Sep 22, 2017 Last Updated 6:02 PM, Sep 19, 2017

CIRO GIORGINI. MY MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION - TOO MUCH JOHNSON AND THE CINEMA OF ORSON WELLES

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By Filippo Biagianti and Massimiliano Studer 

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I owe this fundamental encounter with the Special on Orson Welles to an article that Gianni Rondolino wrote for La Stampa on August 13th 2013. It was his piece of writing that helped me discover the name of Ciro Giorgini. I met the scholar of Welles in Pordenone on October 13th 2013, the day after the worldwide Premiére of Too much Johnson. Since the very first moments of our meeting he showed such an unusual helpfulness and generosity. He immediately told me about a festival on Orson Welles – which we already had occasion to speak of in the past - organised by Obraz Cinestudio and Paolo Mereghetti. I shared with him my first impressions on the movie and told him I reckon it was “the missing link” of Welles career. He agreed with me and started a long discussion about Welles and his own obsession about this master of cinema. As I went back to Milan I called Ciro several times and we defined the contents of the interview; we decided we would meet in Rome on February 2014. Ciro Giorgini, employed in RAI since mid ’80s, is one of the historic pillars of RAI cult television show Fuori Orario: cose (mai) viste. He realized, among many others, a Special Mr Arkadin, that was broadcasted by RAI 3 in 1992, and helped all scholars to realize that different versions of that movie existed. He is considered one of the most important experts of Orson Welles in Italy, but he is often contacted by experts abroad for advices on the American film-maker. We owe to Giorgini, among the rest, an original documentary dedicated to the Italian period of Orson Welles. In 1992 Giorgini, together with Gianfranco Giagni and Maia Borelli, realized Rosabella, la storia italiana di Orson Welles, which gathers numberless interviews to technicians and co-workers of the American film-maker during his twenty-year stay in Belpaese. That work drew the attention of many researchers, because, till then, nobody had thought of telling this important piece of Welles’s life. Nonetheless it is in 2013 that Giorgini’s name echoes around the world. He, in fact, takes credit for the discovery of long-lost considered movie Too much Johnson (1938). During the worldwide Premiére in Pordenone, on October 9th 2013, his name, pronounced by Paolo Cherchi Usai, rings out within the immense hall of Teatro Verdi before 800 people flocked from all over the world to admire this little jewel, that has been thought to be lost since 1970.

 

Turn on Closed Captioning (CC) for English Subtitles

 

The interview we are presenting is a short version of a two-hour meeting at Ciro Giorgini’s home in Rome. Filippo Biagianti and I thought it might be interesting to draw viewers’ attention to what Giorgini revealed on Too much Johnson. We would like to pinpoint some passages of that interview. Firstly Giorgini speaks about his contribution in discovering the film in details; the identification occurred under very special events that remind us of a detective story. Furthermore, the most interesting and never previously released details are about the copy of the movie that was shown in Pordenone. The fire of the Madrid probably never happened and the version assembled by Welles himself for the friends that paid visit to him was completely different from the one that was found in Italy.

Enjoy the view

Massimiliano Studer

(English translation from Italian language by Matteo Daffi)

 

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Ciro Giorgini

 

CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

From a research project by: Massimiliano Studer

Video shooting: Filippo Biagianti

Video montage: Filippo Biagianti e Massimiliano Studer

Music: Panamerican (2014) Music and lyrics by Pitch Dark

English subtitles: Carolyn Burke

Scenes taken from:

Too much Johnson (1938) by Orson Welles. Cinemazero, Pordenone / La Cineteca del Friuli, Gemona / George Eastman House, Rochester, NY

Rosabella, la storia Italiana di Orson Welles (1993), by Gianfranco Giagni, Ciro Giorgini e Maia Borelli

A Production: Formacinema

Special thanks to:

Ciro Giorgini e Silvia Vallario

Paolo Cherchi Usai, Piero Colussi, Livio Jacob e Giuliana Puppin de Le Giornate del Cinema Muto  di Pordenone Giornate del cinema muto

Annette Melville della National Film Preservation Foundation, U.S. Congress, Washington DC (USA)

 

  

(Licenza Creative Commons·Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Condividi allo stesso modo 3.0 Italia)

 

CC-BY-NC-SA

 

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