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The neo-experimental way of Italian cinema
by Adriano Aprà
There was Roberto Rossellini. There was (overground) Michelangelo Antonioni. There was Federico Fellini (but not always to my taste). There were, in the '60s and later, Pier Paolo Pasolini (including documentaries), Marco Bellocchio (including documentaries), Ermanno Olmi (including documentaries), Bernardo Bertolucci, Marco Ferreri, Vittorio De Seta (including documentaries). And there was a very marginalized – but today re-evaluated – Italian underground (Piero Bargellini, Alberto Grifi, Tonino De Bernardi, Alfredo Leonardi, Massimo Bacigalupo, Adamo Vergine, Guido Lombardi-Anna Lajolo, Paolo Brunatto, Gianfranco Brebbia), even with a few stars who did not consider themselves underground: Carmelo Bene (from theater), and Mario Schifano (from visual arts).
Then came the crisis of the mid-70s. The older managed to keep going but the younger felt orphans, without fathers or culture medium. Meteors. The attempt to make new films, new forms, collides with production and distribution hostile conditions. However, something has emerged, although still marginal. And then there was the presence in Italy of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub.
In the 80s, the situation has not changed.
The 90s have seen revivals, but always localized at the margins. Compared to the dominant attempt to return to a traditional narrative cinema, some adventurers try to propose a new way of making films, uprooted from the past.