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In an erudite journey through the intellectual landscape shaped by the Italian author Umberto Eco (1932-2016), the documentary Umberto Eco: A Library of the World by Davide Ferrario (2023) unveils a profound exploration of Eco’s personal library, comprising 30,000 volumes. This film, set to be showcased on Monday, April 8, at 5:00 PM in the Bathish Auditorium, West Hall at AUB, promises free admission and requires no prior reservation.

Through an intricate tapestry of archival footage and interviews, Davide Ferrario elucidates Umberto Eco’s perspective on the world, guiding the audience through an extensive collection that serves not merely as an assemblage of culture and literature but as an emblem of collective memory. This documentary emerges as a compelling testament to the pivotal role of literature in societal fabric.

Davide Ferrario, an Italian native born in 1956, pursued a degree in American Literature from the University of Milan, culminating in 1981. Embarking on his career as a film critic in the 1970s, Ferrario established a distribution company, introducing Italy to the cinematic works of Wenders, Fassbinder and Wajda. Progressing to represent American independent filmmakers like John Sayles and Jim Jarmusch, Ferrario made his directorial debut with La fine della notte in 1989, acclaimed as the Best Italian Independent Film of the year. His directorial oeuvre, encompassing both fiction films and documentaries, has been celebrated at various international film festivals including Berlin, Sundance, Venice, Toronto and Locarno. Ferrario’s distinctive stance in the Italian cinematic landscape is marked by his autonomy; he has produced all his films through his production company, Rossofuoco, since 2002. Noteworthy among these are Dopo mezzanotte (After Midnight), which garnered acclaim at the Berlinale and was distributed in over 100 countries, and La strada di Levi (Primo Levi’s Journey), which was considered for an Academy Award. His most recent work, Blood on the Crown, features stars Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell. In addition to his cinematic achievements, Ferrario is a published novelist and contributes regularly to Corriere della Sera.

Umberto Eco’s legacy is indelibly marked by his contributions to literature and academia. A venerated figure, Eco’s novels such as In The Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum, and Baudolino are celebrated for their blend of artistic flair and philosophical depth. These works, revered by both the scholarly community and the reading public, span a diverse range of subjects from history to politics, reflecting Umberto Eco’s interdisciplinary approach. His tenure at the University of Turin, along with affiliations with various global academic institutions, underscores his commitment to scholarly pursuits and intellectual discourse.