Cinema Statuto


Eleonora Roaro, “Cinema Statuto” 
Two-channel video, 1’30’’ 
1920×1080 HD | 16:9
Edition 3 + AP | 2023

Courtesy: Fabrizio Dividi, “Sale per la capra” (2012); Rai Teche, Torino; “Quaderno di Storia Pompieristica” n. 7 February 2020
Produced by CAMERA, Torino (IT)

The audio-video installation “Cinema Statuto” investigates the process of constructing truth through photographic and video documentation of the Statuto cinema incident in Turin. On February 13, 1983, at 6:15 pm, during the screening of the comedy film “La Chevre” (1981), a fire at the Statuto cinema located in via Cibrario in Turin resulted in the death by asphyxiation of 64 people within a couple of minutes: 31 women, 31 men, a boy, and a girl. This incident, the most severe in post-war Turin, marked a significant turning point in the augmentation of safety regulations in entertainment venues across the nation, leading to the closure of numerous public buildings and drastically altering audience habits.
The project relates a RAI news broadcast with footage shot immediately after the incident to the judicial experiment initiated by magistrate Bruno Caccia, archived at the Turin Court Archive. During the judicial experiment – which is used to establish whether or not an event occurred in a particular manner – the Statuto cinema is set on fire for a second time to test various hypotheses about the ignition of the flames with surviving witnesses of the actual fire. The incident is reenacted, and the trauma is re-lived to know the truth. The enlarged photograph on the wall, taken by firefighters on the night of 13 February 1983, contextualises the location and moment of the incident.
The audio in the project is in two channel, with the left channel comprising excerpts from the documentary “Sale per la Capra” (2012) and sounds that realistically reconstruct the judicial experiment, while the right channel explores the dimension of memory, evoking the soundscape of the cinema hall at the time of the incident, drawing from survivors’ testimonies, fragments of dialogue, the main theme of the film “La Capra” (1981), and the noises heard during the fire.