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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 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 characterallows 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.

A film by Angelo Bozzolini.


  • 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 Matsuev
  • Stefano Bollani
  • Lang Lang


Watch the movie

Poster and press kit

Press comments

A unique story

Corriere della Sera

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

La Repubblica

Of utmost beauty

Colonne sonore

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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