It took two years for the Lumiére brothers and their cinematograph to make their way to Italy. A year later, the country had produced a motion picture of its own and in 1911, just fifteen years after Auguste and Louis had wowed crowds in Rome and Naples, Italy was home to the first avant-garde movement in cinema (the Italian Futurism movement). In 1934, the government built a massive film studio, called Cinecittà – "Cinema City." Italy’s love affair with cinema runs deep and stretches back. It is an integral part of its cultural history.
And Italian cinema has been an important part of the American Cinematheque’s history - although tonight was my first experience. I stood at the top of a long red carpet feeling somewhat underdressed - actors, screenwriters, directors and producers standing around me smiling into flashbulbs. This tiny piece of America briefly invaded by the Italian film industry - a stylish, handsome army here for the opening night of Cinema Italian Style, 2015.