The Film Library
- The Film Library in Gemona contains a collection of films of inestimable value, at the disposal of students, researchers, historians and film lovers.
- Fifteenth-century Palazzo Gurisatti, home to Cineteca del Friuli Film Library
- Why open a film library in Gemona?
- The library, video library, photo archives, cinema, productions, exhibitions and events: Cineteca del Friuli is constantly in action!
- The Film Archives of Friuli Venezia Giulia
- Academics and experts on film from all over the world come to Gemona
The Film Library in Gemona contains a collection of films of inestimable value, at the disposal of students, researchers, historians and film lovers.
Strolling in Via Basilio Brollo, the town’s main street, named after a distinguished Gemonese personage, we come to the intersection with Vicolo de Brugnis. At this exact point, in one of the most beautiful corners of reconstructed Gemona, right across from the Cathedral and the bell tower, a three-floor fifteenth-century(*) building captures the eye. The building is antique rose in colour, with a portico topped by a Gothic-style three-mullioned window that lightens up the look of the façade. A detail preserving the traces of Venetian domination. Palazzo Gurisatti – named after its last private owner – has been home to the Cineteca del Friuli Film Library since 1997.
* Mauro Vale anticipates the dating of Casa Gurisatti by a century, believing the foundations of the fifteenth-century building to date back to the previous century.
Three-mullioned window in Casa Gurisatti
The Film Library is a dream come true for students and fans of film, among other things! A sort of modern version of the wunderkammer, open to the public on appointment, it contains a vast collection of films (Film Archives of Friuli Venezia Giulia), books and magazines (in the library), films on dvd and blu-ray (in the video library), photographs (in the photo library), posters and more. In an age of digital languages and virtual worlds, of items that can be deleted with a single click, the importance of this collection will be clear.
Fifteenth-century Palazzo Gurisatti, home to Cineteca del Friuli Film Library
Palazzo Gurisatti was parish property in 1976, when it was severely damaged by the earthquake of May 6 and practically destroyed by the second quake that followed upon it in September. The exterior was rebuilt according to earthquake-proofing standards in the eighties, under the supervision of the superintendency. In the early nineties, the founders of the Film Library were in search of a more appropriate location, and realised that this building in the historic centre of Gemona could be just what they were looking for; they came to an agreement with the parish that owned it to pay for the work required on the interior, which took two years to complete.
Casa Gurisatti – Cineteca del Friuli Film Library
Cineteca del Friuli Film Library opened in Palazzo Gurisatti in December 1997; in November 2020 it became the owner of the building.
What is in Palazzo Gurisatti today?
- 27,000 books and pamphlets about film
- a thousand or so historic and modern magazines
- 30,000 films on dvd, blu-ray and other formats (half of which may be taken out on loan)
- 20,000 or more posters of various kinds, half of which belong to the precious Gianni Da Campo collection
- 50,000 photographic images, about three thousand of which were recently donated by film critic Giuseppe Ghigi
These are truly impressive figures. Above all, they tempt us to go and find out more about this microcosm of the world of film.
Interiors of Casa Gurisatti
The most significant collections in the Film Library include the archives of Alexander Walker and the Dante Spinotti, Mario Quargnolo, Augusto Genina, Siro Angeli and Chino Ermacora collections. Then there are the materials from the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (particularly the former Regional Film Library) and those of the Mediateque of the Region of Veneto and other public and private institutions.
Why open a film library in Gemona?
Livio Jacob and Piera Patat
The Film Library was opened on the initiative of a number of young film lovers, primarily Livio Jacob and Piera Patat, who began organising film screenings for the people of Gemona right after the earthquake, when the people were living in tents, using 16mm copies and equipment from San Paolo Film and ARCI (the Italian recreational and cultural association) in Udine. As the town’s two cinemas, the Sociale and the Glemonensis, had been destroyed, in February of 1977 they founded the Cinepopolare cultural association with the aim of opening a film club. The following August they met with Genoese film librarian Angelo R. Humouda, who introduced them to the world of film libraries and collecting. Thus the organisation that was not yet officially known as Friuli Film Library brought to Italy great treasures of film that hadn’t been seen for decades, such as the comic films of Max Linder, with which they opened the first edition of the Giornate del Cinema Muto or Silent Film Days at Cinemazero in Pordenone in 1982. In 1989 Cineteca del Friuli Film Library joined FIAF, the International Federation of Film Archives.
The institution’s exciting history and updates on its collection, events and publications are available at cinetecadelfriuli.org.
The library, video library, photo archives, cinema, productions, exhibitions and events: Cineteca del Friuli is constantly in action!
Social Cinema and the Theatre
Since 2009 the Film Library has also operated the Cinema Teatro Sociale, owned by the City of Gemona and inaugurated in 1988. The Social Cinema is one of about 500 independent cinemas all over Italy forming the Federazione Italiana dei Cinema d’Essai.
Photo archives in the Cineteca del Friuli Film Library
The Film Library’s photo archives include 50,000 images pertaining to the world of film, available for scholarly research. This vast collection includes:
- prints of various sizes, in black and white and colour
- negatives in black and white and colour
- photos of scenes and film sets
- images from advertising
- telephotos and slides in colour, in large sizes
The film library’s section on the earthquake
The Film Library has the largest existing collection of visual documentation of the Friuli earthquake and what the sites affected were like before the destruction. It is a collection of images documenting the tragic event, the emergency, and the reconstruction that followed: from Italian national television coverage to amateur footage, from documentaries filmed by the Diocese of Udine to those made by the armed forces involved in the rescue effort and the important documentation kept in the Centro di Cinematografia Sociale in Trieste.
Publications of the Cineteca del Friuli film library
Publications produced by the Cineteca del Friuli Film Library and the Giornate del Cinema Muto, festival of silent film, in addition to those published by other institutions for the festival, may be consulted in a special section of the website.
“Angelo R. Humouda” Library and Video Library
The library in Palazzo Gurisatti is the biggest specialised collection in the Region and one of the most up-to-date in Italy. The original core of the library’s collection, consisting of the personal collections of Livio Jacob and Piera Patat, was gradually expanded with purchases, exchanges and donations. The two most important acquisitions were the 1989 acquisition of the personal library of Angelo R. Humouda, after whom the library is named, and the collection of Lorenzo Codelli in 1997. The rarities preserved in Palazzo Gurisatti include a number of volumes published in the twenties, a complete collection of Art cinématographique (1926-1931), and a complete collection, from the first issue dated 1945 to the ‘70s, of the magazine edited by Sartre, Les Temps Moderns, important not only for the study of the cultural scene in post-war France but above all because it was the first magazine to publish a number of key theses in the history of film criticism and theory.
What is stored and what may be consulted in the library?
- 25,000 titles, many of which pertaining to Italian film, and monographs about key personalities in the world of film
- bibliographies and film repertoires (also available in electronic form and on-line)
- screenplays, both published and unpublished
- hundreds of periodicals from Italy and abroad
- graduate theses by Italian and international researchers who used the Film Library’s archives in their research, in addition to those filed by their authors for various reasons
Cineteca del Friuli - casa Gurisatti
Monday – Thursday, on appointment: 9.30-13.30 / 14.00-17.30
Consultation of material from the library and video library on the premises is currently suspended due to the pandemic. Books and films on dvd or blu-ray disc may be taken out on loan WITH PRIOR RESERVATIONS. Reservations must be made by sending an email to the library’s email address.
The Film Archives of Friuli Venezia Giulia
Film Archives – Cineteca del Friuli Film Library
“What is preserved on film is the technical history
and aesthetic vision of the movie, with all its unique, intimate value,
just as a great work of art
which we might see in a museum, or in a cathedral,
continues to tell the history of humanity hundreds of years after its creation.”
Honorary President, Cineteca del Friuli
The Cineteca del Friuli Film Library’s dream came true in 2008 with the opening of the Archivio Cinema del Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Film Archive of Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the artisan area of Gemona, between the mountains (Brancot and San Simeone) and the Tagliamento River. In contrast with the Film Library in the town centre, the building containing the Archive is a translucent block of glass, concrete and steel that fits respectfully into the landscape: the building is designed to have zero environmental impact, beginning with use of energy from renewable sources.
This modern “house of film” is a jewel of advanced technology, containing a climate-controlled film storage facility with an adjacent laboratory for digital conversion of films of all kinds, from 35 mm to 16mm and even smaller formats. The Archive can hold up to fifty thousand films, under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. It is designed to contain the collections of the Film Library and the Region, as well as films from public and private archives that have no other place to preserve them for future generations. Properly stored films can last for more than 600 years.
Academics and experts on film from all over the world come to Gemona
The Film Archive is so technologically advanced that the facility immediately brought Gemona Film Library up to the standards of Italian and international film archives belonging to FIAF – the International Federation of Film Archives. And that’s not all. The Archive offers a service permitting appreciation of the regional film heritage for research, promotion and restoration, contributing countless projects and quality initiatives to the circuit. The Archive combines enhancement and promotion of the region's film heritage with preservation and safeguarding, because the archive works not only to preserve the region’s existing heritage but to add to it.