Il cinema missionario: il caso di «Fiamme»
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The earliest movies made by missionaries, originally for educational reasons as well as to provide publicity, are examples of amateur film-making, but they also have some absolutely original features. In defining the characteristics of these films, we have to consider the audiences they were made for, shaping the forms they took to suit the conditions of reception case by case, in a relationship of reciprocal determination between the medium and the (institutional, social) venue where they were shown. This strengthened the identity of the group, cohesive in sharing the same needs and striving towards the same goals. The case of Fiamme, a fic- tional film made by the Saverian Fathers of Parma in 1929, displays the narrative and linguistic models of mainstream movies yet also has the practical sense and ‘hand-crafted’ qualities typical of autodidacts.
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