TORQUATO TASSO / TORQUATO TASSO
(THE LOVES OF ELEONORA D’ESTE, LIFE AND LOVES OF TORQUATO TASSO / Gli amori di Eleonora d’Este, Vita e amori di Torquato Tasso)
Italy, Savoia Film, 1914, 45 minutes
Reconstructed and restored by Gosfilmofond. DCP
Director: Roberto Danesi
Cast: Mario Roncoroni (Torquato Tasso), Sigurd Trier
Produced by another major Turin film company, Savoia Film, the 1914 “Torquato Tasso” was directed by Roberto Danesi, who is remembered today as one of the co-directors of the most important lost Italian film, “Lost in the Dark” (“Sperduti nel buio”), made in the same year. Danesi himself died at war a year later. Mario Roncoroni, who will co-direct the 1924 film “The Ship”, plays the lead.
Filming took place in the same places where Tasso lived: the castle and the lunatic asylum in Ferrara and the real church of Sant’Onofrio al Gianicolo in Rome.
The film received mixed reviews: some critics praised the dramatic moments and the accuracy of the reconstruction of the scene, while others criticized, for example, the too curvy forms of the “second” Eleanora, which distracted the viewer's attention, filling two-thirds of the screen.
The digital reconstruction process was extremely complex. At the Gosfilmofond collection, the film has been preserved only fragmentarily. The starting point was two reels of quite worn-out colored nitrate film copy without a single intertitle, which for a long time had been kept under the wrong title. Another black-and-white triacetate fragment of the film was found under the inventory title “Fragment of a Historical Melodrama”, which contained the only pre-revolutionary intertitle. Finally, a two-minute black and white triacetate fragment (45 meters) was found spliced between the episodes of “Jerusalem Delivered” (1911). The found fragments of the film do not duplicate each other. How and why the film had become divided in this way is unclear, but it is known that all the film materials came from VGIK. About 70-80% of the original film has survived.
All materials were scanned at 2K, basic work on image stabilization and cleaning was carried out. It was possible to reconstruct the narrative using a detailed advertising synopsis published in German by Savoia Film (this material was kindly provided by the Deutsche Kinemathek). Further steps to restore the correct sequence of the plot development and intertitles were taken using a set of 28 original postcards, each with its own title (courtesy of the National Film Museum of Turin). Thanks to them, it was possible to establish the correct orientation of the image of the nitrate positive fragments of the film.
The Gosfilmofond archivists, with the participation of specialists from foreign film archives, have returned this unique film to the viewer and its first screening is one of the most important events of the festival.
At the Ferrara court, the poet Torquato Tasso meets two court ladies: Eleanora d’Este, the sister of Duke Alfonso II, with whom he soon falls in love, and Eleanora, Countess of Scandiano, one of the court’s ladies-in-waiting. The latter, having been rejected by the poet, enters into a conspiracy against Tasso.