50 – Santarcangelo Festival
PerSo Cinema Italiano

By Michele Mellara e Alessandro Rossi
Italia, 2020, 76’

Friday 8th ottobre PostModernissimo – 19.00


Directors and writers: Michele Mellara, Alessandro Rossi
Production: Ilaria Malagutti per Mammut film
With the collaboration of: Santarcangelo Festival, Home Movies – Archivio Nazionale del film di famiglia
with the support of: Regione Emilia-Romagna, Comune di Santarcangelo di Romagna
Photography and material effects: Marco Mensa
Montage and sound montage: Mattia Biancucci
Original music: Giuseppe Tranquillino Minerva
Operators: Marco Mensa, Michele Mellara, Anthony Cavarretta
Directly-recorded sound: Alessandro Rossi
Archive research: Irene Gallina
Edition: Matilde Pieraccini
Graphics and animations: Ameleto Cascio per Bloomik
Mix: Alessandro Saviozzi Studio Arkì
Color correction: Marco Mensa

Project Title (Original Language): 50 SANTARCANGELO FESTIVAL
Project Type: Documentary
Runtime: 1 hour 16 minutes 49 seconds
Country of Origin: Italy
Country of Filming: Italy
Language: Italian
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Film Color: Color
First-time Filmmaker: No
Student Project: No

Santarcangelo Festival turns 50 years old. 13 directors took turns at work for a festival which has a strong identity. Santarcangelo Festival is a model of organization of a festival and an essential guide to understand the evolution of the performing arts in Europe. From the political theatre of the early ’70s to the Third Theatre of the ’80s; from actors to performers; and finally to the Festival of Arts. For the first time the history of the most important festival in Italy is told in a documentary. Santarcangelo Festival: one of the most esteemed in Europe. Unique and unpublished archive materials, exclusive interviews, internationally renowned protagonists, for an exciting narrative collage.


We work on collages, on emotional juxtapositions, sometimes pop, sometimes classic, of images and music, of poetic sounds and words, of faces and short stories of everyday life. The places speak together with the people and the archives.
Santarcangelo Festival is a 50-years-old fresco. On the occasion of this important birthday, we have submitted it to cinematographic verification so that the fresco – of a city, of a community, of an ideal – continues to live over the years. Theater is the buried demon of every civilization.
The documentary weaves multiple plots, grows through a chorus of voices. First of all, the directors who re-read their texts, their choices, their disagreements regarding the organization of the festival. The voices of the directors mingle with the sounds of the shows, with fragments of objective memory (posters, photographs, catalogs). Then, there are those who have always remained, who have seen the festival change its skin and have helped it in the process. They are the executives, the administrators, who we have gathered in a symbolic place of the festival, the Zaghini Restaurant, and who, like a small and amused theatrical choir, tell the vicissitudes, the dislocations and the great inventions of the various editions of the festival.
Then there are our shots of the sleeping country during the winter hibernation waiting for the festival to take place, and of the caves of memory on which walls explode theatrical visions of the nearest past. But the documentary also lives thanks to the colors of the thousands of shows that are revived in the film and video repertoires.
The archive must be handled with care. We always approach with a certain prudence and, immediately, we are caught by a series of questions that will determine, at least in part, the creative relationship that will be created with the materials shot by others. One of the first questions that always comes up is the following: who shot it? Sometimes you come across well-known directors, but much more often the directors – or in many cases the filmmakers – remain mysterious figures, of which it is almost impossible to know anything; biography and provenance are uncertain, what is known about them passes through their images. The filmed material, the medium used – video camera, movie camera, super eight, digital camera – already determines the perimeter of the visual, a form that becomes contained in the quality of what was filmed: pixels that make up the frame, grain of the film, lines and releases of analog media, brightness and sharpness of the latest digital.
So, visual quality in relation to the support and then comes the subject. Who or what was filmed. There are materials capable of representing a scene of strong “interest” of the director, and others who are instead only of service or chronicles without sensitivity or knowledge of the subject being shot. Form and content are combined. Marriages were sometimes successful, sometimes less.
The game is therefore characterized by a dialogue between those who watch in the present and those who filmed and edited in the past. From this dialogue – emotional and intellectual at the same time – the researcher-director, like a chemist in a laboratory, will have to distil the alchemical compositions necessary for his story.
Telling fifty years of history of the Santarcangelo Festival, starting from a heterogeneous mass of archival materials and, with it, as well as a part of the history of Italian theater, also a piece of social, cultural and political history of our country, has required a polyphonic interpretation of the visual of the past.

BIOGRAPHY Michele Mellara and Alessandro Rossi

They have been working together for about twenty years. “Fort Bastiani” is their debut feature film (Solinas Award for Best Screenplay; Candidate for Best Directorial Debut David di Donatello). They have made documentaries on the major issues like the right to health (“Health for sale”; “Life is deadly”), globalization (“God save the green”; “I’m in love with my car”), Italian politics (“La febbre del fare”). Their films have been screened and broadcast all over the world receiving numerous awards and fueling participatory discussions. In 2017 Biografilm dedicated a tribute to them.


Life is deadly – 2019
The Match – 2017
I’m in love with my car – 2017
Pascoliana – 2014
God save the green – 2012
Morris’ Bag – 2012
Work Fever, Bologna 1945-1980
Health for sale – 2007
One meter below the fish – 2006
Domà, Houses in S. Petersburg – 2003
Fort Bastiani – 2002