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October 14, 2012

Cinema in Style

Text by Shirin Mehta.

The Florentine House, Gucci, goes beyond fashion, to promote a lifestyle replete with enduring style through the restoration of groundbreaking films and the institution of an award for excellence by women in the world of film to celebrate the unique contributions that women make to the film industry in a wide range of capacities

There is no escaping the eternal connect between fashion and films. One draws from the other and this is something that Florentine House Gucci understands completely. The House’s relationship with cinema dates back to the 1940s and in the last seven years the company has centred its commitment toward preserving the art of films through its work with Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation for the restoration of groundbreaking and influential films. Gucci has donated over two million US dollars to The Film Foundation towards the restoration of seven historic film titles. The eighth and most recent project has been the restoration of The Mattei Affair (Il Caso Mattei, 1972, director Francesco Rosi). The film had its world restoration premiere this year in Venice at the Venice International Film Festival’s awarding of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Rosi. The restoration was funded by Gucci, Eni and The Film Foundation.

Last year, Gucci joined forces with the Venice International Film Festival to spotlight and acclaim the unique contributions that women make to the film industry in a wide range of capacities. In 2011, the inaugural Gucci Award for Women in Cinema was presented to Jessica Chastain for her acting work in The Tree of Life. This year, at an exclusive dinner during the 69th Venice International Film Festival, on the same day that Il Caso Mattei (a brilliant political thriller based on actual people and events) was premiered in its restored version, the award was presented to Thelma Schoonmaker in recognition of her work as the editor of Hugo. The award was presented by Salma Hayek-Pinault, resplendent in Gucci.

A jury led by Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini, selected the final recipient from the five contenders. In honour of this occasion Gucci made a grant of 25,000 US dollars to the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the name of the award recipient, as it had done the year before. Giannini said, “The world of cinema is inextricably linked with Gucci’s history. We are proud to join forces with the Venice International Film Festival to celebrate five women from today’s film industry with the Gucci Award for Women in Cinema and to honour Francesco Rosi by screening the restored version of his masterpiece Il Caso Mattei. This year is particularly meaningful as we recognise not only contemporary pioneers in filmmaking but also the career of Rosi and his impact on socially-committed Italian cinema.”

The Venice Film Festival director, Alberto Barbera, who led the Advisory Committee which selected the nominees for the Women in Cinema award, from a range of disciplines including director, actor, producer, cinematography, screenwriter, editor and costume designer, had this to say, “Gucci represents an exemplary model of support towards the film industry. The creation of the Gucci Award for Women in Cinema is a symbol of great sensibility that highlights the growing role of female creativity in the cultural arena….”

Through its multi-year partnership with The Film Foundation, Gucci celebrates its own 91-year history which has been strongly influenced by cinema. Under the banner Cinema Visionaire, Gucci and The Film Foundation have made possible the restoration of a collection of films – A Woman Under the Influence (1974, director John Cassavetes), Le Amiche (1955 director Michelangelo Antonioni), Wanda (1970, director Barbara Loden), Senso (1954, director Luchino Visconti), Il Gattopardo (1963, director Luchino Visconti), La Dolce Vita (1960, director Federico Fellini), support for the restoration of We Can’t Go Home Again (1976, director Nicholas Ray), Once Upon a Time in America (1984, director Sergio Leone) and Il Caso Mattei (1972, director Francesco Rosi). These restored titles have been screened at select international film festivals and museums around the world. Gucci also provides finishing grants to feature-length documentary projects by way of its signature Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund and the Tribeca Film Institute in New York. Besides, La Biennale di Venezia recently announced the launch of Biennale College – Cinema, an advanced workshop for training, research and experimentation for the development and production of micro-budget audio-visual works, open to emerging directors and producers from around the world, in partnership with Gucci.

Through its exemplary restoration work and projects for the promotion of the art of cinema, Gucci has made available to the younger generation, a body of work that would have been lost forever. That, we say, is indeed a seriously stylish statement to make!

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