Produced between the end of 1913 and the beginning of 1914 and released early in April of that same year, Cabiria met worldwide success; it is legitimately famous in the history of cinema as the triumph of superb period productions and represents the most significant Italian contribution to improving the power and spectacular resources used for the mise-en-scène. It was one of the earliest and best attempts at blending together literature, painting, architecture, music and theatre in the new medium of cinema.
The National Cinema Museum owns the largest and most complete collection of documents and materials about the making of Cabiria and its following re-editions; the collection was further enhanced by precious, unpublished documents that were donated to the Museum after their purchase by the Piedmont Region.
As a result, the National Cinema Museum carried out a dual restoration with the assistance of Prestech Film Laboratories Ltd. of London. The first project involved the reconstruction of the original version of Cabiria (1914), of which no copy to date has been found. The second was the restoration of the sound version of Cabiria which was produced by Pastrone in 1931, with numerous variations compared to the first edition and a new musical score composed by Maestros Avitabile and Ribas.
The masterpiece was presented during a special event at the Teatro Regio di Torino at the conclusion of the Cultural Olympics, which were held in conjunction with the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The reconstructed version of Cabiria (1914 edition) was accompanied by the live performance of Pizzetti and Mazza’s original score by the Filarmonica ‘900 Orchestra directed by Maestro Timothy Brock.
The restoration of the 1931 sound version of Cabiria was presented the following day at the Cinema Massimo in Torino. For this event, the National Cinema Museum, in collaboration with Editrice Il Castoro, published a historical-critical volume on Cabiria, illustrating what is known about the film and its restoration process.
The film has been on tour all over the world since 2006: Cannes, Rochester N.Y., Washington D.C., Luxemburg, Pordenone, Sitges, Valencia, Vancouver, Sao Paolo, St. Louis, Barcelona, Bologna, Toulouse, Naples, Milan, Berlin, Florence, Tokyo, Chieti, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Haifa, Tours, Helsinki, Cairo, Nuremberg, San Francisco, Chambéry, Belgrade, Seoul and Brussels.