In 1975, La Pietra won First Prize at the Nancy Festival of “Architecture cinema”. In Italy, architects rarely used cinema as a tool for exploration and design, except in a few documentaries and investigations.
La Pietra’s idea of filmmaking has few parallels. For him, a film is a “work” akin to a painting or piece of architecture. Hence, the art arena most receptive to auteurs working with tools extraneous to the specifically pictorial always considered him an exponent of “art cinema”.
La grande occasione (The great occasion), 1973
Ed. Triennale di Milano/Abet Print, film 35 mm, b/w, sound, 13’42’’, 4:3
Realized on the occasion of the XV Milan Triennale exhibition, it was filmed inside the Triennale that, as an empty building, represents the artist’s tension and waiting for his “great occasion” to express himself through a great exhibition in an institutional place.
II monumentalismo (Monumentalism), 1974
Ed. Jabik, & Colophon, Milano – made by Mario Livietti. Film 16 mm, b/w, sound, 13’
The film, shot ‘inside and outside’ Milan’s central station, uses this particular architecture as a model for discovering that within the environment we inhabit and work in, there almost never exists a relationship between space and its use. It pinpoints the ‘detachment’ which means expressing one’s own critical attitude towards the kind of architecture that refuses to accept any ‘vital’ aspects but reduces itself to a ‘monumental structure’ that is not able to contain the dynamics of human relationships
Per oggi basta! (Enough for Today! -The Commutator), 1974
Ed. Jabik, & Colophon, Milano – made by Mario Livietti. Film 16 mm, b/w, sound, 14’, music composed and performed by Ugo La Pietra
The film expresses the difficulties artists come up against whenever they try out ‘paths’ that are outside the ‘system’. All this is represented through this project and, therefore, through the realisation and use of a tool (Il Commutatore, 1970) with which it is possible, in successive phases, to supersede the physicality of the city and to project oneself towards the ‘void’.
La ricerca della mia identità (The Search for my Identity), 1974
Self-produced, made by Mario Livietti, film 16 mm, b/w, sound, 8’
The film was made with successive images of La Pietra’s face realised from 1938 to 1974, all continually compared with his face as was at that moment (1974). Through this sequence we have the sensation that for thirty-six years he has doggedly and slowly tried to reach some “final model” (his face in 1974).
La riappropriazione della città (Repossessing the City), 1977
Ed. Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), film 16 mm, b/w & colour, sound, 29’41’’, 4:3
The work is complex and attempts to demonstrate a way for repossessing the city, not so much through physical interventions, but with behavioural and mental operations. “Living means being at home everywhere: this phrase, almost an advertising slogan, opens the film in the way a manifesto begins, a kind of rallying cry to which the smiling face of Ugo La Pietra – fully concerned with going for a shave, and looking at his reflection in the windows of a large doorway -certifies the images. For La Pietra, the cinema is an indispensible means for analysing and decoding the environment, recording the traces of an original creative activity, forming and dismantling the topoi of urban architecture, and giving indications for a behaviour capable of imparting life to ‘one’s own’ city. […].” (Paolo Mereghetti, 1977)
Interventi pubblici per la città di Milano (Public Interventions for the City of Milan – Poles and Chains), 1979
Ed. Triennale di Milano, made by Mario Tosi. film 16 mm, colour, sound, 6’29’’, 4:3
The film is ironic about the lack of actions for transforming city spaces; the few actions undertaken are almost always limited to the positioning of “poles and chains”: the temporary signs of a hypothetical transformation on the city. The film shows sequences of innumerable “pole and chain” barriers, commented on by architects, councillors, members of activity groups… who all underline the impermanence of these objects in view of some “elusive” transformations of the city.
Spazio reale / spazio virtuale (Real Space / Virtual Space), 1979
Ed. Triennale di Milano, film 16 mm, colour, 19’50’’
Among the protagonists of this film, made for the sixteenth Milan Triennial exhibition “Lo spazio audiovisivo”, were Gau Aulenti, Vittorio Gregotti, Andrea Branzi, Bruno Munari, Nanda Vigo, Virgilio Vercelloni, Enzo Mari, Gianfranco Bettetini, Aldo Grassi, Costantino Bardi, Alessandro Mendini, Pierluigi Nicolin, Gillo Dorfles, Davide Mosconi… interviewed by Ugo La Pietra, who then transferred their statements onto a large “diagram of objectives”.