A young Tornatore at the Bernini Palace in Florence | Hotel Bernini Palace - Luxury 5 stars Hotel


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A young Tornatore at the Bernini Palace in Florence

A young Tornatore at the Bernini Palace in Florence


Fri, 06/18/2021 - 09:00

A wonderful view of the façade of our hotel

Art has always been at the forefront in Florence and the same is true of the so-called “seventh art”, film. There has always been a close link between the city and cinema. It was the birthplace, for example, of Franco Zeffirelli, who shot Tea with Mussolini here, using the likes of Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery as locations, and his museum, run by the Fondazione Zeffirelli, is in Piazza San Firenze, a short walk from the Bernini Palace. Roberto Rossellini set an episode of his black-and-white masterpiece Paisà here, and more recently the city has inspired directors such as Jane Champion (The Portrait of a Lady) and James Ivory (A Room with a View).
The Bernini Palace has always been a home from home for celebrities passing through Florence. Its long list of illustrious guests features, among others, directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Ferzan Ozpetek, Takeshi Kitano, Dario Argento and the Korean Bong Joon-ho, whose Parasite won the Oscar for Best Picture and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Ahead of the Oscar, a “stopover” in Florence at the Bernini 

In 1989 the film Nuovo Cinema Paradiso hit cinemas all over Italy. In Florence to promote the picture, director Giuseppe Tornatore stayed at the Bernini Palace, the five-star hotel that is a symbol of the city’s hospitality. The present manager David Foschi was already working in the hotel at the time – but as a night porter – and he still remembers meeting Tornatore. The sensation caused by his presence in the city intrigued the director himself, no longer a complete unknown but, in the eyes of the public, the new face of Italian cinema. Following a low-key premiere, his film failed to reap the success it deserved but subsequently won over audiences and was soon on everybody’s lips. Pleased that Tornatore had chosen his Hotel Bernini to stay at, the future manager decided to go to see the film. Partly thanks to Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack, he was enchanted. Later, Foschi wasn’t surprised to read in the press about the accolades Nuovo Cinema Paradiso had received worldwide: from the special jury Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival to the Foreign Press Association Golden Globe in Los Angeles and, above all, the Oscar for best foreign film.

Tornatore’s career: from Bagheria to the Oscars

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is a passionate declaration of love to cinema made through the eyes of a little boy growing up in the post-war years, the director’s alter ego. Born in Bagheria, in the province of Palermo, in 1956, when he was only ten, like the film’s young protagonist, Giuseppe Tornatore was already working as the assistant projectionist at the local cinema. After setting out directing documentaries about Sicily, he joined RAI and directed for television before moving on to cinema. After winning the Silver Ribbon award for The Professor (Il camorrista), he went on to make Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, which launched him as a director on the world stage. Since then, he has directed Marcello Mastroianni in Everybody’s Fine (Stanno tutti bene, 1990), A Pure Formality (Una pura formalità, 1994) with Gérard Depardieu and Roman Polanski, The Star Maker (L’uomo delle stelle, 1995) with Sergio Castellitto, and the Hollywood blockbuster The Legend of 900 (La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano, 1998) with Tim Roth. With Malèna (2000) he launched the acting career of Monica Bellucci. Over the last 20 years he has been less prolific but has nonetheless directed The Unknown Woman (La Sconosciuta, 2006), Baaria (2009), The Best Offer (La migliore offerta, 2013) and The Correspondence (La Corrispondenza, 2016).


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