Insights and curiosities

Ischia and cinema, the island protagonist of the international red carpet

Cinema mon amour. Ischia ditto. The big screen has always been at home here. A matter of elective affinities, the island has – after all – what is known as the “physique du rôle.”

Its beauty, the variety of landscapes, the atmospheres. Light, too. “My cinematographer, Shane Hurlbut, revealed to me that the light on the island is even warmer than in Los Angeles,” confessed Gabriele Muccino, who shot A casa tutti bene here rebuilding on the Aragonese Castle of Ischia the glimpses, irresistible, of a small imaginary island, the background of a great family crisis.
But for those who want to find out how much (and how) the island has been an open-air set, the list of films set here is long and fascinating. It is no coincidence that the term cine-tourism, which recounts the trend – increasingly in vogue – of being inspired by films for one’s travels, originated in these parts, thanks to an intuition of Michelangelo Messina, founder and creator of theIschia Film Festival.

Ischia Film Festival

Ischia Film Festival

By the way, the Ischia Film Festival is celebrating its 22nd edition this year: an appointment from June 29 to July 6, right at the Castello, which becomes an open-air multiplex cinema under the stars. Previews, great guests and exhibitions-an event not to be missed.

If you want to stay updated on all the events of theIschia Film Festival follow the updates in the events section.

Bunting bean, heritage of Ischia's biodiversity

Ischia and cinema, then: in the beginning was The Black Corsair, it was 1936, the novel by Emilio Salgari inspired a film by Hamlet Palermi, the island was actually being told about as a Caribbean paradise. Film of yesteryear, the pirate theme would later return – in all its charm – in the 1950s, with The Green Island Corsair, starring Burt Lancaster, a star ante litteram, spectacular scenes in Cartaromana Bay. Vast anecdotal evidence accompanies the memory of the filming, which involved many islanders. Among them, Aniello From Scala, stand-in for the protagonist: the experience earned him 500 liras for each dip in the sea and a nickname, “Dai tu,” later translated to the family restaurant, still open today.


Ischia in international cinema

But if there is one film that, more than any other, has projected Ischia into the international imagination, it is undoubtedly Cleopatra, Joseph Mankiwwicz ‘s 1963 kolossal, four Oscars and an unprecedented economic outlay. On the set, which particularly embraced Ischia Ponte and the Maronti, a liaison was born between the legendary Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

After all, one cannot recount the connection between Ischia and cinema without being fascinated by the legends and stories that lurk behind each production. Nor is it possible, today, to walk through the village of Ischia Ponte without looking for the corners de The Talented Mr. Ripley. It is 1999, and the cast is definitely stellar: Matt Damon and Jude LawGwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett, directed by Anthony Minghella. Set locations include Palazzo Malcovati, among the oldest buildings in the village.
The film is a remake of Murder in broad daylight, released in 1960, directed by René Clément, cast. Alain Delon. Again, Ischitan setting.

Understanding the potential of the island on the big screen, however, had been Angelo Rizzoli: film publisher and producer, a key player in the magnificent 1960s that brought here, among other things, productions of such films as Appointment in Ischia by Mario Mattioli (with Domenico Modugno, Franco and Ciccio and Pippo Franco) and VittorioSala ‘s Ischia operazione amore (in the cast, Walter Chiari and Tony Renis).

Instead, another unforgettable film is from 1973: Avanti! by Billy Wilder, with Jack Lemmon: legendary is his Vespa ride on the square of the Soccorso church, in Forio.
Decidedly more recent are the successes of Il paradiso all’improvviso, Leonardo Pieraccioni ‘s 2003 film (among the locations the Guevara Tower and Negombo, unforgettable the scene with the ‘ndrezzata, the ritual chant typical of Buonopane) and the series I delitti del cuoco, with Bud Spencer.

The Brilliant Friend

And along with the aforementioned A casa tutti bene by GabrieleMuccino (cast including Pierfrancesco Favini, Claudia Gerini and Stefania Sandrelli, among others), enhancing the island’s appeal-in an evocative 1950s version of it-was the Rai and Hbo series L’Amica Geniale, inspired by Elena Ferrante‘s novels: the images, which have gone around the world, enhance the village of Ischia Ponte and the Aragonese pier, where the steamer with Lenù arrives, and glimpses around the island, from Barano d’Ischia to Lacco Ameno.

The Brilliant Friend

But Ischia is not only the perfect set for films and TV series: it is also a privileged buen ritiro for filmmakers and actors. Since the time of Luchino Visconti, who lived here for a long time at the villa La Colombaia. And still today, accomplices of the spotlight of the two major events that color the summer, the Ischia Film Festival and the Global Film & Music Fest, the island becomes a crossroads for Hollywood stars and others, from Oliver Stone a Jeremy Irons, by Nicolas Cage to Helen Mirren, a long theory of big names unfailingly fascinated by the places and atmospheres of the island.
And of one thing we are certain: this is not over.

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