Sergio Leone Exhibition

17.12.2019 - 05.03.2020

Once upon a time there was Sergio Leone, the exhibition at the Ara Pacis. Once upon a time there was Sergio Leone, this is the title of the exhibition inaugurated at the Ara Pacis, on 17 December and which will be open until 3 May 2020. A special tribute with which the capital chooses to celebrate 30 years from death and 90 years from the birth of one of the greatest myths of Italian cinema.

Once upon a time Sergio Leone is an exhibition promoted by the Department of Cultural Growth of Rome Capital – Capitoline Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, the exhibition arrives in Italy after the success of last year at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, an institution co-producing the Roman staging together with the Cineteca di Bologna Foundation.

The exhibition was created with the contribution of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, in collaboration with Istituto Luce – Cinecittà, Ministère de la culture (France), CNC – Center national du cinéma et de l ‘image animée, SIAE and thanks to Rai Teche, Leone Film Group, Unidis Jolly Film, International Health Union, Romana Cinematographic Generating Sets. Digital Imaging Partner: Canon. Technical sponsors: Italiana Assicurazioni, Hotel Eden Roma, Bonaveri. The ideation is by Equa di Camilla Morabito and the organizational support of Zètema Progetto Cultura.

The exhibition itinerary – curated by the director of the Cineteca di Bologna, Gian Luca Farinelli, in collaboration with Rosaria Gioia and Antonio Bigini – tells of a boundless universe, that of Sergio Leone, which has its roots in its own family tradition: the father, director in the golden age of the Italian silent, he will choose the pseudonym of Roberto Roberti, and Sergio will wink at it signing in turn For a fistful of dollars with the English-speaking pseudonym of Bob Robertson.

Sergio Leone and the roots of his cinema
In his intense artistic journey Sergio Leone crosses the peplum, (historical-mythological film genre), literally rewrites the western and finds its climax in the project of a life: Once upon a time in America . This would be followed by another film of grandiose proportions, dedicated to the battle of Leningrad, of which, unfortunately, only a few pages remain written before his death. Leone, in fact, did not like writing. Rather, he was an oral narratorwho developed his films by telling them to friends, screenwriters, producers, endlessly, almost like the ancient singers who created the Homeric epic. But nevertheless, his legacy is enormous, a creative legacy whose significance is only beginning to be understood today. His films are, in fact, “the Bible” on which film students from all over the world learn the language of cinema, while many of the contemporary directors, from Martin Scorsese to Steven Spielberg, from Francis Ford Coppola to Quentin Tarantino, from George Lucas to John Woo, from Clint Eastwood to Ang Lee continue to recognize their debt to his cinema.

The roots of Sergio Leone’s cinema are of course also in the love of the classics of the past- on show the films of the giants of the western, from John Ford to Anthony Mann – and reveal a taste for architecture and figurative art that we find in the construction of the sets and shots, from the long shots of the metaphysical landscapes suggested by De Chirico , to the explicit quotation of Robert Indiana’s work Love, an extraordinary symbol, in Once upon a time in America, of an unequivocal leap into a new era. For Leone, the fairy tale is cinema. The desire to tell the myths (the West, the Revolution, America) using the memory of cinema and the freedom of the fairy tale, however, always comes into conflict with his culture of Italian who knew the war and went through the Neorealist season. Starting from For a Few Dollars More Leone can afford to indulge his fascination for the past and his documentary obsession with the myth, taking care of every little detail. Because in order to function, a cinematographic fable must convince viewers that what they see is really happening.

Thanks to the precious archival materials of the Leone family and Unidis Jolly Film, visitors will enter Sergio’s studio, where ideas for his cinema were born, with his personal memorabilia and his library, and then immerse himself in his films through models , sets, sketches, costumes, props, unforgettable sequences and a constellation of magnificent photographs, those of a master of the set like Angelo Novi, who followed all the work of Sergio Leone starting from C’era una volta il West.

Location: Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Lungotevere in Augusta, Rome
Date: December 17, 2019 – March 5, 2020
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Museo dell'Ara Pacis, Lungotevere in Augusta, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy



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