Il Cinema Ritrovato 2021 | Case Study: Italia K2

On July 27th, before the screening in Piazza Maggiore, Andrea Meneghelli (Cineteca di Bologna) and composer and musician Daniele Furlati presented the restoration work on Mario Fantin’s footage of the 1954 expedition on K2, directed by the geologist Ardito Desio. The footage was originally part of the 1955 Marcello Baldi’s documentary Italia K2, but the restored version of the documentary will have its premiere at the Trento Film Festival and the screening in Piazza Maggiore focuses on the mountain scenery with a new editing by Andrea Meneghelli, texts by Albino Ferrari and original music by Teo Uselli orchestrated and adapted by Daniele Furlati.

Andrea Meneghelli began the talk by explaining the difficulties of the shooting. At first there were doubts on which film was better for the expedition, they wanted to use the Ferrania Color, but the cold could have easily destroyed it so instead they picked 16mm Kodachrome. Fantin didn’t manage to reach the top of the mountain, so he gave one of the cameras to the mountaineers who completed the expedition. Every member of the crew received lessons on how to use the filming equipment for the occasion. One of the cameras returned, while the other was left at Camp 8 and it is probably still there. In his diary, Mario Fantin mentions that he shot 200 meters of film each day and when he approached the top of the mountain he shot less because of the many difficulties he encountered. The film was used in its entirety, amounting 5 hours and 50 minutes.

From the CAI (Italian Alpine Club) Cineteca di Bologna received a reversal 16mm film. The 4 remaining reels had conservation issues so an element that could help filling the voids left by the two missing reels and helping in the restoration work was needed. Luckily the CAI film archive also had an interpositive in 35mm that had a worse quality but helped with those sections of the film that didn’t require the best quality.

Daniele Furlati wanted to give the music an heroic but also spiritual value. He was particularly fascinated by the two choirs from Val D’Aosta featured in the original documentary and decided to showcase them with the new music. He had to reconstruct the original music with only a few pieces of sheet music. They managed to finish the work in 18 days.

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