Our series of silent movies, in collaboration with the Film Programs of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, continues with a screening of Ma L’Amore Mio Non Muore (Love Everlasting), the classic 1913 film by Mario Caserini, restored in its full glory by the Cineteca di Bologna.
Dealing with a story of espionage and love, Ma L’Amore Mio Non Muore starring Lyda Borelli, the iconic actress at the apex of her theatrical career, is considered the first “diva” film. Set in the Grand Duchy of Wallenstein, it is the story of Elsa Holbein, the young beautiful daughter of General Julius, Chief of the General Staff. After a spy named Moise Sthar steals military documents, Julius is accused of betrayal and he kills himself. Elsa is forced to leave and homeless, she begins wandering the streets until she starts her performing career. Under the pseudonym of Diana Cadouleur, she becomes a successful actress and singer on the Riviera.
With a musical score composed by pianist Ben Model especially for this occasion, the film is followed by a special commentary by John P. Welle, Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies at the University of Notre Dame and expert on Italian Silent Cinema.
JOHN P. WELLE
John P. Welle is Professor Emeritus of Romance Languages and Literatures and Concurrent Professor Emeritus of Film, Television and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on modern Italian literature and culture, film and media interactions, theatre and early cinema, and poetry and literary translation.
He has served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, Northwestern University and the University of Bologna. He is the author of The Poetry of Andrea Zanzotto and the editor of Film and Literature: Annali d’Italianistica (1988). His translation and edition of Peasants Wake for Fellini’s Casanova and Other Poems by Andrea Zanzotto was awarded a prize from the Academy of American Poets. His scholarship on silent cinema appears in such journals as Bianco e Nero, Cinema & Cinema and Film History; and in such volumes as A nuova luce: Cinema muto italiano, Italian Silent Cinema: A Reader, and The Italian Cinema Book.
He serves on the editorial boards of Annali d’Italianistica, L’Avventura: International Journal of Italian Film and Media Landscapes; Italian Studies, and PSA: Journal of the Pirandello Society of America. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
He is currently completing a book on theatre, silent cinema and celebrity culture in Italy.
Ben Model is one of the nation’s leading silent film accompanists, and performs on both piano and theatre organ. Ben works full-time presenting and accompanying silent films in a wide variety of venues around the USA and internationally, carrying on a tradition he learned from silent film organist Lee Erwin (1919-2000).
Over the past 40 years Ben has created and performed live scores for several hundred silent films, films lasting anywhere from one minute to five hours. Ben is a resident film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art (NY) and at the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theatre, and performs at theatres, museums, schools and other venues around the US and internationally.
His recorded scores can be heard on numerous DVD/Blu-Ray releases, on TCM and on his YouTube channel. His indie DVD label Undercrank Productions has released several discs of rare/lost silent films, including films preserved by the Library of Congress.
Ben is a regular accompanist at classic film festivals around the U.S.A. and internationally, and performs at universities, museums, and historic theaters. Ben is the producer and co-founder of The Silent Clowns Film Series, now in its 21st season in NYC. Ben has composed film scores for both orchestra and concert band for accompaniment to films by Chaplin and Keaton. These scores are performed around the U.S. every year by professional and school ensembles.
As a film programmer, Ben has co-curated film series for The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and co-programs a monthly silent film series at the Cinema Arts Center. As the archivist of the Ernie Kovacs/Edie Adams collection, he has curated two recent DVD box sets of Ernie Kovacs television shows for Shout! Factory, and was instrumental in the Library of Congress’ acquisition of the Kovacs film and videotape elements for preservation in 2015.
Ben Model is a Visiting Professor of Film Studies at Wesleyan University.