During the 39th ILAB Congress and 23rd International Antiquarian Book Fair, the Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia (ALAI) organized a Rare Book Film Festival. The prestigious Cineteca di Bologna, founded half a century ago, enthusiastically embraced the idea of a Film Festival dedicated to Bibliophily. The Cineteca also realized a medley of the most important book-related scenes. Among the hundreds of titles which the ALAI received for the film contest from colleagues, universities and librarians, the most exciting are presented here.
AND THE WINNERS ARE ...
THE BEST MOVIE
THE BEST ACTOR
Rare book dealer Frank Doel in 84 Charing Cross Road
THE BEST SCENE WITH BOOKS
“i libri non sono forse la migliore compagnia? Mi basta toccarli i libri ... mi ritorna in mente tutto quello che in tanti anni mi hanno detto … abbandonare questi miei amici fedeli anche solo per una volta mi pare quasi di tradirli .”
THE BEST BOOKSELLER
Oscar Prize Winner Roberto Benigni fights for opening a bookshop against the racial laws during the Fascism.
THE BEST FILM ADAPTATION
Johnny Depp as Dean Corso, from The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte
THE BEST CONTRIBUTION TO BOOKTRADE
Sean Connery as William of Baskerville, from the novel Il nome della Rosa by Umberto Eco
THE BEST SUBJECT ABOUT BOOKTRADE
Joel Sloane is a rare book dealer and part time detective. He finds stolen or lost rare books for the insurance companies and gets a reward for their return. But this is a little different. Otto Brockler, a rare book dealer with questionable ethics, has been murdered. Leah, who is in love with the falsely convicted Ned. Elias, a silent partner in stolen and forged books. Sydney, a master forger of rare books. Julia, Otto's secretary who has expensive clothes and jewelry. Joel is the one who must find the murderer before he becomes the next victim.
MOVIES 1938 – 2009
1938 - Fast Company (aka The Rare-Book Murder)
with Melvin Douglas. Joel Sloane is a rare book dealer and part time detective. He finds stolen or lost rare books for the insurance companies and gets a reward for their return. But this is a little different. Otto Brockler, a rare book dealer with questionable ethics, has been murdered. Leah, who is in love with the falsely convicted Ned. Elias, a silent partner in stolen and forged books. Sydney, a master forger of rare books. Julia, Otto's secretary who has expensive clothes and jewelry. Joel is the one who must find the murderer before he becomes the next victim
1939 - Fast and Loose (Il Manoscritto scomparso)
with Robert Montgomery. The scrap of the Shakespeare manuscript is priceless. Nick Torrent owns it and is selling it. But then he is murdered and the manuscript is stolen. Joel Sloane is a rare book dealer and part time detective. Since he was trying to buy the manuscript for Mr. Oates, he is a suspect so he tries to solve the case. As the bodies pile up, Joel must solve the case or else Garda will be wearing black
1945 - Adventure
with Clark Gable and Greer Garson. Clark Gable is a seagoing roustabout who takes a fellow sailor into the library to find a book. He has little regard for libraries in general and pokes fun of the mottos, such as "Wisdom is Peace," that are carved on the building's facade. He gives the gorgeous librarian (Greer Garson) a rough time, and she returns the favor.
1946 - The Big Sleep (Il Grande Sonno)
with Humphrey Bogart. "Do you know anything about rare books? - Marlowe: Would you happen to have a Ben-Hur 1860, Third Edition with a duplicated line on page one-sixteen? Or a Chevalier Audubon 1840? Clerk: Nobody would. There isn't one."
1957 - Funny Face (Cenerentola a Parigi)
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire meet in the bookstore where she works.
1960 - Cimarron
with Maria Schell and Glenn Ford. The Cravet family builds their newspaper Oklahoma Wigwam into a business empire and Yancey Cravet is the adventurer-idealist who, to his wife's anger, spurns the opportunity to become governor since this means helping to defraud the Indians of their land and oil.
1963 - The Prize (Intrigo a Stoccolma)
with Paul Newman. As the Nobel Prize winners come to Stockholm to receive their awards, their lives are overturned and perturbed in various ways.
1966 - Torn Curtain (il Sipario Strappato)
by Alfred Hitchcock, with Paul Newman and Julie Andrews: a scene in an antiquarian bookshop
1966 - Fahrenheit 451 (Farenheit 451)
by François Truffaut. In a future totalitarian and oppressive society, where books are forbidden, Guy Montag is a fireman. The mission of firemen in this society with fireproof houses is to burn books at 450o F, the temperature of combustion of paper.
1973 - Soylent Green (2022, I sopravvissuti)
with Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson. Robinson’s last movie, before he died of cancer. He plays “a living book in a world without books”. The year is 2022. New York City has become overpopulated with 40 million people and pollution has caused the temperature to be risen and all natural resources have been destroyed, leaving 40 million people starving. The Soylent Company has create a new food product, Soylent Green.
1976 - Silver Streak (Wagons lits con omicidi)
with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. The movie centers around forged Rembrandt letters.
1976 - All the President's men (Tutti gli uomini del Presidente)
A library clerk (Jaye Stewart) gives circulation records to reporters working on the Watergate story. (Would this really happen in the Library of Congress?) One scene uses an unusual camera angle -- zooming into the dome of the main reading room -- to show the broad expanse of the room with its catalogues, tables and patrons. Also, Jamie Smith-Jackson and Ron Menchine are librarians for the Washington Post and James Murtaugh is a library clerk.
1984 - The Never-Ending Story (La storia infinita)
by Wolfgang Petersen. The opening scene with a cantankerous bookseller and the young boy: "your books are safe books..."
1986 - The Name of the Rose (Il Nome della Rosa)
by Jean-Jacques Annaud, with Sean Connery, Christian Slater, adaption of the marvellous novel by Umberto Eco
1986 - Hannah and her Sisters (Anna e le sue sorelle)
by Woody Allen, with Michael Caine and Barbara Hershey. Just a scene but a poignant one in Woody Allen's 'Hannah and her Sisters,' where the Michael Caine character purchases an e. e. cummings book for the Barbara Hershey character at the Pageant Book & Print Shop in New York.
1987 - 84 Charing Cross Road (84 Charing Cross)
with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. When a humorous script-reader in her New York apartment sees an ad in the Saturday Review of Literature for a bookstore in London that does mail order, she begins a very special correspondence and friendship with Frank Doel, the bookseller who works at Marks & Co., 84 Charing Cross Road.
1989 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Indiana Jones e l'ultima crociata)
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) finds the final clue to the location of the lost chalice in a library in Venice. To do so he must break a hole through the marble floor and so coordinates his pounding with the sound of the librarian stamping books. The librarian, an aged man, is surprised by the loud noise his work suddenly makes.
1990 - Dances with Wolves (Balla coi lupi)
Kevin Costner the soldier and hero, writes a diary.
1991 - Prospero's Books (L'ultima tempesta)
with John Gielgud. Very heavily book-based -- but you might find the ending distressing.
1992 - Patriot Games (Giochi di Potere)
with Harrison Ford. A rare book dealer as a contact between the terrorists and the spy in the royal family.
1994 - La Reine Margot (La Regina Margot)
with Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteil. With a beautiful book that is poisened.
1994 - The Pagemaster (L'avventura meravigliosa)
with Christopher Lloyd. A young boy who is afraid of virtually everything takes refuge from a storm in the public library. The librarian (played by Christopher Lloyd) is disappointed to learn that he has not come to read books, but only to use the telephone. The boy falls down and bumps his head, after which he finds himself on a magical journey into literature. Lloyd reappears as the Wizard who accompanies the boy on his adventures.
1994 - The Shawshank Redemption (Le ali della libertà)
Tim Robbins plays a young, successful banker convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. While incarcerated he takes over and greatly expands the prison library. It becomes a key location in the film, used for high-school equivalency education, among other things. The film presents a positive image of a prison library.
1996 - Black Mask (La vendetta della maschera nera)
Jet Li plays Tsui Chik, a gentle, mild-mannered Hong Kong librarian who is also the superhuman superhero Black Mask. Early in the film he gives a short monologue about his appreciation of library work: it's quiet, non-violent and people do not bother you. But for most of the movie he battles the cyborg-like bad guys who want to take over the Asian drug trade. He kidnaps a librarian to save her from his enemies. She stops at the wall directory -- the sure sign of a reference librarian using appropriate finding aids! At one point he uses CD-ROMs as deadly weapons, throwing them at the enemy.
1997 - Al-massir (aka Destiny, Il destino)
by Yusuf Shahin. Importan: the library of Averroes. The story is set in the 12th century in Arab-ruled Spanish province Andalusia, where famed philosopher Averroes is appointed grand judge by the caliph. The caliph's political rivals force him to send Averroes into exile, but his ideas keep on living thanks to his students.
1997 - Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella)
By and with Roberto Benigni. Benigni, as Guido Orefice, fights for opening a bookshop against the racial laws during the Fascism.
1998 - Pleasantville
When two 1990s teenagers are transported to the black and white, 1950s-style town of Pleasantville, one of the oddities they notice is that all the books consist of blank pages. When the teens tell the plot of a missing text, the book fills itself in (in colour). Soon the library becomes the most popular place in town, with teenagers line up outside the door, eager for new ideas. As the people of Pleasantville expand their thinking through books and other experiences, they and their world gradually fill with colour. When the "old guard" of Pleasantville attempt to stop this process, their techniques include burning the books and forbidding access to the library.
1999 – The Ninth Gate (La Nona Porta)
by Roman Polanski, with Johnny Depp. Adaption of "The Club Dumas" by Perez-Reverte.
1999 - Notting Hill (Notting Hill)
Hugh Grant is a bookseller in Notting Hill who falls in love with the famous movie star.
1999 - The Mummy (La Mummia)
Rachel Weisz is a librarian whose search for a rare book causes all the problems.
2002 – Unfaithful (L'amore infedele)
with Diane Lane and Richard Gere. Lane's character has an affair with a rare book dealer and her husband (Gere) bops the guy on the head with a snow-globe. As the dealer dies his blood drips on the pristine dust jacket of a Jack London first edition.
2004 - Day after Tomorrow (L'alba del giorno dopo)
by Roland Emmerich, with Dennis Quaid. As a result of global warming, mankind is facing a new ice age: low temperatures and a great flood lead to a catastrophe in New York where people burn books in the New York Public Library to get warm.
2006 - Miss Potter (Miss Potter)
with Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor. The biopic of children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter combines stories from her own life with animated sequences featuring characters from her stories, such as Peter Rabbit.
2007 - National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Il mistero delle pagine perdute)
with Nicolas Cage. Treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates tries to discover the truth behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, by uncovering the mystery within the 18 pages missing from assassin John Wilkes Booth's diary.
2007 – Centochiodi
by Ermanno Olmi, with Raz Degan. A university student destroys incunabula and medieval manuscripts in an old library.
2008 – Inkheart (La leggenda del cuore d'inchiostro)
Adaption of the novel by Cornelia Funke. A young girl discovers that her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books and must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, and a storybook's hero.
2009 - Angels & Demons (Angeli e demoni)
by Ron Howard, with Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor. Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican.