Movie of the Week #19

(Nero; or The Fall of Rome)
(Luigi Maggi; 1909)

Produced by Turin's pioneering Film Ambrosio, Luigi Maggi's Nerone may not be as formally elaborate as the epics of Mario Caserini and Giovanni Pastrone . . . what is, in fact, extraordinary about Italian filmmaking in that period is how its scale vaulted in such a short amount of time; less than a decade . . . but it is a nascent example of the Italian film industry's preoccupation with Imperial Rome (in this case the Nero-Poppea saga), a model it would return to, far less artfully, several decades later with the endless Hercules/Ursus/Maciste/Atlas cycle.

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