The Italian Character. The story of a great Italian orchestra  - Germany/Italy 2013 - 60'/100'

The Italian Character: a film within music and about music.

The Italian Character is the story of one of the most renowned orchestras in the world, enriched by archive material of the last thirty years about the great conductors who have been performing on the most famous rostrum in Rome. Today, this post belongs to Sir Antonio Pappano, an Anglo-American with Beneventian roots, who rediscovered an essential part of his Italian origins conducting the Orchestra Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

In the documentary, directed by Angelo Bozzolini, the story vividly unfolds itself: It portrays the planning and performance of a great project; it shows how the sound ripens from the first rehearsal to the final applause of a sold-out music hall, what happens to the musicians before they enter the stage, and how they release the tension at the end of a concert.

With the personal histories of the members and the conductor of the orchestra, The Italian character allows its audience to gain an insight into a fascinating world that is usually concealed from it. Simultaneously, it tells the story of a national institution, of a historically singular development, of an approach to life that is characteristic for a country which is loved by many, but sometimes misunderstood and even underrated in its unknown variety.

How do you arrive at making classical music? Which efforts does this job require every day? What special relationship binds each artist to his instrument? What do they experience on stage? How do you explain the transformation of extreme suspense during the concert into exuberant joy afterwards? – The documentary will answer these questions with a grand, stirring, polyphonic narrative.

Beside the main story line, the film calls forth the presence of some of the best soloists and orchestra conductors in the world presenting material collected during their collaboration with the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, and consequently with the Italian character.

In these moments the “inner” life description of the orchestra will be completed by contribution of friends from “outside”, by their perspectives, their thoughts about the italian character and about their relation with this extraordinary ensemble of passionate musicians.


Antonio Pappano
The Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

and with

Yuri Temirkanov
James Conlon
Valery Gergiev
Daniel Harding
Janine Jansen
Lisa Batiashvili
Evgeny Kissin
Denis Matseuv
Stefano Bollani
Lang Lang


With the support of eni and Lazio Region
With the collaboration of RAI - Radiotelevisione Italiana
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Watch the movie

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Amazon Video

Poster and press kit

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Press comments

A unique story

Corriere della Sera

A documentary about an italian Symphony Orchestra has never been made before

La Repubblica

A refreshing meditation

Il Tempo

A brillant intuition

Poetic moments

Sentieri Selvaggi

Our politicians should see this

Succede Oggi

A constant feeling of surprise

Il Corriere Musicale

A masterpiece

The Independent

Compulsive listening

Financial Times

It takes us back stage into what are normally the secrets of an orchestra

Seen and Heard

One of the wittiest and most informative music documentaries lately

SWR2 Filmkritik

An exceptional, an exciting portrait of an orchestra, full of marvellous, fantastical ideas

WDR3 Tonart

The best film I've ever seen on an Orchestra, and I've seen them all

Jim Plank, San Diego Symphony Orchestra


Best educational documentary Dokumentarts Bucarest 2014
Gold Trindie Award Trinidad Independent Film Festival 2014
Platinum Remi Production Award WorldFest Houston 2014
Opening film River Film Festival 2014
Second place best documentary film Globo d'Oro 2014


Vancouver International Film Festival 2013
Hof International Film Festival 2013
Rome Film Festival 2013
Palm Springs International Film Festival 2014
Salt Spring Documentary Film Festival 2014
Bolzano Cinema 2014
WorldFest Houston 2014
Festival del Cinema Europeo 2014
River Film Festival 2014
Musical Garden Festival 2014
Musikfilmtage Oberaudorf 2014
Fünf Seen Film Festival 2014
Trinidad Independent Film Festival 2014
Dokumentarts Bucarest 2014
San Diego Italian Film Festival 2014
SoundTrack_Cologne 2014
Eterne Armonie 2015
Outdoor International Film Festival Balboa Park 2015

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