The recording image

Written by  Paolo Micalizzi
A group of Ferrara film-makers between film and television
A number of film-makers from Ferrara have worked almost exclusively in television. These are people who trained in Ferrara during the 195 0s in the ranks of the Cineclub Fedic.
Renzo Ragazzi, born in 1929, began to make documentaries in 1953 in partnership with Renato Dall'Ara and Walter Santesso. His directing debut came in 1958 with the documentary 'Piccolo panorama', followed by 'Oggi c'è mercato ('Today is market day'), both with Massimo Sani. This was followed by 'I mustri' featuring local children, 'La Ferrara di Giorgio Bassani', 'Possessione Cantelli', made about a family of share croppers from the Ferrara countryside, and 'Chiamata a Scirocco' about the difficult hygiene conditions in the Po delta.
He was assistant director to Florestano Vancini on around 15 documentaries and for the feature films 'It happened in '43' and 'La banda Casaroli'. But in that role he also collaborated with Duccio Tessari, Sergio Corbucci, Luigi Scattini, Luigi Comencini, Antonio Pietrangeli, Dino Risi and others, before making the feature film 'First prize Irene' in 1969. From 1967 on, he worked for Italian television directing national and international documentaries and reports.
Historical investigations and reconstructions for television were the main interest of Massimo Sani. He too began in the cinema in Ferrara, where he was born in 1929, making documentaries through the Cineclub Fedic. The first was 'Incontro sul fiume' (1954), a simple and lyrical tale of two lovers who meet on the banks of the Po. He was also involved in other films made in Ferrara at this time, acting as assistant director to Alessandro Blasetti in 'Miracolo a Ferrara' about the Montecatini plant in the city. This collaboration opened the way to Rome, where he directed investigations for television news and the RAI's cultural programmes.
His works include 'Berlino al rogo' (1964), 'La giustizia tedesca di fronte al nazismo' (1965), 'Prigionieri: i soldati italiani nei campi di concentramento' (1987), 'Roma 1944: l'eccidio delle cave ardeatine' and others, all of a historical nature.
Sani earned the reputation of being one of the television journalists most interested in contemporary history.
Ezio Pecora, another director to emerge from the Cineclub Fedic Ferrara, also worked in television, mainly as a programme maker. Born in Pola in 1923, he moved to Ferrara for reasons of work. Seized by a passion for the cinema, he moved to Rome in 1959 to devote his time professionally to film and television. He directed a number of documentaries for the cinema, but most of his work was in broadcasting, where he produced and directed numbers of TV series and investigations. He had an enviable reputation for professionalism.
Fabio Pittorru and Massimo Felisatti were two more film makers who left Ferrara for Rome in 1966. Their work focused on adaptations and script writing for cinema and television. In Ferrara they had formed a group with Ragazzi, Sani, Pecora and others, and both collaborated on documentary subjects and adaptations produced by these friends. At one time they worked with Massimo Felisatti, writing successful serials such as the two television series or the scripts for Florestano Vancini's films, later working individually on other films.
During the 1950s Adolfo Baruffi, who made his film debut at the same time as Florestano Vancini, made a number of documentaries. Among his best-known works is the 1945 feature entitled 'La pianura', a neo-realist work.
Another Ferrara name in the industry could have become a director but instead went on to find fortune as a special effects wizard.
This was Carlo Rambaldi who directed the documentary 'Pescatori di storioni' (sturgeon fishers) in 1957. However, when he went to Rome for the final edit of the documentary he met a technician who he told how he had made artificial electromechanical sturgeon for the film. That led to an introduction to Giacomo Gentilomo who was making the film 'Sigfrido' at the time and who asked him to build dragon that was to be slain by the Wagnerian hero. Rambaldi's mechanical creation worked this opened the way to success in the field of special effects which brought him no fewer than three Oscars, for 'King Kong' (1977), 'Alien' (1980) and 'E.T.' (1983).