A tribute for the founder of Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Maria Adriana Prolo

On February 20, 1991, Maria Adriana Prolo died. She was a passionate and tenacious, competent, visionary and nonconformist woman and founder of the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin (Italy). She did everything to make the dream of a museum dedicated to the Seventh Art come true.

The National Cinema Museum, on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of her death, decides to homage her with MARIA ADRIANA PROLO: A MUSEUM, ITS FOUNDER, a selection of images that portray her from the 1920s to the end of the 1980s, hosted on the external gate of the Mole Antonelliana. The private shots, also from the family archive, are accompanied by some of the photographs on display at the exhibition dedicated to the first seat of the Museum in Palazzo Chiablese, curated by Lorenzo Ventavoli, and the images taken by Elena Bosio on the set of the documentary Occhi che videro by Daniele Segre (Italy 1989, 50′), a film in which Maria Adriana Prolo and her Museum were the absolute protagonists. The film and the extra contents are presented as a unique document capable of capturing the vitality of Maria Adriana Prolo. The documentary will be available online on the Museum’s Vimeo channel for the duration of the tribute.

This is only the first of a series of events that will honor an extraordinary figure of the twentieth century. The Museum also announces the reprint and translation of her volume History of Italian Silent Cinema, Vol. I published in 1951 and now difficult to find: a brave work that, while being partly overcome by subsequent research, is proposed today for the absolute originality in the pioneering choice of the disciplinary field, with a rigorous methodology of documentation and analysis of the sources that the author developed during her university studies on the history of Risorgimento. Gianna Chiapello, historical assistant of Maria Adriana Prolo and collaborator of the Museum, will complete the revision of the iconographic part of the volume. The publication is symbolically the first initiative carried out by the Giovanni Pastrone Research Center on Italian silent cinema, founded in 2020 by the Museo Nazionale del Cinema and the University of Turin.

In addition to the reprint, the volume will be available in the coming months in a digital version, accessible free of charge. The text by Maria Adriana Prolo which constitutes the first part of the work will be translated into the official languages ​​of the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (French, English and Spanish), an association of which the Museum became a part since the 1950s thanks to the tenacity of its founder and the value of its collections. The project will be realized with the contribution of the Associazione Museo Nazionale del Cinema.

The reprint of the volume will be the starting point for the organization in the next academic year a symposium curated by the University of Turin and the National Cinema Museum with the Research Center Pastrone, dedicated to the past and future of the historiography of Italian silent cinema. Furthermore, the Educational Services of the Museum with the support of the Pastrone Research Center has planned a project for schools dedicated to the figure of Maria Adriana Prolo.

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