Practically since the birth of the cinema, Ostia is the ideal set for the most important directors of our history and not only. In fact, over 130 films offer, at times, even just one scene set in Ostiensian locations, as documented by the book “Ostia set natural” (the book, 2014).
A city characterized by a thousand facets and settings, the proximity to Cinecittà, make the external scenes of Roman productions in Ostia economical and practical: here Directors such as Risi, Scola, Blasetti, Lattuada, Girolami, Comencini, Steno (Stefano Vanzina), Bolognini, Pietrangel, Nanni Moretti and Woody Allen exercised their abilities.
So it is not so easy to identify five movies not to be missed in order to understand the history and the reality of the seaside town. We have selected five that represent respectable social and artistic moments.
(1949, Director: Luciano Emmer).
It’s what the trailer of the time advertised as “a real life movie”, looking at the style of neo-realism. In fact, this film, which tells Rome on Sunday 7 August, was shot with almost unknown and debut actors.
Among these also Marcello Mastroianni, in the role of a policeman, voiced by Alberto Sordi.
The scenes that relate to the seaside life frame different areas of Ostia: the Rome-Lido railway, the former Gil, the seaside resorts Lido, Vecchia Pineta and Ondina, the free beach of Castelporziano. A post-war fresco full of optimism and desire for reconstruction.
(1953, Director: Federico Fellini).
It is the first movie that put the Romagna director under the spotlight, shooting his hometown Rimini, between Ostia and some corners of Viterbo. The slightly melancholic scenarios of a group of young people who are non-occupied and therefore marginalized are still easily recognizable.
The view on the sea is that of the Kursaal beach resort (identifiable from the K-shaped diving board) and of the “Lega Navale” yacht club. One of the iconic scenes of the film was shot at the then “Bar Moretti” in via Lucio Coilio, while other shots regard the Cristoforo Colombo roundabout.
Caccia al marito
(1960, Director: Marino Girolami).
The director, famous for the seaside film genre of the Sixties, sets several of his films in Ostia. This “Hunt for her husband” is the narration of the holidays in the era of the economic boom: three shop assistant from a Department stores choose Ostia (which is not mentioned, rather it is referred to as the location of Viareggio).
The shots show still recognizable glimpses: the Enalc Hotel (now University of the Sea Engineering), the Kursaal and Sporting Beach beach resort, the Fishermen’s Canal, the Town Hall.
(1993, Director Nanni Moretti).
Ostia is the subject in one of the episodes of this film. The director-actor travels on his Vespa the road from Casal Palocco to Ostia, to reach the Idroscalo and the stele dedicated to the memory of Pier Paolo Pasolini murdered there on November 5th 1975. They are the places of “8 and a half “(Fellini, 1963), but also of” I monsters “(Risi, 1963) and of” Brutti, dirty and bad “(Scola, 1976).
It is no coincidence that a sensitive and evocative director like Nanni Moretti decides to set a showcase in Ostia that is a tribute to the Seventh art and, at the same time, a complaint against a part of the city that at the time was asking to be redeveloped . And, in fact, in 2000, the tourist port and the Lipu wildlife oasis will arrive in that space.
To Rome with love
(2011, Director Woody Allen).
One of the most famous directors in the world, in making a tribute to Rome and its eternity, both in the monuments and in the customs of the inhabitants, has not failed to remember that the capital has a neighborhood overlooking the sea.
Thus set on the beach of Ostia and, more precisely, in the beach resort of La Vecchia Pineta, a scene featuring four international actors: Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg and Greta Gerwing.
Filming frames the quartet sitting at a table on the beach and engaging in a lovely conversation about the sunset that ignites the sky.
Among this list of movies images, that may well represent Ostia and its spirit, two iconic moments cannot be missed.
One is a clip of the rock band U2, the other a commercial shot from two Academy Awards: Francis Ford Coppola and Vittorio Storaro.
The music clip is the one of the song “All I Want Is You”: the video, directed by Meiert Avis, was shot on April 18th 1989. The scenes were shot on the beach of Capocotta (the part related to the circus) and in the village of Ostia Antica (the funeral and the purchase of the ring), close to the Castle of Julius II. The video is a tribute to Federico Fellini, who at that time was directing his latest film, “La voce della luna”, not far away, at the Meccanica Romana.
Another tribute to Fellini is the commercial shot in March 1997 by director Francis Ford Coppola (four Academy Awards), with the photography of Vittorio Storaro (three Academy Awards).
The Illy coffee is advertised and the story is that of Lo Sceicco Bianco. The part of Alberto Sordi is interpreted by Massimo Ghini and one of the interpreters of the 1952 film, Leopoldo Trieste, also takes part in the commercial.
Also worthy of mention is the short which on July 4, 2013 brought Sofia Loren in front of a camera: “The human voice”, text by Cocteau translated by Erri De Luca, shot by Sofia’s son, Edoardo Ponti. The longest scene in the video is set in the “La Vecchia Pineta” establishment.