Saturday, March 7, 2015

Jazz Goes to the Movies... in Bologna

Brubeck and Mingus in the English jazz-noir Othello, All Night Long

I'm glad to announce that 'jazz on film' is returning to the screen, or rather jazz is going to the movies, in Bolgona, Italy.

Me and my Chicago-based friend Jonathan Rosenbaum have curated a mini retrospective of jazz films, “Jazz Goes to the Movies,” at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna (June 27–July 4, 2015).

A lively 'jam session' between reality and fiction, this programme explores 'the jazz life' in cinema, both for its participants and for its audience, in both documentaries and fiction films. Along with major documentaries such as Jammin' the Blues (restored) and Jazz on a Summer's Day, the programme features fiction films in which famous jazz musicians play themselves (Charles Mingus and Dave Brubeck in All Night Long) and in which listening to jazz plays a significant role (Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire and Charles Burnett's When it Rains). We'll present new restorations of early sound jazz films (Dudley Murphy's Black and Tan Fantasy), as well as rarely screened Soundies (short musical films from the 40's).

Update [March 11, 2015]:

Some of the confirmed titles in the programme are

Cab Calloway's Hi-De-Ho (Fred Waller, 1934) RESTORED
Tillie (William Forest Crouch, 1945)
Ball of Fire (Howard Hawks, 1941)
Black & Tan Fantasy (Dudley Murphy, 1929) RESTORED
I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good (Josef Berne, 1942)
Jammin' the Blues (Gjon Mili, 1944) RESTORED
All Night Long (Basil Dearden, 1961)
Jazz on a Summer’s Day (Bert Stern, 1959) 
Begone Dull Care (Norman McLaren, 1949)
Big Ben: Ben Webster in Europe (Johan van der Keuken, 1967)

Yet, there are more jazz-related films programmed for the new edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato such as the world restoration premiere of Ascenseur pour l'├ęchafaud (Louis Malle, 1958, featuring Miles Davis' legendary soundtrack) and films by Gianni Amico.

In addition to that, there will be a panel on jazz and film run by me and Jonathan for which we've planned to screen some rare 16mm jazz films, including more Soundies.

More information about this year's programme, here. Fo general information about the festival go here.


  1. Hi, Ehsan

    There is no detailed programme for the jazz part yet, right? I'd love to meet you there, but I'd have to plan early.


    1. Hi,

      Please see the update on the post, and email me in case you can make it to Bologna. (And I strongly urge you to do so!)