Cinema in Rimini, the birthplace of the late-great Federico Fellini, in terms of the physical buildings used to project films, has undergone much the same dramatic shift as seen in cities across the western world. Local cinemas with individual styles and idiosyncracies have been replaced by the big out-of-town multiplexes – giant anonymous screens where choice is all and style is rendered obsolete.
Against that backdrop it’s all the more heartening to hear about the plans to redevelop the Fulgor cinema in Rimini’s main street the Corso d’Augusto. This is no ordinary cinema – it’s one that has a direct relationship with Fellini. He came here as a child, in the 1930s, when cinema was a window out onto the wider world. He immortalised it in his 1973 film Amarcord (oscar winner for 1975’s best foreign film).
The plans have been drawn up by another giant of Italian cinema, the two-times Oscar winning production designer Dante Ferretti – who’s perhaps best known for his work with Martin Scorcese on films like The age of innocence, The Gangs of New York, and The Aviator , but whose Hollywood credits include big productions with the likes of Antony Minghella, Tim Burton, and Â Neil Jordan.
Ferretti started his career in Italian cinema, and has worked with all the greats from Pasolini through to Zeffereli, and was lucky to have worked with Fellini before the director’s death in 1993. Ferretti worked on a number of films with Fellini – Satyricon (as a director’s assistant), Prova d’Orchestra, la citta delle donne, E la nave va, Ginger e Fred, and La voce della luna.
Last week Ferretti presented his plans for the new Fulgor to Rimini’s Comune: “It won’t be simply a museum … of course, there’ll be designs, photos, costumes, but I want to give the visitor the impression of entering, almost by magic, into a Fellini set. For the public to relive the emotion that I was lucky enough to have when I worked with Federico.”
The general plan, then, for the Fulgor is to become the new home for cinema in Rimini. It will house a Fellini museum on the upper floors, while on the ground floor two fully operational screens will be integrated. Ferretti plans to use materials like wood and marble, two materials virtually unheard of in modern cinemas Â – the idea being to re-create the style of the 1930s. “The new fulgor will be like that of Amarcord, a 30s style cinema, where Federico, as a boy in the provinces learned to love cinema. But at the same time it’ll be a cinema directed towards Hollywood: so a romagnolo hollywoodian cinema”.
The designs that Ferretti displayed to the local comune apparently, according to reports in local newspaper il resto del carlino, left all concerned breathless. In fact, the local councilor responsible for culture, Stefano Pivato, went on to tell the paper that “the designs, and models that he showed us were so beautiful that probably from mid-september onwards they’ll be on display to the public”.