“Backdrop Switzerland” Istituto Svizzero at Teatro dei Dioscuri, Rome
“Switzerland seen though more than a century of foreign and Italian films”
A cinematic exhibition
Istituto Svizzero is pleased to present “Backdrop Switzerland”—a unique exhibition of archive photos and material on Switzerland seen through more than a century of foreign films at Teatro dei Dioscuri al Quirinale, Rome.
Based on the homonymous book by Cornelius Schregle, this cinematic exhibition offers a glimpse of Switzerland and its clichés through the eyes of international cinema, backdrops of films—both real or make believes—chosen by producers and directors from the 1900’s such as American duo Laurel & Hardy to contemporary Italian director Paolo Sorrentino.
Historically a backdrop has been defined as “a large painted piece of cloth that is hung across the back of the stage”. At the beginning of the 1900s it was recreated with paintings, today it’s the real or recreated set (sound stage) which depicts, in the specificity of Switzerland, clichés such as bank vaults, mountain chalets, romantic lakesides, conveying the scenery’s essence on screen. The film Rhapsody (1954) featuring Vittorio Gassman and Elizabeth Taylor, for example, combines real Zurich exteriors and Hollywood sets. James Bond shows off his skiing abilities on different mountain slopes and terrify- ing summits.
Through a selection of photographs, films, and posters spanning over a century of cinema’s history, we invite the public to discover or rediscover Switzerland through iconographic images imagined by foreign and Italian artists and directors; from snow covered alpine landscapes to peaceful lakes or financial city centres: a mosaic of possible identities for, in some way, an exotic small country; a fictional backdrop that supports drama as well as action movies’ scenarios.
The exhibition will be accompanied, in the month of January 2019, by a rich programme of screenings and talks (please visit http://istitutosvizzero.it/mostra/backdrop-switzerland for details).
In collaboration with Istituto Luce – Cinecittà and MIBAC – Ministero per I Beni e le Attività culturali, RSI – Radiotelevisione svizzera, SRG SSR – Società svizzera di radiotelevisione, cinémathèque suisse and the municipality of Minusio.
The publication Backdrop Switzerland: Switzerland as seen through the lens of more than a century of foreign films (2016, L’Âge d’Homme) by Cornelius Schregle has been made possible with support from cinémathèque suisse and pro helvetia.
The video works screened at the entrance of the exhibition are © SRG SSR – Società svizzera di radiotelevisione.
Istituto Svizzero at Teatro dei Dioscuri, Rome
until 31 January 2019