The project of re-interpreting the RAI ‘intervals’, or intermissions, came about in 1988.
The idea was to make video-artistic micro-documentaries playing around with the stereotype of the classic TV intermission format, which until then consisted of slides that had been sent to the RAI of various geographical locations depicting some of Italy’s ‘beautiful panoramas’.
From a linguistic point of view, we substituted the still ‘postcard’ image with a sort of black-and-white ‘animated photograph’ with some color-highlighted details in a ‘pop’ style: the scenes were filmed with a fish-eye lens in starkly contrasting black and white, with the sky darkened by a filter.
The places described had been chosen for their social and architectural contradictions.
The captions remained somberly descriptive but in some cases became ‘tart’ comments on the pictures. The music was an arrangement of the famous ancient harp melody that accompanied the original ‘intervals’.
The first series of ITALIAN INTERMISSIONS, commissioned by RAITRE in 1989 after a pilot film on Turin, included those of Turin, Rimini in the winter, the outlying areas of Milan, Orgosolo, the Belice Valley, Venice, Palermo, Pozzuoli, Trieste and Genoa, for a total of 10 films.
Since the project had been highly successful, (the network extensively broadcast the new intermissions, which were unsettling both for their dilation of time and the total absence of words), we created a new series of 10 EUROPEAN INTERMISSIONS in 1992: only this time, people were portrayed in front of the buildings and museums, as well as other images of the cities, and the music was mixed with the real sounds.
The European series included Berlin, the Ruhr, the Basque Country, Moscow, Istanbul, Prague, Barcelona, Belfast, Liverpool and Lourdes: this last film portrayed only the people in pilgrimage alternated with images of the grotesque souvenirs.
Furthermore, an ‘Olympic Intermission’ was made for the Olympics Games in Barcelona.
The INTERMISSIONS have been presented over time at many International and Italian festivals and events: the Triennial in Milan, Berlin’s Festival of Independent Italian Cinema, Taormina Videoarte Festival and the Prix Italia; and more recently, they were selected for the list of the best Italian shorts in the last 20 years at festivals in Beijing and Canton.
ITALIAN INTERMISSIONS / 1989
A series of shorts on 10 places in Italy: Turin, Genoa, Milan’s outlying area, Trieste, Venice, Belice, Palermo, Pozzuoli, Rimini, Orgosolo.
europeAN INTERMISSIONS / 1992
A series of shorts on 10 places in Europe: Barcelona, the Ruhr, Lourdes, the Berlin Wall, the Basque Country, Moscow, Istanbul, Belfast, Liverpool, Prague.