A concentric intertwining of female perspectives is the subject of this essay, which describes the discovery, preservation, and reuse of the amateur film and video collection belonging to the Togni circus family. The article chronicles a decadelong adventure that led from the discovery of this amateur film collection to the making of Circle (2016), a found footage film recently completed by Valentina Monti. The film is the result of complicated research that involved a composite group of archivists and filmmakers, including many women. Most of the materials reused in the film were originally shot by three women, Christiane Bottinelli, Liliana Casartelli, and Fiorenza Colombo (wives of the Togni brothers), from the 1940s on. Their filmed memories are extraordinary micro-historical documents that grant access to the experiences of women in the highly patriarchal world of the traditional circus.
Circle: A Multifaceted Archive and the Genesis of a Film
Paolo Simoni holds a PhD in cultural heritage from the Politecnico of Turin, and is a founding member and director of the Italian Home Movies and Amateur Film Archive (Home Movies Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia) in Bologna. His interests span both academic research and artistic productions. A research fellow at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, he is the author of several articles and essays on amateur cinema, focusing primarily on the relation between audiovisual sources, personal stories, and history, and on the reuse and recontextualization of archival images. As an author, curator, and producer, he has realized numerous audiovisual archive-based projects.
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Paolo Simoni; Circle: A Multifaceted Archive and the Genesis of a Film. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2016; 2 (3): 102–118. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2016.2.3.102
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