“Romeo and Juliet”, the love story par excellence in the imagination of us all, is the theme of the new exhibition, “Romeo and Juliet. An Oscar-Winning Love”, staged by the Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation and curated by Alessandro Schiavetti.
Shakespeare’s masterpiece was masterfully adapted for film by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968. His Romeo and Juliet is still the most beautiful and closest version to the original text. It won many prizes, including the Academy Awardsfor Best Costume Design and Best Cinematography and was nominated for Best Director and Best Picture.
The exhibition will cover the stages of this romantic and tragic love story through the display of over 25 award-winning original costumes worn by the actors during filming.
The clothes, conceived by Italian costume designer Danilo Donati, are masterpieces of design and dressmaking. During his rich, prolific career, Donati worked with the greatest figures of Italian filmmaking, including Mario Monicelli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roberto Faenza and Roberto Benigni. His talent was recognized not only in 1968 but also in 1977 when he received his second Academy Award for Costume Design in Fellini’s Casanova.
All the costumes on show are lent by the Cerratelli Foundation, whose honorary president is Franco Zeffirelli himself. The foundation possesses an invaluable stock of over 25,000 theatrical and film costumes, now kept at Villa Roncioni in San Giuliano Terme (Pisa).
The costumes of the protagonists, played by the then very young Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, their parents and court nobles will take the visitor through the different phases of the famous love story, from falling in love to the tragic ending, including hints at the life of the two young lovers, their youthful carefree attitude, the love that overwhelms the soul of man and the fierce struggle between two opposing drives: Eros and Thanatos.
The story revolves around a passionate, absolute love that encompasses both the emotional and sensual spheres, and ultimately causes the tragic death of the protagonists who cannot give up each other. It is the pure, total, perfect love between two people who fell in love because it had to be that way. “[…] Thou art thyself, though not a Montague […] That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, / Retain that dear perfection which he owes / Without that title”. When it comes to love, the only thing that matters is our soul, not who we are or what we represent.
The exhibition will also include a few relics and images from the film Romeo and Juliet by director Franco Zeffirelli, who is world famous not only for his movies (The Taming of the Shrew; Brother Sun, Sister Moon; Sparrow; Jane Eyre;Tea with Mussolini; Callas Forever to mention a few), but also for his many theatre productions and prestigious prizes.
The exhibition “Romeo and Juliet. An Oscar-Winning Love” will start on Saturday 7 December 2013 at the Foundation’s Exhibition Hall, Piazza Guerrazzi 32, Cecina, and will be open daily, from 4 to 8 p.m., until Sunday 2 February 2014. Admission is free.
Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation, Exhibition Hall
Piazza Guerrazzi, 32 - 57023 Cecina (LI)
Open daily from 4 to 8 p.m. Free admission