the creation of images. But what does cinema owe to painters?

The first theories on cinema as a new art go back to the beginning of the twentieth century. They focus on a type of research that confirms the difference existing between the new expressive technical media compared to the traditional arts. The problem of translating a pictorial composition into cinema was first faced by avant garde painters ((Hans Richter, Viking Eggeling, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalì) and then continued by top American film directors during the forties/fifties (Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage) who were considered through their films to be against commercial cinema. It then reached the Underground Cinema of Andy Warhol, the author of films that enjoyed an extraordinary success from the critics and public.

The Underground cinema developed more slowly compared to the American one, mainly because it lacked the structures that were appropriate for disseminating these new tendencies. Like most of the phenomena coming from America, the Underground Cinema as well became a real and proper fashion all over the world. In Italy as well this phenomenon attracted much attention and the artists of the sixties were attracted by culture of the mass media and the new forms of the cinematographic imagery such as Adamo Vergine, Giorgio Turi and Alfredo Leonardi.

The curator of the review has rightly decided to open the event by projecting Laverificaincerta (1964) by Gianfranco Baruchello and Alberto Grifi, considered by most as being the manifest of the independent Italian cinema. The centre of the film comprises a series of images by Marcel Duchamp filmed in 1963 by Baruchello. During the remainder of the film with an overall length of thirty minutes, the two film directors attempt to destroy the Hollywood type of cinema syntax with amusing irony. They dissected about a hundred and fifty thousand meters of American film taken from the sixties and seventies going to be destroyed.

The common characteristic of a cult film is to exalt the cinematographic image even penalizing the time of the telling. The aspect that is most evident of these films is the opposite because of the traditional type of script as well as the lack of logic.

Both fade-out occurring spasmodically as well as television images often appear in these films and cause the spectators to fall into a state of absolute instability during its vision.