During Lockdown, an Italian Film Festival is Projecting Clips from Movie Scenes onto City Buildings

Paste magazine originally published this article on March 23, 2020.

Italy may be in the midst of a nationwide lockdown with the highest coronavirus fatality rate in the world, but locals are finding ways to cope: Most recently, by projecting film clips onto buildings, turning the cityscape into cinescape. Videos of people singing from balconies went viral last week, and now a new initiative from Alice Nella Città—a section of the Rome Film Festival—provides another way for citizens to connect while social distancing.

In the first week of the popular initiative, residents watched scenes from Tornatore’s Cinema ParadisoDisney’s The Aristocats, Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Bergman’s Persona, among others, all from their windows (or balconies).

Celebrities like Penelope Cruz have engaged with the project so far. In an Instagram post, Cruz shared a clip with the caption, “Mandando mucho amor. Sending so much love,” which shows a couple dancing in their home from an open window, as the song “Cheek to Cheek” from the Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers film Top Hat plays.

Aureliano Verita, who lives in the building across from the couple, originally snapped the video and posted the sweet scene on Instagram. Verita told USA Today “It was very suggestive and our neighbors didn’t miss the opportunity to dance together.’‘

The screening series began with Alice Nella Città co-directors Gianluca Giannelli and Fabia Bettini projecting movie clips from their houses in Rome, according to Deadline. However, the directors have since taken the screening series to new heights as residents are invited to project clips (rather than full-length films, due to copyright laws) onto local buildings. Within Italy, screenings have now reached cities like Palermo, Pisa and Turin. The festival is in the process of setting up satellite screenings in Brazil, the Philippines, France, Switzerland, and elsewhere.

According to the festival, the purpose of the screenings, which begin at 10 p.m. locally, is “to sleep with a lighter heart after these tiring days, thanks to the sharing of a moment dedicated to watching scenes from the films we love most,” as per Deadline.

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