11 March 1977


Famiglia Ranza

Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

We are in the centre of Milan, the film begins with a shot of the sign on Via della Spiga, but immediately we catch sight of a woman and four blond boys around her, the family of the amateur filmmaker Ranza. Long-limbed figures walking through the unusually empty streets, lit by a late winter sun. Within a few frames, we find them inside the Graphica Club d'Arte Contemporanea, visiting the exhibition of Fausto Melotti (1901-1986), an artist best known for his light steel sculptures. Melotti's thin lines are too strong an attraction for filmmaker Ranza, who - to accentuate the vibrations of the metal sculptural elements - films at a different speed than usual, a reduced number of frames per second, to achieve the accelerated effect in projection. The children are intrigued by this art that seems to play with the rules of physics. On Melotti's work, Italo Calvino wrote 'Gli effimeri' (The Ephemerals), a text dedicated to the work of the same name, which he described as follows: 'A score of weightless ideograms like aquatic insects that seem to twirl on a brass backrest screened by a gauze thread'. Ranza's last shots are on the streets of the languishing Milan, while in Bologna the violence of 'Settantasette' explodes, with the death of student Francesco Lorusso, killed by a carabiniere.