This documentary takes a close look to early Italian silent cinema and the production of its biggest worldwide success: Cabiria (1914). Two talented men: director Giovanni Pastrone, and director of photography, Segundo de Chomòn, join their forces in what results as the pioneer of the epic movie with spectacular special effects and revolutionary cinematographic techniques – like the use of a moving camera.
In June 1914, Cabiria became the first motion picture ever to be screened on the grounds of the White House. A restored version of Cabiria was screened at Cannes Film Festival in 2006, featured by Martin Scorsese, a notable spokesperson for Pastrone’s work as inventor and innovator in the history of cinema.
Cabiria was though only an appetizer for Pastrone and Chomòn, who both exhausted their artistic talent in numerous joint productions following Cabiria, creating immortal classics like the Maciste – one of the oldest recurring characters in cinema – and the archetype of many Rambo’s, Conan’s and Bud Spencer’s to come. Pastrone’s and Chomòn’s professional marriage was everything but easy, but the couple combined with the alchemy of talents like actress Pina Menichelli and actor Bartolomeo Pagano, managed to give a notable contribution to world cinema. It is especially Segundo de Chomòn’s technical skills as director of photography and responsable for special effects that continues to amaze the modern spectator. His work of art “The War and the Dream of Momi” (1917), one of the few contemporary films of World War I, and extensively documented in this documentary, brings in mind Toy Story from the beginning of the previous century.