Gina Lollobrigida Musical Shorts Unearthed by Cineteca di Bologna Archives Capture Italian Icons Early Career Moves – Watch (EXCLUSIVE)

Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna film archives have unearthed a small treasure trove of shorts documenting the early career of late icon Gina Lollobrigida, who was hailed as a major European sex symbol of the post-World War II era.

The prominent archives, known globally as a prime film preservation entity, have found and restored three vintage clips dated between 1947 and 1948 in which Lollobrigida – who died at 95 in January – sings Italian folk songs billed under the name Diana Lori.

Described by the archives as precursors to MTV-style music videos, the shorts were directed by Pietro Francisci, later known for hit swords-and-sandals titles such as 1958’s “Hercules” starring Steve Reeves as its titular hero. In the shorts Lollobrigida appears to sing (she may have been dubbed) Italian folk songs “O sole mio!”; “Na sera ‘e maggio”; and “Stornellata Romana.”

Lollobrigida, which is her real name, was born on July 4, 1927, in Subiaco, Italy, east of Rome. In her teens she studied art and appeared in Italian so-called “photo-novel” magazines under the name Diana Loris. She also participated in beauty pageants before landing minor roles in movies starting in 1946. By 1949 Lollobrigida had already obtained star billing in “La Sposa Non Può Attendere” (“The Bride Can’t Wait”), directed by Gianni Franciolini and Virgilio Sabel.

The music-video-like shorts directed by Francisci were found in his home’s basement by his son Paolo Francisci who in a statement called them a “distillation of simple splendor” with a bare-bones narrative frame that allows the title song “to unfold its full romantic potential.”

In the above clip of “Stornellata Romana,” which can be translated as “Roman Folk Song,” the character played by Lollobrigida is idyllically doing washing by the Tiber when her fisherman partner returns with an empty vessel, not having caught any fish. Together they decide to re-embark and try their luck in another spot.

The three Lollobrigida shorts will be unveiled on July 1 during the Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival, which is organized by the archives and dedicated to cinematic treasures of the past. The event has long seen heritage film lovers and distributors flock to the city of Bologna in summer. This year’s guests include Ruben Östlund, Wim Wenders and Luca Guadagnino.

The restored gems will also be included in a major photo exhibition titled “I mondi di Gina” (“Gina’s Worlds”) featuring images from the archives of Rome’s national entities Luce-Cinecittà and Centro Sperimentale. There are currently undefined international travel plans for the exhibit.

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