June Newsletter: Riddle of Fire, Il Cinema Ritrovato and Fisherman’s Blues


Photos: Classiq Journal


”I wanted to make it the ultimate kids movie
where these kid characters have everything that you
would want as a kid––like dirt bikes, paintball guns,
the freedom, beautiful woods to adventure and explore.
They’re sort of the masters of their own world.”

Weston Razooli, The Film Stage


Left: “Buena Vista Social Club”, 1999, directed by Wim Wenders



Riddle of Fire, 2023
Weston Razooli

Three kids in the modern day embark on an old-fashion adventure. They have smart phones and play video games but technology co-exists with a world of outdoor play and wonder. It’s enchanting, freeing, up-lifting, the kind of film every generation should grow up with, the kind of film that fosters a sense of curiosity for nature and everything that surrounds us and is beyond us. “I’m showing a very stylised world and a world of fantasy with weird humor and weird characters,” writer/director Weston Razooli said about his debut feature in an interview with The Film Stage. “And for me to pull that off, shooting on film is the glue, the magic butter that holds it all together and allows you to accept the world as stylized. I personally don’t like sci-fi or fantasy or period film shot digitally. I can’t really give into the suspension of disbelief. I hope to capture this elemental spirit that surrounds nature and humans and relationships, everything.”


La parapluies de Cherbourg The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964
Jacques Demy

Interestingly enough, Jacques Demy wanted to pay his own tribute to the classic Hollywood musical (the title alone is alluding to Singin’ in the Rain). Decidedly tied to, but not traditionally French New Wave, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is restrained and wistful, it has a tragic undertone, going deeper than the surface of an effusive romantic story, embracing the more complicated emotions of love and life. What makes The Umbrellas of Cherbourg one of a kind is that the story is told entirely in song, with its characters singing every single line of their dialogue. Demy said that what bothered him at a classical musical was that the song and dance numbers were disrupting the unity of the story and he dreamed of making something seamless. And everything fell in perfect harmony with composer Michel Legrand’s lyrical melodies (it took him six months for them to finally start coming to him). “No one believed in it”, said Legrand about the film.

Another unusual thing was to make a musical against a realistic setting like Cherbourg. As Catherine Deneuve was saying in an interview at The National Film Theatre in London, “a musical was very unusual”, a long way from a traditional French film. Though it was shot on an actual location, Demy remained loyal to his idea of paying tribute to the Old Hollywood through stylised decors and bright and cheery colours (the citizens of Cherbourg allowed Demy to paint their homes). “The film used colour like a singing Matisse”, said the director. Indeed, the film displays a glorious use of colour. Demy and cinematographer Jean Rabier worked hard to make this a non-artificial world, anchoring the film’s pure visual poetry to the specifics of urban reality.


Buena Vista Social Club, 1999
Wim Wenders

“I thought, I’ll shoot a documentary,” Wenders said, “and here we were, about to witness a fairy tale that no one could have imagined in this form.” A documentary road film through the music of Cuba, from the streets of Havana to the stage of Carnegie Hall to world recognition for an almost forgotten generation of Cuban musicians. Music is above class, social and political context. It’s heart-warming.



Hand-selected books are available in the shop. Rare, under-the-radar or special editions. Among them, Wim Wenders’ favourite book, Einmal: Bilder und Geschichten. “Once upon a time“ is how fairy tales begin. Wim Wenders’ picture stories are made of stories with photos – or photos with stories. “Once…“ is how these forty-four autobiographical sketches all start. Written like pop lyrics in a laconic, rythmic prose, they capture experiences significant and insignificant during his trips around the word on the search for and on the way to the locations of his movies. The stories are visually complemented by photographs taken on the road that evoked – sometimes many years later – memories of people, situations, glimpses. Travel and photo diary in one, Wenders’ picture stories relate the encounters, views, and impressions of a filmmaker inspired by the poetry of the eye and the melody of the speech.


Il dolce far niente: The Italian Way of Summer, by photographer Lucy Laucht. Her photography is like that, it doesn’t just capture an image, but life and stories that reveal but most importantly leave a mystery behind and leave us wandering.


In a world that’s filled with photographers around every corner, there are a few that stand out. On Artifact Uprising, they share their tips in short interviews. Lucy Laucht, Alex Strohl and Kara Mercer are my favourites.


Author Ivan Carrozzi investigates: Federico Fellini: The American.



The soundtrack: Riddle of Fire


The album: Fisherman’s Blues, The Waterboys




A few years back I decided not to take photos with my phone anymore, especially on trips, special occasions or even a spontaneous moment around the house, and I started using my camera regularly. And because I use it so often and didn’t want to look like I was always on vacation, I wanted to swap the unappealing standard logo-strap for a classic, simple, elegant leather strap, one that just gets better with age and tells the story of your journeys, places and people. And these leather camera straps are some of the best options there are.



The wonderful endlessness of cinema in Bologna, at Il Cinema Ritrovato, the understated film festival that illuminates the city with the magic of storytelling for eight intense days at the end of June. Summer couldn’t start any better for a film lover. A memorable journey of rediscovering the history of cinema and a celebration of the irreplaceable experience of collective film-viewing. The festival is at its thirty-eighth edition, from June 22 to June 30. This year, the festival will host nearly five hundred films, from restored masterpieces to hidden gems of every era.

This year, the festival will also pay homage to many names of the world cinema, from Catherine Deneuve (who graces this’s year’s official poster in a film still from Jacques Demy’s Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) to Marlene Dietrich to Pietro Germi, a central figure in some decisive moments of the Italian cinema, from neorealism to commedia dell’arte.

Il Cinema Ritrovato is also one of the great international festivals of silent cinema. Rediscovering silent cinema, bringing it to new life, also means rediscovering, reconstructing, improvising and composing the music that accompanies it. The world’s best musicians of silent cinema and their personal search for that magical harmony or the perfect tension between image and music are some of the reasons that make every viewing at Il Cinema Ritrovato a unique and special one.

The educational department of the Cineteca di Bologna, Schermi e Lavagne, will present a rich programme of screenings, workshops and events aimed at young audiences, and Il Cinema Ritrovato Book Fair offers a selection of the most important and prestigious international books, Blu-Rays, DVDs, film music records and vintage posters.

And last but not least, the festival is aiming to encourage and give visibility to quality home entertainment Dvd and Blu-Rays of critically acclaimed films made before 1994. I love that. Movies should be watched in cinemas and re-watched at home only on DVDs and Blu-Rays.

For the love of cinema.


On an end note

Founded in Rome in 1959, CAM Sugar has provided the music for some of the most outstanding, award-winning Italian and French films. Its archive, with over 2,000 titles and music by the likes of Ennio Morricone, Luis Bacalov, Piero Piccioni, Armando Trovajoli, Nino Rota, Riz Ortolani, Nora Orlandi, Philippe Sarde, and many more, is arguably the largest and most representative catalogue of Italian original soundtracks, with an artwork to match them. Their journal approaches the themes of arts, culture, and society through the looking glass of cinema and film music.


My kind of dream place for the summer. Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, 2023


The regulars: The interviews, newsletters and podcasts I turn to every week and/or every month because they are that good. Craig Mod’s newsletters: Roden and Ridgeline. Soundtracking, with Edith Bowman. Alicia Kennedy’s newsletter. Racquet’s Rennae Stubbs tennis podcast. Gone to Timbuktu, Sophy Robert’s podcast on the art of travel. Wachstumsversuche, with Sarah Schill. Sirene and Racquet, in print.


”We all look at Nature too much and live with her too little.”

Oscar Wilde, Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast


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