L'Atalante , Regia di Jean Vigo

L'Atalante, Regia di Jean Vigo


I was happy to talk about “La ciociara” (Two Women) with James Hancock, host of the Wrong Reel podcast, in July. Listen to our discussion about the use of motifs in the film – bread, hair-combing, the scarves, about the Marocchinate and more. You can read the cineracconto for "La ciociara" here.

Do you remember Père Jules' room from L’Atalante? What a mess! It was full of all kinds of mysterious stuff, like seashells, puppets, screeching cats, and the preserved hand of Père Jules' friend.

This is where we keep our random stuff. Here you can see the Italian posters for the films we've discussed. There is also a selection of my gifs and tweets of Italian and International films in English and in simple Italian – just click in the image. The Italian ones are towards the left of every row. 

At the bottom of the page is "Tips for First-Time Participants" at Il Cinema Ritrovato film festival in Bologna.

We announce new posts on Twitter @IKnewThemWell. Follow us!

la ciociara suitcases.png

Le locandine italiane dei film di cui abbiamo parlato nel blog / Italian posters for movies we have covered on the blog

Gif & tweet series



Tips for First-Time Participants at IL CINEMA RITROVATO FILM FESTIVAL in Bologna

1.     PROGRAM

Subscribe to the English-language version of the festival newsletter, which begins to be sent out in the Spring.  When the names of films and categories are published, get familiar with them; research the films if you want. Later the Catalogue (with descriptions like this one) will be online. Then – probably not until the week of the festival – the program with full schedule will be posted.* Start your planning!

I suggest creating an excel spreadsheet. Use an erasable pen; there will be changes!

In general, you don’t need to feel too pressured to plan ahead. You can plan day-by-day with the following two exceptions: a) Some films are repeated during the week, opening up your options. b) Some programs require a reservation – and spaces do fill up.

The Catalogue is included in the price of the weekly festival pass. It is your reference material for background on the films. But it is heavy; you do not want to carry it around. Remember: the content is available online, too. 

The light-weight printed Program indicates the length of each film, but keep in mind that most screenings are preceded by an intro, generally 5-10 minutes. That means if you arrive a few minutes late, you won’t miss the beginning of the film, but take that extra time into account when figuring out what time the screening will end.

Find your own best way to choose films. Be strategic or go random; watch all the films by one director or all the films in a series or get a sampling of everything. Here is a tweet with images of my new and old favorites from the 2018 festival.

* These examples are from the 2018 festival. 


Bologna is a medieval town created in a sort of circle. Getting almost anywhere will be a zigzag (much of it beneath beautiful porticos). It can be confusing.

The Cineteca di Bologna Cinema Lumiere area: Sala Scorsese and Sala Mastroianni are located in the building to the left, along with registration and the book fair to the right. DAMSLab, right outside that building, houses the film restoration school. And in front is Piazzetta Pasolini. (There is a very interesting 2-hour tour of the Cineteca’s library Biblioteca Renzo Renzi, and restoration laboratory L’Immagine Ritrovata. The English language tour fills up, so make your reservation as soon as the program is published online.)

For the other two main festival theaters, leave the Cinema Lumiere area and turn right onto Via Azzo Gardino. Walk a very short way and turn left onto the first busy street, Via delle Lame.

The commercial theater Cinema Arlecchino is a few blocks up on the left. Cinema Jolly is a few blocks farther, also on the left via a small walkway. 

I suggest using google maps to get around. Just set it and start it at a place with wifi and it will guide you to your destination. Remember to put your phone on airplane mode when you're not using it, to save on the battery because you will probably be out all day and much of the evening.


  • The Cinema Lumiere building: Sala Mastroianni (showing silent films with live piano accompaniment) and Sala Scorsese – two small-ish, intimate theaters. The wifi is a little shaky in this building. In addition to the bathrooms at Cinema Lumiere, which can get crowded, there are also restrooms out through the back of the book fair and to your left.

  • There are screenings and talks at DAMSLab, as well, right outside Cinema Lumiere.

  • Piazzetta Pasolini – with evening screenings that require reservations – is out in front.
    In this area as well, there is the outdoor bar/cafe, with food, drinks and plenty of tables where you can hang out. (However, it can be a little smoky there. If cigarette smoke bothers you, there is a similar place nearby that for some reason is relatively smoke-free: Quartiere Marconi Centro Sociale. Just walk out of the Cineteca area, turn left and walk a wee ways. You will see it on your right.)

  • Cinema Arlecchino: Great sight-lines everywhere; no wifi. 

  • Cinema Jolly has love seats. If the place is not full, put your stuff on the chair next to you, stretch out if you want, but even if you’re with your honey, you will not be snuggling; it is too hot. There is wifi and this is where you can reset your phone to google maps after a screening to find your way to your next destination. 

Every theater has one fantastic row which has one long empty row in front of it with no seats at all. That means you can stretch out your legs and there is one less row of heads in front of you, blocking the subtitles. (The subtitles are often below – not in – the screen where you see the image, so sight-lines are really important at Cinema Ritrovato.) Do you want one of these seats? Arrive early!

If you’re unsure whether you will like a film, sit on the aisle in the back and if the film is not for you: just leave. It’s okay. People do enter screenings late, too; don’t worry about it. But you might be standing.

For the evening screenings in Piazza Maggiore, the center section is reserved for weekly festival pass-holders. (Until around 9:45, when they open it up to the public. That means if you arrive after that you will definitely not get a seat.) I recommend sitting in this section because here you find not so much talking, people on phones and smoking as in the perimeter. If you’re meeting a friend who doesn’t have a weekly pass, arrive early because the perimeter seats do fill up.


You can make lodgings reservations through Bologna Welcome. You will get a festival discount, as well as friendly, helpful guidance if you have questions about the city. Click here for their website with more info about activities in the city.

Wherever you stay, be sure there is air conditioning; it can get quite warm.

Lodgings by Piazza Maggiore is convenient, since the screenings tend to finish around midnight. You’ll be tired and – if you’re anything like me – you could get lost on the way home.

I suggest looking for lodgings that provide a good breakfast to start your day out right. Remember: you will not only be watching movies, you will also be running from one venue to the next in the probably blazing heat.


The sidewalks are very hard and they can be rough on your feet and knees; bring shoes with good cushioning. A light jacket, for that one cool evening that may occur. I actually carried a shawl around and used it to cover my head when I walked in the sun. If you’re traveling through Heathrow (and you’re not from the UK), remember your UK electronics adapter. Bring a mailing tube if you think you’ll be purchasing posters. Don't forget your eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones for the red-eye!

6.   FOOD

Prepare to fortify yourself for your day of screenings; dinners are late in Italy, a lot of places are closed mid-afternoon, and you won’t find much spare time between screenings. 

For breakfast at my hotel every day I made myself a panino with cured meats and cheese, yogurt and fresh apricots, two chocolate croissants (they were small!), fresh squeezed OJ, and cappuccino.

For lunch, Re Crudo is conveniently located right next to the Cinema Arlecchino. They serve a range of foods from snacks through primi and secondi. They have different specials every day; the people are friendly; they more or less speak English; it is normally quick if you’re in a hurry or you can linger. And key: it is somewhat air conditioned (although they also have outdoor seating).

The festival provides a list of restaurant suggestions, many offering discounts to festival participants – including the divine Gamberini, with its amazing pastries, located not too far from festival central.

The temps can go over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit and there’s also too much plastic around. I purchased several large bottles of water that I kept in my hotel fridge and refilled the medium-sized bottles from it every day. Keep hydrated so you stay feeling well. (And skip a film if you need to go to your room and rest where it’s cool. Do you really have to see six films every single day?)


Festival posters and totes are inexpensive; what fantastic gifts for your friends who did not get to come! And there’s a wide selection of posters and books on cinema in many languages. You could consider the bookstore where you’ll find these items to be a little gift shop. It is also the coolest spot at the Cineteca. (Note: the bookshop also has a location at Piazza Maggiore.)


Here’s what I did for my first year: I volunteered at the material/welcome table in hospitality, where I gave festival-goers their totes and catalogues after they checked in. It’s a time commitment, though and you do miss quite a few films, so it’s not for everyone. But for me it was a great way to practice my Italian, interact with people and feel like a part of this wonderful festival. 


Tips compiled by Judy Cohen

Corrections, updates, complaints and invitations can be sent to me at info@liconoscevobene.net.

Updated June 29, 2019