Addio signor Alberto

10 Sep

Goodbye Mr Alberto………….through your eyes and words, written in a book or said in a movie, I fell in love with our hometown over and over again….

Alberto Bevilacqua as a director (here shooting a movie in our town) was a visionary man…..

and as a writer he liked to walk throught the city to “breath” his fellow citizens feelings and moods…………

and he liked to be back here (he lived in Rome) from time to time (more often when he was younger) to officially open the “Parma Poetry Festival” (here in 2010 and 2011)

It was always a pleasure listening to his stories when he was on tv (here, the last time in 2012, before his illness took over)

Some of you might have seen this old movie, if not and you have the chance, watch it, it’s worth your time (even better, read the book)

or maybe this one…..

This is what an italian newspaper has to say about him….

Parma’s Gift to Cinema and Literature

During his life, Alberto Bevilacqua collected some of Italian literary society’s top recognitions: the Campiello Prize for “That Kind of Love” (in 1966), the Strega Prize for “The Eye of the Cat” (in 1968), the anointment as Knight of the Grand Cross in 2010. But most of all he was an author who the public loved very much. Actually, it would be safe to say that readers and viewers have been a constant compass for the writer from Parma, as if whoever engages in fiction (written or cinematic) should most of all imagine himself in a relationship with his future recipient and as if literary success could not exist without a substantial popular approval. The other most evident feature of Bevilacqua’s activity was his curiosity and his desire to put himself to the test with the most diverse writing genres: from classic fiction novels to cultural journalism, from screenwriting to poetry. A quick review at the titles of his nearly 40 novels gives us an idea of his narrative, where great feelings are never approached by the caution of periphrasis: “love/lover” and “Parma/Parmigiano (from Parma) dominate on all other words, confirming a precise short circuit between passions and places that Bevilaqcua never ceased to cultivate. (Other recurrent words of his are “mother,” “soul,” “mysterious.”) Possibly, his best novel is also his first: “A City in Love,” published by Sugarco in 1962; the choice—of which he was extremely aware—in favor of popular narrative was already clear two years later with “La Califfa (The Female Caliph),” which granted him a huge-selling success and which, although far from being his best book, has remained most vividly than others in the readers’ memories. It is a sort of allegory of the relationship between capital and labor that, thanks to the love of an ex-blue-collar worker who became a powerful entrepreneur for the widow of an employee of his killed in a strike, seems to find, even if for only a moment, some kind of reconciliation. Unlike many other writers, Bevilacqua loved to personally follow his work to screen adaptation. Out of the seven feature films based on his novels, two required a big production commitment and obtained a similarly big success. First, “La Califfa,” from 1970, with Ugo Tognazzi and a splendid Romy Schneider as protagonists, which was also presented at the Cannes festival in 1971: plotwise it turned out to be very different from the novel, as Bevilacqua himself explained, simply for budget reasons. (It should be noted that the ending was changed, with the industrialist no longer dying of natural causes and instead getting killed in a sort of conspiracy due to his projects of social harmony.) Then, “This Kind of Love,” from 1972, also with Ugo Tognazzi, this time sided by Jean Seberg. (The movie ended up winning the Davide di Donatello Award.) For one of those curious, unpredictable twists of fame, possibly the work by Bevilacqua to leave the most indelible mark on international culture was a screenplay. In 1962 Italian horror maestro Mario Bava asked for his help putting together a three-part movie based on three horror (novel) maestros from the 1800s: Guy De Maupassant, Aleksej Tolstoj and Anton Cecov. The Parma writer, not yet blessed with success, accepted the challenge and helped give birth to one of Italy’s horror masterpieces: “Black Sabbath,” from which the English heavy metal band took its name (“The Three Faces of Fear” was the Italian title). Quentin Tarantino and Roman Polanski are among the biggest fans of that movie and many have detected analogies between the Bava film and both Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and Polanski’s “The Tenant.” Bava and Bevilacqua tried again the following year with a science fiction film based on a novel by Renato Pesstrinero, “A 21-Hour Night,” entitled for cinema “Terror in Space” in Italy and “Planet of the Vampires” internationally (1965). Though production limitations are, in this case, much more evident than in Black Sabbath, the writer and the filmmaker managed to create one of the few successful movies of Italian science fiction distributed all over the world. According to many critics, it inspired “Alien,” by Ridley Scott. (In fact some similarities between the two movies are striking.) One might just think that emotions like desire and fear were equivalent for Bevilacqua—as long as the relationship with his audience remained strong.

So, again, goodbye Signor Alberto, it’s a honor for me to share the same roots…..

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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


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