Silent Film + Live Music
A Kind of Seeing presents Francesca Bertini, one of Italian cinema’s greatest (and often forgotten) ‘silent divas’ starring in the 1915 silent drama ASSUNTA SPINA. Touring on the big screen with live musical accompaniment performed by not-so-silent six-piece southern Italian folk band The Badwills. Alongside the feature film there’s dancing and films made by female filmmaking pioneers selected by Invisible Women.
ASSUNTA SPINA tells the dramatic story of our eponymous heroine: a beautiful laundress in 1910s Napoli torn between men who can’t control her passions.
The great Francesca Bertini stars as Assunta and has since been credited as the film’s co-director. Though Bertini was a powerful woman in the industry at the time, her films filled with strong female leads are now rarely seen.
This beautiful version was recently restored by Cineteca di Bologna with the original colour tinting.
1915 / Italy / 62 mins / Directors: Francesca Bertini, Gustavo Serena / Italian intertitles with English subtitles / Recommended Certificate 12+
The Badwills are an Edinburgh based Italian musical collective, performing a lively mix of tarantella, pizzica, tammuriata and Italian folk music, blended with sounds from the Scottish, Irish and English traditions. Performing to audiences around Scotland and Europe since 2010, their sound conjures nights of furious dancing as well as intimate gatherings of music and storytelling.
Complementing the film’s striking setting in busy Neapolitan streets, The Badwills’ brand new live score was originally commissioned by Glasgow Film Festival and A Kind of Seeing in 2018.
The band bring their unique energy to give Assunta a voice through lead vocalist Elena Zini and reflect the on-screen passion by drawing on folk music and songs of the era rooted deep in the band’s repertoire of traditional southern Italian dances such as the pizzica, tammuriata and tarantella.
The 2019 Tour: Where it played…
Silent Divas: Assunta Spina toured the UK uncovering the hidden histories of women.
Accompanying the feature was a new selection of short films programmed from British film heritage collections by archive activists, Invisible Women (aka Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger) who seek out and champion the work of female filmmakers who have been overlooked, un-credited or left out of the history of cinema. By drawing attention to these forgotten stories, Invisible Women aim to reinsert female voices into the story of film. Their programme specially commissioned for the Silent Divas tour was presented in Inverness, Dundee, Stromness and Newcastle.
This Invisible Women programming commission is supported by the BFI Film Audience Network as part of Changing Times: Women’s Histories
Silent Divas: ASSUNTA SPINA is supported by
Simone Caffari - Vocals/Guitar
Moreno Coco - Accordion
Alastair Cole - Double Bass
Tim Du Feu - Fiddle
Alessandro Parlato - Tambourine
Elena Zini - Vocals