Under The Movie Stars – Bologna Outdoor Cinema Festival

A special outdoor cinema festival will take place in Bologna this summer

From June 18 to August 15, a special film festival named ‘Sotto le stelle del cinema’ (Under the movie stars), will take place in Bologna. Free nightly screening of several movies from all over the world and ranging from the latest ones to the very beginning of the 20th century, will be showed in their original language with subtitles in English, in Italian or both, as applicable. What’s more, the location is unique. In the suggestive Piazza Maggiore, the central square of Bologna, one of the biggest screens in the world will light up every night as soon as it gets dark.

This yearly event is organised by Cineteca di Bologna, one of the most important film archives in Europe. In addition to being a place of movie conservation and restauration, the Cineteca is also a key reference for the promotion and diffusion audiovisual material, as well as a cornerstone institution for education in the field of cinema.

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The projection of ‘Frankestein junior’ during the 2017 edition. Credit: Lorenzo Burlando

Movies from the present…

Like any edition, this year’s schedule is full of interesting international films. Among the most recent and well-known ones, both the award-winning La la land and Wes Anderson’s masterpiece The Royal Tenenbaums deserve a mention. Some juicy Italian titles, such as Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (They call me Jeeg) and Perfetti sconosciuti (Perfect strangers), will also be projected.

Furthermore, those that in my opinion are two real doozies will be presented. The first one, Living in the future past, will be introduced by the director Susan Kucera himself. The movie is a reflection on the climate change caused by the human being, in a constant comparison between the past and the future. The second can’t-miss screening is the Spanish-Argentinian co-production El ciudadano ilustre (The distinguished citizen), based on the story of a writer that, after receiving the Noble Prize for Literature, returns to his hometown in Argentina, facing both the old similarities and the new differences with his people.

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A scene from ‘El ciudadano ilustre’

… And movies from the past

The ‘Il cinema ritrovato‘ section of the festival is dedicated to old films. The adjective ‘ritrovato’ means rediscovered, so it represents the idea of something that always leaves a positive and unexpected sensation when found. This is certainly the case of the movies that will be screened this year, such as Ingmar Bergman’s The seventh seal, C’era una volta il west (Once upon a time in the West) directed by Sergio Leone, or Ladri di biciclette (Bycicle thieves) by the great Vittorio de Sica. Moreover, a probably less known, but almost centenary film will be showed: Rosita, which dates back to 1923. The uniqueness of this projection will lie in the evocative live music of the ‘Mitteleuropa Orchestra’, that will accompany this silent masterpiece.

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A scene from ‘Bycicle Thieves’

Martin Scorsese and Giuseppe Tornatore as special guests

Surprises are not over, anyway. Indeed, two extraordinary public figures are awaited in Piazza Maggiore. On June 23, Martin Scorsese will introduce Enamorada (1946), an old Mexican film restored by the American director himself. On June 30, the Oscar director Giuseppe Tornatore will be present for the projection of Divorzio all’Italiana (Divorce Italian style), the classic 1961 movie by Pietro Germi starring Marcello Mastroianni.

Marcello Mastroianni and Stefania Sandrelli in ‘Divorce Italian Style’

Pratical information

Every movie starts at 9:45 p.m. and the complete program is available here. Although the square is full of seats, it is advisable to arrive at least thirty/forty-five minutes earlier, especially when the most popular films are projected. You can even decide to take away a sandwich, a pizza or an ice-cream in the nearby streets and have dinner while seated, as long as you keep the square clean.

The outdoor cinema is free every night. However, you can still buy different passes that allow you to reserve a seat in Piazza Maggiore, plus several other conventions, as well as the opportunity to support the Cineteca. Finally, during this special event, you will rarely see someone smoking, chatting or disturbing other spectators. On the contrary, you will notice an incredible sense of respect among cinephiles, grateful to be involved in this unforgettable sensory and cultural experience.

Featured image credit: Lorenzo Burlando