Jazz films at Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy
This year’s edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato, the annual film festival held in Bologna, Italy, dedicated to the rediscovery of restored, rare and little-known films, started on the 25th of June and will come to an end on the 2nd of July.
A number of jazz-related features are included in its program. One of them is a little-seen Japanese feature from 1957, titled A Jazz Star is Born (Jazz musume tanjō). Directed by Masahisa Sunohara, the film follows the Cinderella story of a young girl from a small island whose career as a jazz singer in Tokyo takes off after her talent for singing is discovered. The film is part of a program titled “Richness and Harmony. Color Film in Japan (part two),” which examines the expansion of color film production in Japan in the late 1950s. The program is curated by Alexander Jacoby and Johan Nordström, in collaboration with the National Film Center of Tokyo.
King of Jazz is also screening as part of this year’s Il Cinema Ritrovato, as part of a retrospective on the lavish productions of Universal Pictures mogul Carl Laemmle, Jr. Directed by John Murray Anderson in 1930, the film features Paul Whiteman and his orchestra as well as an early cinematic turn by a young Bing Crosby. It was recently restored to its original form, aside from a small number of scenes that remain missing and were reconstructed with stills and original audio.
Thomas White’s experimental film Who’s Crazy, also screening in Bologna, originally appearing at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966, the film was never publicly shown since. In its absence, the movie became famous for its music score, composed by Ornette Coleman and his trio. Last October, shortly after the saxophonist’s death, the film was found in its director’s garage in Connecticut and was shown at a number of screenings in New York City.