Thursday, January 10, 2019

Rome Journal: Cinecitta

photo of Theater 5 Cincecitta by Francis Levy
Cinecitta was and is a factory for the willing suspension of disbelief. There are 21 studios which are still used by film and television production companies around the world (during Hollywood's "Rome on the Tiber" era, classics like Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck were shot there). It was in the largest of them, the monumental Teatro 5, that Frederico Fellini worked his magic. When Martin Scorsese was filming Gangs of New York in 2002, he had "New York Gas Works" painted on the side of the studio since he was using practically the whole lot and needed something to justify the presence of the hulking structure. Rome’s Via Veneto is on a hill so Fellini recreated a flat version in Teatro 5 when he was filming La Dolce VitaIt’s been said that Rome with its great monuments to the past is like a stage set, but at Cinecitta you still had and have many stage sets that are Rome. Fellini also created scenes from his iconic film about the city, Roma, on this favorite set. The studio actually has a water capability and for Casanova he produced a Venetian canal there. Fellini maintained an apartment in Teatro 5 and he once commented, "...When I'm asked what city I'd like to live in, London, Paris or answer is--to be honest--Cinecitta...Cinecitta Teatro 5 is actually my ideal place. Excited, thrilled, enchanted: that is how I feel before an empty soundstage, a place to be filled, a world to be created."

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