A finely dressed man puts on a scarf in a still from 'Disco Ruin' (2020)
A finely dressed man puts on a scarf in a still from 'Disco Ruin' (2020)
Disco Ruin (2020)

ACMI and the Italian Institute of Culture Melbourne present

Disco Ruin

Disco Ruin - 40 anni di club culture italiana

Lisa Bosi and Francesca Zerbetto | Italy | 2021 | Unclassified (15+)

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ACMI Member



Fri 20 May - Sat 28 May 2022

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A definitive survey of Italian club culture, charting the rise of iconic clubs, producers, DJs, styles and genres over four propulsive decades.

Lisa Bosi and Francesca Zerbetto survey forty years of Italian club culture, charting the rise and fall of iconic clubs, producers, DJs, styles and genres over four propulsive decades. Taking its starting point in the 1960s – the decade that launched a more liberated (and liberating) style of collective dancing as an essential rite of passage – Disco Ruin namechecks Rome's Piper club, opened in 1965, as "the Big Bang" of a club circuit that would expand to Torino's own Piper in 1966, Club Altro Mondo in Rimini in 1967 and Space Electronic in Florence, in 1969.

U.S. style disco caused a sensation in the 1970s, with entrepreneurs such as Giancarlo Tirotti luring a roster of high profile American DJs to perform seven nights a week at his famed Baia degli Angeli (Bay of Angels) club in Gabbice Mare on Italy's Adriatic Coast. The eras of disco, funk, Radio Milano 101, the Riviera Romagnola, gender fluidity and performative excess of the '80s – cue Milano's Plastic club and Bologna's Kinki – the Torino 'underground', 'Italo-disco', House, Techno, Hip Hop, Ibiza, culminating in the rave culture of the '90s; all are recounted through the key personalities, club owners, art directors and graphic designers, DJs and producers that set the scene, from Daniele Baldelli, Claudio 'Cocco' Coccoluto and Ralf, to Alex Neri and Leo Mas among many, many others.

Co-directors Zerbetto and (filmmaker/architect) Bosi also approach their subject from an architectural and design point of view, including interviews with architects Ugo La Pietra and Pietro Derossi, among others, who describe some of the design innovations of landmark clubs that fostered a thriving club scene which expressed itself through performance, culture, art, trends, music, style, community and fashion. While some of these legendary 'astronavi' ('spaceships') survive – the 'crystal pyramid' of Riccione's Cocorico` reopened in November 2021, for example – Bosi sees in the abandoned structures of other mythic clubs such as Milan's Woodpecker and Turin's Ultimo Impero, a modern version of "Pompei, ruins of a past civilisation that no longer exists".

Format: DCP
Language: Italian with English subtitles
Runtime: 115 min

Event duration

115 mins


Unclassified (15+)

Occasional strobe effect, drug references, partial nudity, sexual references


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

How to get there


3 session pass
Full $45
Concession $39
Member $33

6 session pass
Full $84
Concession $72
Members $66

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