? (FR 1909)

In the shadows under the trees, near a dry creekbed, a herd of sheep is grazing. We can almost feel the laziness of the afternoon heat, and hear the buzzing of the cicadas. In the background we see an as-yet unidentified town in the vicinity of Tivoli. Next, a woman strolls around the ruins of the famous Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa), enjoying the surroundings, and every now and then consults what must be a guidebook. She stops to talk to a man who points at the ruins. She is clearly a tourist visiting the historic site.
This travelogue aims to give the viewer a glimpse of everyday rural life around Tivoli, among the Sabine Hills. Women carry big bundles of firewood on their heads; a man is selling his harvest by the side of the stone-paved road; at the town gate we see farmers on donkey carts. The female tourist sits down on the grass in the shadows under the old olive trees. Horses pick their way down a slope, and the herd of sheep is still grazing nearby. Truly a rural idyll….
This unidentified original footage was probably produced by Pathé around 1909. At the time of the film, the advanced technique of stencil colouring was not performed in Norway. The film was brought to Norway by the filmmaker Hans Berge, who distributed a large number of short foreign films in Norway via his company Framfilm. (We still don’t know the film’s original title, nor when it was shown in Norway.) Its original intertitles were replaced to describe the scenes to the Norwegian audience, who would have had little if any knowledge of the ancient ruins of the Villa Adriana. Hard rural labour, on the other hand, would have been familiar to Norwegian viewers.
About the DCP: The source, an original stencil-coloured nitrate print, was digitized in 2018.

Tina Anckarman

regia/dir: ?.
photog: ?
prod: Pathé-Frères?
riprese/filmed: 1909.
dist (Norway): ? (Hans Berge, Framfilm).
copia/copy: DCP, 3’01” (da/from 35mm, 18 fps, pochoir/stencil-colour); did./titles: NOR.
fonte/source: Nasjonalbiblioteket, Oslo/Mo i Rana.