Cinema of Italy: Animation

Although Italy does not have a great commercial tradition regarding animation, some notable authors have emerged during the past decades.

The pioneer of Italian animation has been Francesco Guido, better known as “Gibba”. In 1946 he produced his first animated movies for the Italian cinema: “L’ultimo sciuscià” with neorealist undertones and in the following years “Rompicollo” and “I picchiatelli” in cooperation with Antonio Attanasi.

In the 1970s, after many animated documentaries, he will return to full-length movies with “Il racconto della giungla” and the erotic “Il nano e la strega”.

Interesting is also the contribution of painter and stage director Emanuele Luzzati, who after several prestigious shorts, in 1976 he completed one of Italian animation masterpieces: “Il flauto magico”, based on the opera by Mozart.

But it is with Bruno Bozzetto that Italian animation reaches international attention: his full-length movie debut “West and Soda” (1965), an irresistible and exuberant parody of the western genre, receives praise from critics and public.

Another parody is produced in 1968 called “Vip – Mio fratello superuomo”, based on popular superheroes. After several satirical short films (often about his famous “Signor Rossi”) Bozzetto goes back to full-length movie with “Allegro non troppo”, considered by many his most ambitious work. Inspired by Disney’s Fantasia is a movie of mixed techniques, with Maurizio Nichetti in the leading role, a movie where the animated episodes are synchronized to classical music.

During the 1980s, the only work of significance is “Volere volare” by Nichetti, a surreal comedy using mixed techniques. In the following decade, the Italian animation industry enters a new productive phase, thanks to the opening of the studios “Lanterna magica” in 1996, with a movie directed by Enzo d’Alo and based on a novel by Gianni Rodari: “La freccia azzurra”, an intriguing Christmas story.

The movie is a big success and it opens the door to more productions in the following years. In 1998, after only 2 years in production, the poetic and intense “La gabbianella e il gatto” opens in theatres with great success among the public and considered to be the best of Italian animation. After leaving the studios of “Lanterna magica”, Enzo d’Alo will produce “Momo alla conquista del tempo” (2001) and “Opopomoz” (2003). The studio in Turin will distribute “Aida degli alberi” (2001) and “Totò Sapore e la magica storia della pizza” (2003), both well received by the public.

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