Tate Modern Film

The Rome School – Part 2

Alberto Grifi Orgonauti, evviva ! 1968-70, film still

Alberto Grifi Orgonauti, evviva ! 1968-70, film still

Alberto Grifi Orgonauti, evviva ! 1968-70, film still

Carmelo Bene Hermitage 1967, film still

This second screening explores other figures from the Rome School and other forms of experimenting with cinema. Featuring films by Giorgio Turi and Roberto Capanna, Alfredo Leonardi, Paolo Gioli, Pietro Bargellini, Alberto Grifi, Carmelo Bene.


Giorgo Turi, Roberto Capanna, Italy 1964, 16mm,  black and white, sound, 11 min  

The film is literally a voyage (the title is an untranslatable word game in French) in the relationship between the ageing of the human body and the ‘age’ of iron as a metaphor for already obsolete technology. Made with intense editing of extremely varied materials, it alternates shots of industrial sites, iron objects of different kinds, elderly men and shots of instruments that measure time. The film’s knack for visual invention evokes and reinvents the experiences of early cinema avant-gardes, especially the films of Dziga Vertov and Walter Ruttmann.

Se l’inconscio si ribella / If Unconscious Revolt

Alfredo Leonardi, Italy 1967, 16mm, black and white, sound, 21 min

In a game of elegant overlaps and dissolves in black and white, the film gives form to a dialogue between everyday life and the stage, immediacy of childlike reactions and the theatrical and musical experiments of the day. Based on improvisation and freedom from the constraints of apparatuses and traditions. The alter-ego of the director, his son Francesco, alternates with that of artist friends like Cathy Berberian, Peter Hartman and members of the Living Theatre.

Commutazioni con mutazione / Commutations with Mutations 

Paolo Gioli, Italy 1969, 16mm, 18fps, black and white, silent, 7 min

Commutazioni con Mutazione is composed by overlapping three different film formats, that have been made to co-exist: Super-8, 16mm, and 35mm on a single 16mm support. The variations in size caused the original framelines to overlap, subjecting them – and their images – to a singularly diabolical rhythm. The formats were glued together, one at a time, fragment on top of fragment, using transparent adhesive tape. The final result is a film whose imagery spans from the tradition of abstract film to found footage.

Trasferimento di modulazione / Transfer of Modulation

Piero Bargellini, Italy 1969, 16mm,  black and white, silent, 7 min 

Made from pornographic materials from the 1950s, the film is composed of scratched, poorly spliced footage, in bad condition, whose images are in a clear state of decay. Subsequently developed and printed altering the chemical processes, scratching the surfaces and using bath processes to lighten fragments. Trasferimento di modulazione had a single copy, intended to decay and flake apart with each screening, making the bodies lose their consistency and underlining the material nature of the film.

Orgonauti, evviva!

Alberto Grifi, Italy 1968–70, 35mm, colour, sound, 19 min

Featuring: Aya Alkin, Paolo Brunatto, Poupée Brunatto, Sandra Cardini, Giordano Falzoni, Gianna Gelmetti, Alberto Hammerman, Alfredo Leonardi, Silvana Leonardi, Saro Liotta, Sophie Marland, Gioacchino Saitto
Music: Alvin Curran - Gruppo di musica elettronica VIVA
Production company: Corona Cinematografica

A little-known film by Alberto Grifi, Orgonauti, Evviva! portrays a group of young people in a spaceship from the future, descendants of a subversive minority that has escaped the destruction of the Earth. The young people recover a capsule that contains the hibernating body of a reactionary warmonger, who after having caused war and death has abandoned the Earth, which has become a planet on which it is not possible to live anymore. The elegant visual experimentation intertwines psychedelic visions and the orgone theory (hence the title) of the Austrian psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, in a dystopic, resplendent setting, pervaded by the sophisticated soundtrack by Alvin Curran-MEV.

World premiere of the new 35mm print.


Carmelo Bene, Italy 1967, 35mm, colour, sound, 26 min

Cinematography: Giulio Albonico
Music: Vittorio Gelmetti
Featuring: Carmelo Bene, Lydia Mancinelli
Production company: Nexus Film

A man (played by Carmelo Bene) closes himself inside room 805 of the Hotel Hermitage, where he performs a series of actions: disrobing, dressing, drinking, smoking, writing and sleeping. The actions are interrupted by an unknown woman who knocks on the door, mistaking the man for another. Realising her mistake, she vanishes. Carmelo Bene uses the voice as a narrative structure and replicates the provocative approach of his theatre: ‘Yesterday, as today. Getting top grades in history to make his mother happy, or killing his mother to make history happy...’. The final provocation plays with the codes of the radio medium and with the dada tradition: after the credits, the film concludes with ‘you have been listening to music by Giuseppe Verdi.’ In a visual atmosphere that seems to foreshadow the line of research of Derek Jarman. Hermitage is a flash of the visionary and profoundly experimental cinema of Carmelo Bene.

Programme duration: 92 min

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

24 October 2015 at 19.00–21.00

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