A remarkable feature film giving a unique look at the 20th century world has been put together from amateur footage shot by an Italian travel agent.
The commentary for ‘Around the World in 80 Years’ comes from surviving travellers who accompanied Adelmo Salvadori on adventures from the 1920s to the 1980s.
It was his daughter Gabriella who discovered the archive by chance in Bologna, 13 hours of moving pictures recording a world on celluloid from a tourist’s point of view.
Director Alessandro Bettero said: “To look at thousands of metres of film that cover virtually the whole of the 20th century is like travelling in a time-machine. But this isn’t science fiction. Everything here is truly real, even if that world doesn’t exist any more. But you have the impression that these places and these people continue to live. That’s the magic of ‘Around the World in 80 Years’.
Adelmo Salvadori travelled the world filming at a time when few people had movie cameras.
From Venice to Vietnam, Africa to America, he often risked his life to capture scenes few other outsiders would see. He kept his work a secret, hiding the reels at his family home. The producers of the feature have not restored nor manipulated the images in any way.
Bettero added: “It’s incredible that at a time when cameras were not very widespread, a man like Adelmo Salvadori toured the world to visit distant and often pretty much inaccessible places to film without any particular goal. It’s incredible that he edited the footage in secret, and then hid it until the day his daughter discovered them by chance in a cellar. It seems like the plot of a spy-story, but this is reality.”
‘Around the World in 80 Years’ is to premiere in mid June at Italy’s Biografilm Festival in Bologna.
It is the first international event devoted entirely to biographies and life stories.
The aim of the festival is to seek out and show life experiences big and small that influenced and shaped world history.