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The physiognomy of Rome in cinema
Constantinos Chatzifragkios - Makrydakis, topographer

Some metropolises of the world emit a particular enchantment in the art of cinema. Authors with different artistic ways and ideological background portray their opinion in films, in an attempt to determine the physiognomy of each one of these cities-symbols; cities that have become property of the spectators’ imagination all over the world, simply with the move of a camera.

Fictionalized places like New York, Paris, Rome, London, Venice and Berlin will not cease to constitute a permanent heritage of pictures and a vaulting horse of escape from the everyday routine. Cities-seductresses who emit that flavour of familiarity, places that feel as if we knew them all along, even though we never had the chance to visit them. On the other side, the need of the public and of the cinematographic industry for continuous renewal of optical representations, has led to a continuous roaming in new, cinematographically virgin, regions.

The filmmakers convert to architects and either surround the cities with a hallucination of sensuality, or put the knife in the bone, revealing the true stories that their residents experience.

Filmed Rome reflects diachronic aspects of Italian cities. Venice’s mythical nobleness, Milan’s vertical dimension, Florence’s resistant hues, the poverty of Naples and Palermo, all these are screened on Rome’s urban body. The result is an illustration of the course leading from the post-war sordid poverty to the intense reconstruction, and from this to the loneliness of the modern metropolis.

konhatzi@mail.ntua.gr

28/02/2007
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If only film could do the same, Peter Greenaway, 1972
Rome open city, Roberto Rosselini, 1945
Bicycle’s thief, Vittorio De Sica, 1948
Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini, 1960
Accatone, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1961
Mamma Roma, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1962
The Eclipse, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962
Hands over the city, Francesco Rosi, 1963
Hands over the city, Francesco Rosi, 1963
Hands over the city, Francesco Rosi, 1963
Hands over the city, Francesco Rosi, 1963
Architect’s belly, Peter Greenaway, 1987