Online

The great Chaplin outbreak

I still have a couple of Henry Fondas to write up from Il Cinema Ritrovato online, but now there’s just time, while I’m busy with a Sight & Sound article (more later), to look back on the streaming film festival experience.

Watching three or four films or shorts programmes a day, the forty euro charge wound up fairly cheap. Of course we saved on the expense and hassle of flights and accommodation. But of course we missed out on the sunshine, conviviality, great food and Aperol spritzes of Bologna. Still, it is possible that if the possibility of online participation continued, some years we might stay home so as to attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival (which I miss badly), enjoying the rain, conviviality, home cooking and canned lager, and stream Bologna at the same time.

The streaming movies looked great, though there were a few interruptions to the flow, probably caused by our lousy internet service. There was a cross-section of different strands. I realize rights issues must make things difficult, but I was impressed at the number of Hollywood movies included. Ideally I’d like more of the shorts to stream, but some of those aren’t digitized I guess.

Still, it has to be said, not only can nothing replace the grand open-air screenings in the Piazza Maggiore, but nothing can replace the tiniest, stuffiest indoor screening at the Sala Scorsese with an overlong intro, live translation from a stressed-sounding woman blaring through an earpiece, and even the most basic piano accompaniment (and all the accompanists are well above basic level). More than any other film festival I know, Il Cinema Ritrovato is a LIVE EVENT.

Films + human beings.

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