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15 February1961
The Eclipse
Famiglia Prinetti
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

A total solar eclipse is an epoch-making event, which is why those who experienced it still remember the morning of 15 February 1961. At 8.30 a.m. on that Wednesday, everyone stopped to wait for an announced phenomenon, which by then no longer provoked fears of the end of the world, but rather feverish curiosity and perhaps just the disquiet that the disruption of the natural order always causes. But with the sudden darkness, the hens simply go back to sleep, so say those who live in the countryside. This epoch-making phenomenon lasts less than three minutes, if you film it from start to finish it all fits in the magazine of an amateur film. In fact, among the many who raise their eyes to the sky, wearing welding goggles or smoked glass so as not to blind themselves, there are also many amateur filmmakers. The 1961 eclipse is a filmed event and the Tuscan Apennines a privileged place of observation. It is no coincidence that Gianfranco Prinetti Castelletti chooses a high ground on the Mugello, and he is in good company judging by the number of people and cars that flocked there that we see in his 16mm film. The amateur filmmaker does not use the few minutes at his disposal only for the event itself, which after all is the same for everyone and a few seconds of footage is enough, but for the frame: the place, the emotions and the moment shared with others. In that same instant and not far away, again in Tuscany, director Richard Fleischer films the eclipse against the backdrop of the scene of the crucifixion of Christ, while shortly afterwards it will be another director, Michelangelo Antonioni, who will represent the eclipse as a symbol of the contemporary malaise of that 1961 Italy.