Friday, 13 March 2009

Emanuele Luzzati, Luigi Berio, Stefano Cabrera "Genova Sinfonia della Città"

Friday 13th and lucky for all with more screenshots than is normal here. Great movie though, longer than most published on the blog at 16 minutes or so but don’t let that put you off; put your feet up, and view it on a large screen with the volume turned up. Genova Sinfonia della Città is a pictorial and musical history of the great city port of Genoa. Directed by Luigi Berio, but notably featuring the vivacious drawings of Emanuele Luzzati, and the music of Stefano Cabrera. The movie was released in 2005 less than two years before Emanuele's death at the age of 85. It is an astonishing, virtuoso accomplishment. Revel in the sheer life of the drawings, wit, design, use of colour, evocation of history, place and the personality of the numerous characters whose faces illuminate a work of art, for such this is. One can discern the set designer in the theatrical, cutout style of animation. It commences with the birth of the city, taking shape in sparingly sketched drawings, works its way through the construction of towers and walls, gargoyles, and the creation of kings and queens before in joyous fashion introducing us to the market, port, elephant, emigrants, musicians, children, washing lines, glorious houses, cable cars, gardens; indeed all the inhabitants in their finery. In short this is wondrous celebration not only of Genoa but of Italy in all its mix of old and new. Stefano's music is stirring with arrangements or echoes of Liszt, Brahms, Paganini; whilst Luigi's direction and animation moves the piece forward at speed as we follow the monarch on a tour of his city, as Emanuele's illustrations are sequenced in riveting sequence. One of the most magical of scenery designers for stage and particularly opera in Britain, Austria and the USA, as well as his native Italy, Emanuele was also a hugely talented animator in his collaboration with Giulio Gianini being twice nominated for an Academy Award. The volume of sketches here, not to mention their quality, bears testimony to a great talent. I read one Genoan dignitary's tribute to the great man speaking of his national importance: Emanuele Luzzati was international. And here I guess I will please the good people of the city's tourist board when I say that it has determined me on our target destination for the summer recess - Liguria here we come. We will certainly visit the museum set up to celebrate the great man's work and, who knows, see if I can afford a print or two for my studio wall.

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