During Seduction and Power, Imagines-Project held a special film event with live music.
The session consisted of the screening of four short films related with the topic of the conference with music originally composed and live performed by two music students of the University of Bristol: Josh Bishop and Philip Bennetts. The event was followed by a discussion on the narrative use of music in film. Following the success of this initiative, in January 2011 a second event with the musicians was organised at the University of Barcelona by Dr Montserrat Reig.
Nerone – Nero: The fall of Rome (Italy 1909)
Director: Luigi Maggi. Produced by Arturo Ambrosio. Screenplay: Decoroso Bonifanti and Arrigo Frusta.
This early film by Ambrosio manages to condense the story of Nero, Poppaea and the burning of Rome into only 12 minutes. The plot, partially inspired by Monteverdi’s opera L’incoronazione di Poppea (1642), focuses on the seduction of Nero by the ambitious Poppaea and the subsequent repudiation and murder of Octavia. The film’s splendid and very operatic sets and costumes designs achieve their climax in the scene of the triumphal procession led by Nero and Poppea.
Marcantonio e Cleopatra (Italy 1913)
Direction, artistic design and screenplay: Enrico Guazzoni. Photography: alessandro Bona.Based on a play by P.Cossa, Shakespeare’s tragedy Antony and Cleopatra and on Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. Following his successful Quo Vadis?, Guazzoni presents here an spectacular free version of Shakespeare’s tragedy. The film was praised for its marvellous sets and costumes and for the iconographic details. All this scenario of grandeur serves the movie’s main theme: the confrontation between glorious Rome and decadent Egypt, West and East, represented by Cleopatra and her ambitions of power. The story also echoes modern views of contemporary Italy as legitimate heir of the Roman Empire.
Teodora (Italy 1921)
Direction and screenplay: Leopoldo Carlucci (based on V. Sardou’s drama). Production: Arturo Ambrosio.
Based on Victorien Sardou’s drama written for the stage diva Sarah Bernhardt, Theodora’s role is excellently performed by another prestigious theatre actress of those times, the British-French Rita Jolivet. Deviating from the stigmatising depiction of Theodora by Procopius, Sardou’s drama follows the popular rediscovery of Byzantium in 19th century France.
Salomé (USA 1923)
Director: Charles Bryant. Do-director, production and screenplay: Alla Nazimova (after Oscar Wilde’s play). Artistic design: Natacha Rambova (after Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations).
Salomé was an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s controversial play (1891) of the same name. In 1923, the Russian-born actress Alla Nazimovafilmed a highly stylised version of the play set in a single scenario. Already in her early forties, Nazimova’s performance of a teenager is remembered as one of the most odd moments in the history of cinema. The film is also remembered by the conceptual art nouveau costumes and sets by Natacha Rambova that reproduced the illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley.