Rapsodia Satanica

Dir: Nino Oxilia



55 mins


Italian playwright and filmmaker Nino Oxilia’s masterpiece (his penultimate feature, before his tragic death in 1917 in WWI) is presented on screen in a new 4K digital edition produced from a tinted, toned and hand-painted original print, thanks to the painstaking restoration by Cineteca di Bologna and the Cinémathèque Suisse.

A heady supernatural romance, it stars a vampish Lydia Borelli – one of the era’s favourite silent film actresses – as Contessa Alba d’Oltrevita. At the start of the film she’s an elderly woman, envious of the youth and beauty around her, and when she’s presented with an opportunity to be restored to her former self, she’s easily persuaded – but it’s clear she’s entering into a Faustian pact.

Utterly ravishing – restored in bright colour and soundtracked by Pietro Mascagni’s reconstituted original score (the Italian composer’s only music for film), Rapsodia Satanica fulfils the promise of early cinema as aesthetic spectacle, creating an unforgettable, dream-like world of sumptuous melodrama.

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