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The doom of oblivion

To organize a retrospective international cooperation is recommendable, because you need prints and some attention among your peers. Furthermore, you need financial support and you need an audience. The retrospective of Valerio Zurlini in The Netherlands, held in april 2006 was exemplary in all aspects.

In the Netherlands were only three films of Valerio Zurlini released:

  • La Ragazza con la Valiglia (1961, Dutch release in 1963, the title was changed into “Onrijpe liefde” ),
  • La prima notte di quiete (1972)
  • Il Deserto dei Tartari (1976, Dutch release in 1978, by the company City Film). See the review by Hosman, Harry, ‘Woestijn der Tartaren. Het eindeloze wachten op de vijand die niet komt’, in: Skoop, jrg 14, nr 2 (maart 1978) pp 37-39.

After 1978 the fame of Zurlini (1926-1982) shrunk to the limit of almost oblivion. But then, his international triumphant come back started in 2000 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, where some of his films were shown in a program titled ‘A Quiet Storm: The Cinema of Valerio Zurlini’.

The Dutch retrospective of april 2006 was named “De vergeten films van Valerio Zurlini”, and was organised by Filmhuis Den Haag in cooperation with the Cinecittà Holding (Rome) and Instituo Italiano di Cultura per i Paesi Bassi. Eight films were shown in five film-theatres (Filmhuis Den Haag, Lantaren/Venster Rotterdam, Filmmuseum Amsterdam, ’t Hoogt Utrecht, Plaza Futura Eindhoven). The retrospective was supported by the Dutch Film Fund, het VSB-fonds, Gemeente Den Haag and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds. This retrospective was inspired by the presentation in 2004 at the festival of Edinburgh of the complete oeuvre of Zurlini.

  • Blokker, Bas, ‘Bijbelse schoonheid, magnifieke gratie, rijpheid’, in: NRC/Handelsblad5 april 2006.
  • Daams, Erik (red), De vergeten films van Valerio Zurlini, Den Haag: Filmhuis Den Haag, 2006.
  • Daams, Erik (red), ‘Uitgelicht: De vergeten films van Valerio Zurlini’, in: Programma magazine Filmhuis Den Haag, april 2006, p.4.
  • Graaf, Belinda van de, ‘Valerio Zurlini. Knappe melancholicus’, in: De Filmkrant276 (april 2006) p 36.
  • Ruyters, Jann, ‘De lijdende mannen van Zurlini’, in: Trouw 6 april 2006.
  • Waardenburg, André, Vergeten films over voorbijgaan, in: Skrien(april 2006) p. 14-15

Since 2006, some of the films of Valerio Zurlini were released on dvd, but none of them were shown on the big screen again in the Netherlands. This is sad, but it is also typical.

And to finish with a lament: there are so many forgotten films out there, for instance the films of other Italian directors like Elio Petri (1929-1982) and  Francesco Rosi (1922 -2015).