Cinecittà and Italian Cinema

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Cinecittà’s fascinating history comprises over 3,000 films made by Italian directors like Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti and Bernardo Bertolucci, to name just a few, as well as foreign filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Mel Gibson. The current studio was built between 1936 and 1937 on the outskirts of Rome. It was soon called ‘the dream factory’ of Italy, since by 1943, just six years after it opened, nearly 300 productions had been made on the Cinecittà lot.

This great studio complex benefitted from the Fascist government’s support and was inaugurated by Mussolini himself, showing the importance film had for the Fascist regime. One of the objectives of the construction of Cinecittà was to counter Hollywood’s presence on the Italian market by making films that could compete with American productions.

In its first few years the studio produced dozens of historical dramas and propaganda films, but also many comedies that featured lavish set designs and a myriad of new Italian film stars. Cinecittà provided everything necessary for filmmaking: sets, technical services, and was connected to the centre of Rome. Established in the same neighbourhood was a cinema school, the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, for young apprentices, and the LUCE Institute that produced newsreels, documentary and propaganda films. Cinecittà was dedicated to the shooting of fiction films.