Wednesday, 14 January 2009

dante ferretti: production designer for pasolini, fellini, scorsese and burton

the aviator
The Aviator

"For me mistakes are the most important things. Because if you see a movie with perfect reconstructions this is boring. If you look around: Nothing is perfect in reality. As soon as you attach some mistakes, it looks real." Dante Ferretti

To coincide with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's (ACMI) current exhibition, Setting the Scene: Film Design from Metropolis to Australia, ACMI Film Programs has curated a unique film season dedicated to the body of work of Italian Academy Award winning Production Designer Dante Ferretti. This February ACMI will showcase a selection of 13 films featuring Art Direction or Production Design by Dante Ferretti in Focus On Dante Ferretti.

Born in 1943, with now over 70 titles in his body of work, Ferretti built his early career on collaborations with Italian auteurs Pier Paolo Pasolini, Marco Bellocchio, Elio Petri and Federico Fellini, often working on multiple projects with any one director. He also worked with Italian directors, Liliana Cavani, Marco Ferreri and Ettore Scola as well as French director Jean-Jacques Annaud on The Name of the Rose (1986).

Adapted from the novel by Umberto Eco, Annaud's medieval monastery-set thriller was shot in Italy and Germany and will screen as part of the Focus On season. Ferretti supervised the construction of the interior plaza and abbey that served as the locus for the labyrinthine drama. The reconstructed model of the eerie interior is being exhibited at ACMI as part of Setting the Scene until April, 2009.

"Whilst ACMI is turning its attention to design in cinema through the Setting the Scene exhibition - we felt it perfect timing to showcase one of the most well-known and sought after production designers still working today. We have been spoilt as audiences and sometimes forget the genius needed to create a seamless mise en scène through colour, backdrops, texture, costumes, set and all the other details required to create verisimilitude in cinema," says ACMI Film Programmer and Curator of the season, Roberta Ciabarra.

"Dante Ferretti's vast body of work includes ongoing collaborations with some of cinemas greatest auteurs. In a way this is testament to his significant role in the history of filmmaking. From baroque and neo-realist Italian cinema to the Hollywood machine and some of the really defining moments in film, Ferretti has been part of it all."

Ferretti's career trajectory really began to take on greater international scope in the mid '80s, when Terry Gilliam approached him to work on The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). In the years since he has worked with many significant directors on both sides of the Atlantic (Anthony Minghella, Neil Jordan and Claude Chabrol among them). His most frequent collaborations in recent years have been with American director Martin Scorsese, with whom he has worked on six feature films to date, of which ACMI will be screening three; The Aviator (2005), The Age of Innocence (1993) and Casino (1995). Scorsese and Ferretti are currently in production on their seventh film together Ashecliffe, due for release later this year.

Ferretti has won two Academy Awards in the Best Achievement in Art Direction category; in 2008 for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton) and in 2005 for The Aviator (Martin Scorsese).  Both films will screen as part of our season, as will The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993), Titus (Julie Taymor, 1999) and The Black Dahlia (Brian de Palma, 2006). Ferretti has also been awarded BAFTAs in the Best Production Design category for The Aviator, Interview with a Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Terry Gilliam, 1988) which will also be screening as part of the season.

Other titles in Focus On Dante Ferretti will include a smaller number of arthouse titles from Ferretti's early career in Italy and France including E la nave va (Federico Fellini), La nuit de Varennes (Ettore Scola), Tales of Ordinary Madness (Marco Ferreri) and Decameron (Pier Paolo Pasolini).

"With the sheer volume of works in his filmography, we could have done a whole festival, but these works represent some of Ferretti's defining moments, as well as those of the directors he has worked with. It's a chance for ACMI to highlight the importance of production design and visionary directing and perhaps even more so, the deep interpretative skills these artists (quite literally) have. Their ability to get into someone's head and translate concept into finely woven fabric is really quite something," says Ciabarra.

From Fellini to Scorsese, Burton to de Palma, this selection of Ferretti's work gives audiences a sense of the scope and diversity of his career in a 10 day Focus On season.

Focus On Dante Ferretti  is on at ACMI Friday 20 February - Sunday 1 March, 2009

Further information

Lior Albeck-Ripka
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2475 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 655
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