One of those infinitely recursive loops that occur in buggy computer programs has been taking place in Rome.
Take the piazza of one OLD Roman neighborhood, as in likely developed around the time that Romulus or one of his pals ran a bridge tras (across) -tevere (the Tiber). In any case, a neighborhood old enough that the last time it was re-developed was in the Middle Ages.
Add about 200 plastic chairs to said piazza (include piazza benches, and people from their windows), a big screen, and a projector.
Project old movies set in Rome on said screen every few nights, no particular schedule.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
There’s been much talk in the neighborhood… “Da quanto tempo non vedevo quei vecchi film” (it’s been so long since I’ve seen those old films), and “Che bello rivede’ Roma com’era ‘na vorta” (it’s been so nice seeing Rome like it used to be).
There’s a definite “good old days” component to the appreciation. I suppose Rome (which is just as much a lead in the movies as are Mastroianni, Gassman, et al.) has changed quite a bit since the 50’s and 60s, when neo-realism depicted post-war Italy and the change it was going through. No denying the change since then.
That said, I’m guessing that at the same time, in typical Italian Gattopardo fashion, Rome has been continuously changing for 3,000 years and thus in some ways hasn’t changed at all… the desire/pleasure derived from reminiscing about “i bei tempi” and “Roma de ‘na vorta” (the good old days, and the once was Rome) definitely one such constant.
Photos in today’s note are of the screening a few evenings ago of Fantasmi a Roma (Ghosts of Rome, 1961, by Pietrangeli, great movie). So what you get today is a Roman, writing about Romans watching an old movie about Rome, projected in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Rome, set in an old Rome inhabited by the ghosts (Mastroianni and co.) of even older Romans…
What they put up in the piazza is not a screen, but a mirror. Rome watching itself, basically. Recursion indeed, yet a heartening one at that.