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A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

Friday, November 16, 1979
9:00 p.m. The Kingdom of Naples (Il Regno Di Napoli)
Werner Schroeter (1978)

At its U.S. Premiere screening in the 1978 Los Angeles FILMEX, L.A. Times critic Kevin Thomas noted: “As demanding as it is awesome... a prodigious work of the imagination, expressing the unending misery and exploitation of Naples’ wretched poor, as exemplified by a brother and sister whom we see born and matured in the postwar decades. Schroeter’s style is as intensely operatic as ever, but here it becomes a way of illuminating profound social, political and moral concerns and of embracing a large and vivid spectrum of humanity. Truly unique, The Kingdom of Naples is impassioned, bemused, even at times hallucinatory. It’s the kind of bravura, exhausting, yet exhilarating movie that film festivals are all about.” Ranging from 1946 to 1976, The Kingdom of Naples narrates its story in 16 sequences, with a commentary filling in missing years. Ron Holloway has noted that Schroeter is “influenced by neo-realism and the Rossellini-Germi-Olmi personal portraits of individuals and families....
“Schroeter’s remarkable feel for atmosphere and docu realism stems from a long-term knowledge of the city and the people. He studied in Naples and has had a running acquaintance with events there over the past 15 years. Friends and acquaintances in Italy joined in the project, to such an extent that this could be called more an Italian film for Italians than a German one shot in Italy....”

• Written and Directed by Werner Schroeter. A Geissler Film Production, Munich, in association with ZDF, Mainz, and PBC, Rome. ZDF Production Executive, Christoph Holch. Photographed by Thomas Mauch. Edited by Schroeter and Ursula West. Music by Roberto Pregadio. Costumes by Alberte Barsacq. With Romeo Ciro, Antonio Orlando, Tiziana Ambretti, Maria Antonietta Riegel, Cristina Donadio, Dino Mele, Renata Zamengo, Liana Trouche, Laura Sodano, Raoul Gimenez, Margareth Clementi, Gerardo D’Andrea, Ida di Benedetto, Percy Hogan. (1978, 125 mins, 35mm, color, English titles, Print Courtesy of Munich Films)