Landscape Documentary

Le bellezze d’Italia. Trittico di visioni pittoresche
P: Tiziano Film, Torino / Pasquali Film, Torino. It 1911/1915
Print: Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Torino

“The film is made up of three episodes: In the gulf of La Spezia, The Val D’Aosta and In the Picturesque Lagoon. It is probably a new edition distributed by Tiziano Film in which older films produced by the Pasquali company have been assembled. The film is a good example of the’landscape documentary’ genre, very fashionable in the early Twentieth century. In this type of film artistic and natural beauties were enhanced by exalting the ‘typical’ and the “picturesque”. In The Gulf of La Spezia, the cameraman makes use of the opportunity of a reiterated panoramic take, starting from different viewpoints, to highlight the suggestive vista of villages seen from the sea. In the episode dedicated to Val D’Aosta, static shots and composite framing are preferred, often surrounded and enhanced by a letterbox frame. The widespread use of letterbox framings strengthens links with picture postcard aesthetics and, more indirectly, with landscape painting. In the Picturesque Lagoon is especially characterised by its breathtaking beginning: the camera approaches the lagoon from the sea, rocking slowly, immersed in a fiery red sunset; after insinuating itself inside Venice through its canals, it will return to the open sea to follow night fishing vessels together with the spectators. The video is a copy from the film print held by the National Cinema Museum: 35mm, positive, acetate, 305 metres, colour (Desmetcolor), Italian intertitles, silent.”
Europeana 1914-1918