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14 August1929
Roberto Brunacci
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi Quartet

The streets, squares, buildings and skyscrapers seen from the open roof of a running Fifth Avenue Coach Company bus, stopping every now and then. Enchantingly catapulted into Manhattan, we are there with Roberto Brunacci thanks to his 9.5 mm camera. We are in the heart of what would later rightly be called the Capital of the 20th century. Inside the Big Apple, inside these immersive images in the metropolis that writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, poets, financial wizards, criminals, travellers and migrants from all over the world dream of. Many of them already live it daily, others have 'only' seen it in the cinema. It is easy to understand why the film of Brunacci's voyage on a merchant ship that left Naples is composed only of sequences filmed strictly on board, on the outward journey and on the return, with a central corpus made up of this New York sequence, reproduced here in its entirety. It is 14 August 1929, the day of the premiere of the film Hollywood Review at the Astor Theatre. It is a few months before the Wall Street crash, the city is exciting and teeming. These images by Brunacci are therefore a tribute to all those who have lived, told and sung about this great capital, or simply loved it and been inspired by it without ever having set foot in it, because perhaps the images, sounds and words are enough to feel the heart of this city beating and to be able to say they have been there. ‘Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idol­ized it all out of proportion.’ Uh, no, make that: ‘He-he . . . romanticized it all out of proportion’. Yeah. ‘To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black-and-white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.’ Uh, no let me start this over. Chapter One: ‘He was too romantic about Manhattan as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic. To him, New York meant beautiful women and street-smart guys who seemed to know all the angles.’ Nah, corny, too corny for a man of my taste [...] Chapter One. ‘He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat.’ I love this. ‘New York was his town, and it always would be’.