“I Promessi Sposi” (The Betrothed) at Torricella Peligna


A Film Phenomenon

 by Walter Teti


A film phenomenon. I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) filmed at Torricella Peligna: And how much emotion at seeing it. Those places in the countryside that we have so often seen and visited and which have evoked something inscrutable in our minds, we have seen anew now, on set, stamped onto a film frequented by our own villagers dressed in costume. This is not a parody: quite the contrary, it is a reality which has allowed many Torricellans, especially those who took part in the shooting, to re-evaluate themselves against the world of things, the possible, and themselves.   

In any case it is a wonderful thing to immerse oneself in the recital, especially when one can do so as a parody. Is it easier? Who knows; certainly it makes one reflect on one’s own behaviour and the manner in which people express themselves in life, who knows if life itself isn’t a large stage, or might this be more true than anyone thinks? A parody, yes, but an occasion: one in which to accept one’s own role in comparison with others, those of the spectators too, or the users of the cinematographic work - and to be able in some way to link up with the force of expression of the other characters, or no, excuse me, in this case the people. The film too has expressed this. It has shown up a movement that exists in Torricella even though it had never been perceived before, a vitality directed towards truly, immediately, do-able projects, and it is also true that we ourselves are the ones who must produce it. In this sense it is a social phenomenon of getting closer together and of a mixing of the generations, breaking barriers that often exist, even though we were unaware that these had become interposed between the people concerned. 

To “Gianni Materazzo, family & Co.,” should be written this merit, they have given Torricellans an exclusive means of going down a path which, at another time and with other means of expression, would certainly have met with easy and dangerous deviations.  

To watch the film, which is most beautiful, has many good technical qualities and was meticulously prepared, even with these eyes, contributes to valuing it even more than it was already valued before now. How does one say it, unexpected things are the best: from this point of view the film did not have its own specific tendency to form a project,apart from the very one which also led to the birth of our own Association and … this journal too, and it turned out well. Thus, in order for us to grow more together, let’s welcome Troy[1]: there will be many more lances to be broken there!

Translator's Note:

     [1] Troy – the author is making reference here to another film that Gianni Materazzo promised in 1989 to make in Torricella, about the Siege of Troy




Sadly, so far, (2006) this project has not yet been carried out; who knows if this version of Troy will ever be performed?

Award for the Director – 18th February ‘89

 A celebration organised by the Association was held at the “Squarciarelli” restaurant at Grottaferrata, our kind and well-known Sponsor.

106 people, who travelled from Torricella, Chieti, Lanciano and Pescara, filled a large room reserved for us. During the dinner, Manzi, the President, conferred a memorial plaque to Gianni Materazzo, director and scriptwriter of the film. Anyone who would like one can ask us for a copy of the cassette of the film and of the celebration; and if you go to Squarciarelli, tell the owner that you are friends from Torricella and you will certainly be given a warm welcome. 

 (b)  Evening of the Stars – 1st January ‘89

 A celebration organised by the Association to give awards to the best actors in the film.

 The rankings were drawn up according to the preferences of the public who attended screenings of the film. Best actress: Clelia D’Ulisse, in the role of Lucia; best actor: Michele Troilo, in the part of Count Attilio. In second place for actresses, Signora Cristina Grado, as Agnes; and for actors equal second went to Fabrizio Testa (Renzo) and Michele Materazzo (Don Rodrigo).

 The celebration took place at the “La Sagréstia” restaurant in Torricella which provided an extremely tasty cold buffet.

An amateur Film Achieved Using Minimal Resources

by Walter Teti

 Taking into account several simple facts that fundamentally comprise the “film” of a film, it can be even better appreciated.

 An amateur film achieved with minimum equipment: length 1 hour 50 minutes, it was filmed using a Canon 8 video-camera (a small less well-equipped model), that is a camera within anybody’s reach regarding its cost and its use. Despite that, the images are well defined and the sound is acceptable. Apart from the camera, spools and batteries, a tripod was used for some scenes, plus a microphone and two 500 Watt halogen lamps; equipment for amateurs. The film was made using auto-focus (automatic regulation of the objective) and direct takes. 

The fact that it “seems” to be a real film, with all professional effects, with correct cinematographic language, sufficiently compact and fluid and with a high standard of acting, is due to its meticulous preparation: nothing was left to improvisation or to “inspiration”.

 Then the shooting, slow movements of the camera, a scenery of “iron”; as one says in the jargon, consistent with a true prototype.

 The film cost 9 million (lire): 2.5 for costumes, 3.5 for editing, voiceover and musical commentary, 3.0 for tapes, batteries and various expenses including “promotion”.

Finance was provided by the Association, and the Town Hall made a small contribution. What a film!

   Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca   

© Amici di Torricella         Year 1       No 2 May 1989  page 9