A richly documented, lyrical and visionary journey into an unknown universe: the origins of Italian silent cinema. An art and a dazzling industry that gave birth to the first international stars, to hundreds of peplum, melò and adventure films, and launched the first filmmakers. Its world of fasts and romantic deliriums, between Verdi’s symbolism and D’Annunzio’s decadentism, soon reached international fame, fascinating crowds, intellectuals and artists from all over Europe, reaching out to the United States and South America. The protagonists of ITALIA – Fire and Ashes are male and female directors, actors and actresses, technicians and critics who contributed to the exuberant originality of that cinema.
The voices of Isabella Rossellini for the Italian and English versions and by Fanny Ardant for the French one, interpret the exceptional archive footage – most of it rare and unpublished – through the original words of those who contributed to and witnessed that aesthetic and cultural revolution. An art dedicated to the sublime, to sophistication and death: an era of splendor and the history of a country that would soon fall into the abyss of Fascism, from the ashes of which one of the greatest cinematographies in the world would be born again.
Produced by Articolture and Nocturnes Productions in association with Luce Cinecittà