Dante Ferretti: Designing for the Big Screen

Sep 25, 2013–Feb 9, 2014


Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. 2007. USA/Great Britain. Directed by Tim Burton

Constructing “a working space for narrative” is how production designer Ferretti describes his role in the collaborative process of filmmaking. A key characteristic of his approach, especially in his fruitful associations with Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, and Martin Scorsese, is his practice of conceiving, for each project, a single set piece intended to stimulate the director’s imagination and crystallize the visual style and character of the film. Indulging his preference for both dreamlike and historical subjects, and drawing on his knowledge of painting, sculpture, and poetry, Ferretti categorizes his designs as “period” (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom), “fantasy” (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), or “contemporary” (Todo Modo). Inspired by the grand-scale, operatic traditions of classical Italian cinema, Ferretti’s work is most effectively viewed as it was originally intended: on the big screen. Presented in conjunction with MoMA’s Dante Ferretti gallery exhibition, this 22-film retrospective demonstrates how the designer’s settings have served to guide directorial practice with signature distinction.

Over more than four decades of innovative, distinguished design work, Ferretti has received numerous awards, including three Academy Awards, three British BAFTAs, and several Italian David Di Donatello awards.

All screenings are presented in 35mm, unless otherwise noted.

The exhibition is presented by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in collaboration with Luce Cinecittà, Rome.

Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, and Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art; with Antonio Monda, author and professor, New York University; and Marina Sagona, artist.

The exhibition is supported by the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.

Prints and digital materials are provided courtesy of Criterion Pictures, The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, Gaumont, Janus Films, Luce Cinecittà, NBC-Universal, Park Circus, Martin Scorsese, Sony Pictures, Surf Film, Swank, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros.


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