UMBERTO ECO – A LIBRARY OF THE WORLD
MUST END THURSDAY, AUGUST 3
DIRECTED BY DAVIDE FERRARIO
“A truly formidable gathering of information delivered playfully by a master manipulating his own invention — in effect, a long, erudite joke” – Anthony Burgess (reviewing Umberto Eco’s novel, in The New York Times). These words aptly describe this documentary immersion in all things Eco. The Italian journalist, critic, philosopher, professor of semiotics, medievalist, bibliophile, and best-selling novelist, Umberto Eco (1932-2016) takes us on a journey through his Milanese library of 50,000 volumes, and, more impressively, the library of his mind. Best known for his novel, The Name of the Rose, Eco is a vastly prolific, witty, and original thinker — and talker — who holds forth on topics as wildly diverse as the value of reading low-brow books, the origins of fascism, the psychology of conspiracy theorists, reading on paper versus digitally, the importance of discarding useless memories, truth versus lies, great fakes, and brilliant mistakes in history. “To be intellectually curious is to be alive. And believe me, a lot of people are not alive.” – Umberto Eco. Be alive. See this film.
Presented with support from the Ada Katz Fund for Literature in Film and the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Fund
2022 80 MIN. ITALY IN ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES CINEMA GUILD
“A new documentary delves into the infectious curiosity and passions of the Italian scholar and author of ‘The Name of the Rose.’ Eco conveyed a twinkling sense of fun around reading and thinking about the world and literature, a notion that erudition could be not just edifying but entertaining. Exploring fictional worlds with Eco for a guide remains a diverting and often enlightening pursuit.”
– Nicolas Rapold, The New York Times
"LIVELY AND ENGAGING. Combines archival interview footage of Eco, contemporary scenes of his family and friendly scholars poring over his incredible volumes and their often macabre illustrations...pillowed by beautiful shots of notable libraries the world over."
– Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com
“Filmed in the Milanese home of Umberto Eco…a truly extraordinary place. (The film) tries to grasp the meaning that the writer, philosopher and essayist had given it. Like a great alchemist, Umberto Eco has distilled the essences from the 50,000 volumes of his library to produce his stories…(Beginning) a year before the death of Umberto Eco…in the summer of 2021, the Eco family asked Ferrario to make a film about the library, which naturally also becomes a tribute and a memory of its owner and cultivator. Eco himself repeatedly defined his library as ‘a living thing,’ and books as the ‘vegetal memory’ of humanity… If for Eco, the library was a metaphor for the world, his one-man show was not a simple collection of books, but the key to understanding his ideas and inspiration…also the place where, even after death, his spirit lives intact.”
– Giacomo Arico, Vogue Italia
"A timely rumination on the difference between knowledge and information... memorializes Eco the thinker, and urges us to reacquaint ourselves with his writings directly, to seek out the deadly serious implications that always underlay his literary games.”
– William Repass, SLANT