Once upon a time, Sergio Leone.

Mostra Sergio Leone
17/12/2019 - 20/09/2020
Museo dell'Ara Pacis

Sergio Leone made the movie tale of myths legendary such as the West or America. After more than half a century he too has become a myth, that is why the exhibition title is "Once upon a time, Sergio Leone", paraphrasing the titles of his famous films. Extended until September 20th.

Once upon a time, Sergio Leone is the evocative title of the great exhibition at Ara Pacis Museum. Rome celebrates with it one of the absolute legends of Italian cinema, 30 years after his death and 90 since his birth.

Promoted by the Department of Cultural Growth of Rome Capital - Capitoline Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, the exhibition arrives in Italy after last year's success at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, co-producing institution of the Roman exhibition together with the Cineteca di Bologna Foundation.

The exhibition is realized thanks to the contribution of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism, in collaboration with Istituto Luce - Cinecittà, Ministère de la culture (France), CNC - Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée, SIAE and thanks to Rai Teche, Leone Film Group, Unidis Jolly Film, Unione Sanitaria Internazionale, Romana Gruppi Elettrogeni Cinematografici. Digital Imaging Partner: Canon. Technical sponsors: Italiana Assicurazioni, Hotel Eden Roma, Bonaveri. The idea is of Equa of Camilla Morabito and the organisational support of Zètema Progetto Cultura.

The exhibition itinerary - curated by the director of the Cineteca di Bologna, Gian Luca Farinelli, in collaboration with Rosaria Gioia and Antonio Bigini – tells the story of  Sergio Leone's boundless universe, rooted in his family tradition: his father was a director in the golden age of Italian silent films with the pseudonym Roberto Roberti, and in his honour Sergio signs A fistful of dollars with the English-speaking pseudonym of Bob Robertson.

In his intense artistic journey, Sergio Leone crosses the peplum, (a historical-mythological film genre), completely changes the western and reaches the peak with Once upon a time in America. This should be followed by another successful film dedicated to the battle of Leningrad. Unfortunately, Leone left only a few written pages of this film before his death, he did not like writing. Rather, he was an oral narrator who developed his films by telling them to his friends, screenwriters and producers, almost like the ancient poets who created the Homeric epics. Nevertheless, his creative legacy is enormous, the significance of which we've just begun to understand today. His films are a “Bible" which film students from all over the world watch to study the language of cinema, while many contemporary directors, such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, George Lucas, John Woo, Clint Eastwood and Ang Lee continue to be inspired by his films.

Naturally, Sergio Leone's films are  also filled with the love for the classics such as the films of the western giants like John Ford and Anthony Mann that are also displayed in the exhibition. They reveal a taste for architecture and figurative art found in the construction of the sets and the shots; going  from the long shots of the metaphysical landscapes suggested by De Chirico, to the explicit quotation of Love by Robert Indiana, an extraordinary symbol of an unequivocal leap in a new era in Once upon a time in America. According to Leone, cinema is a fairy tale. However, the desire to tell the myths (the West, the Revolution, America) using the memory of cinema and the freedom of the fairy tale always comes into conflict with his Italian culture which knew the war and went through the Neorealist season. Starting from For a Few Dollars More, Leone can afford to indulge his fascination for the past and his documentary obsession for myths, taking care of every little detail. Explaining why, to function, a cinematographic fairy tale must convince viewers that what they see is really happening.

Thanks to the precious archive  material of the Leone family and Unidis Jolly Film, visitors will enter Sergio's studio, where the ideas for his cinema were born, with his memorabilia and his library. They immerse themselves in his films through models, sets, sketches, costumes, props, unforgettable sequences and a constellation of Angelo Novi's magnificent photographs, a master of the set who followed all of Sergio Leone's work starting from Once upon a time in the West.

Following these tracks, the exhibition Once upon a time Sergio Leone will, therefore, be divided into different sections: Citizen of the cinema, The sources of the imaginary, Leone workshop, Once upon a time in America, and Leningrad and beyond, dedicated to the latest unfinished project: The Leone legacy. The book La rivoluzione Sergio Leone, edited by Christopher Frayling and Gian Luca Farinelli, will also be published by the Cineteca editions of Bologna.


Museo dell'Ara Pacis
Opening hours

From December 17, 2019 to May 3, 2020 - EXTENDED to September 20, 2020
Every day from 9.30 to 19.30
1 January: 14.00 - 20.00
24 and 31 December: 9.30 - 14.00
Last admission one hour before closing time.
Closed: 25 December and 1 May 

Before planning the visit, CONSULT THE NOTICES

Entrance ticket

Tel. +39 060608 (daily from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm)

Promoted by Roma Capitale - Assessorato alla Crescita culturale - Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali, Cineteca di Bologna

Curated by Gian Luca Farinelli in collaboration with Rosaria Gioia e Antonio Bigini

Organization by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna; Cinémathèque Française

Ideation Equa di Camilla Morabito; GStrategy

Organizational support  Zètema Progetto cultura

With the contribution of
Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali e per il Turismo, Direzione Generale Cinema e Audiovisivo

In partnership with Istituto Luce - Cinecittà; SIAE

Technical sponsor
Italiana Assicurazioni
Hotel Eden Roma

Thanks to
Rai Teche
Leone Film Group
Unidis Jolly Film
U.S.I. Unione Sanitaria Internazionale
Romana Gruppi Elettrogeni Cinematografici

Digital Imaging Partner Canon

With the technical contribution of  Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane



Press Room

Data conferenza
16/12/2019 - 11:00
Auditorium del museo dell'Ara Pacis

Eventi correlati

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