A Cinephile in the Vatican

Un cinéfilo en el Vaticano

The curious history of the Vatican’s Film Library and the elaboration of the lists of best movies for the Centennial in Cinema.

In 1990, during a cinematographic congress in La Habana, Román Gubern met a priest names Enrique Planas, who wound up being the director of an unknown institution: the Vatican’s Film Library.  When Gubern settled in Rome as the director of the Cervantes Institute, the priest contacted him and proposed that he participate in the Vatican preparations to celebrate the Centennial in Cinema. This proposal allowed him to investigate the Vatican Film Library, its collection of religious movies and the legends surrounding other kinds of materials; elaborate a proposed list of the best movies with exemplary values (in the book there are three official Vatican lists, where movies are classified according to their religious, social, human, and artistic values), and participate in the designation of the patron saint of cinema. 

«Román Gubern is one of the great wisemen of the Seventh Art» (Víctor Fernández, La Razón). 

«A small-format gem» (El Mundo – El Cultural).

SERIESNuevos Cuadernos Anagrama

Román Gubern

Román Gubern (Barcelona, 1934) has been a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, professor at the South California University (Los Ángeles) and the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena), director of the Cervantes Institute of Rome and president of the Spanish Association of Film Historians. Nowadays, he is professor of Audiovisual Communication at the Universidad Autónoma of Barcelona, member of the New York Academy of Sciences, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and member of the Honour Committee of the International Association for Visual Semiotics. He has been awarded the Ciudad de Barcelona Prize for Patologías de la imagen in 2005.

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