May 22 – 31

Like MGM’s lion and The Archers’ target, the familiar shield and sash of Titanus is more than a logo, it’s a promise. The Italian studio’s not of capital-Q quality, perhaps, as it churned out as many lowbrow comedies and sword-and-sandal epics as artistic triumphs. But it’s of something more primal—of movies for lovers of movies. But as campy and cheap as they can be, Titanus films are never indifferent, and you’d be hard-pressed to find one not charged with delight in its own being. Titanus was founded in 1904 by Gustavo Lombardo and run by him until his death in 1951, when his son Goffredo assumed control. The company remains in the family to this day, but arguably its peak was the first 15 years of Goffredo’s tenure—a time when soul-searching works by Fellini and Antonioni alternated with gruesome frightfests by Argento and Bava, and transatlantic co-productions occurred long before they were common. The cost of Visconti’s The Leopard, among the studio’s crowning achievements, factored into a temporary shutdown in 1964, and subsequent output has been sporadic and less feature-driven. But the brand retains its luster, and the abundance and diversity of its boom years are truly, it must be said, titanic.

“A monumental studio that has produced some of the country’s best films since the post-war era. Whether in production or distribution, it’s impossible to trace the history of Italian cinema without finding Titanus along every stop of the way.” —The Hollywood Reporter

Organized by Isa Cucinotta and Dennis Lim for the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This program was selected from the Titanus retrospective curated by Roberto Turigliatto and Sergio M. Germani at the 2014 Locarno Film Festival, organized in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca Nazionale (National Film Archive), the Istituto Luce Cinecittà, and the Cinémathèque suisse in Lausanne.

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