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O'Rex - From the Ocean to the Movies

Posted in Festival history - sixth edition 2008


The Ischitani nel Mondo (People of Ischia around the World) Association wanted to contribute to the Ischia Film Festival “Forum of the Sea” with an exhibition dedicated to the REX transatlantic titled “O REX – giant of the sea, from the Ocean to the Movies”.

The exhibition depicts, through photos and documents, the history of this legendary giant of the sea. Committed to historical research on emigration, the Ischitani nel Mondo Association always wanted to approach the matter from a wide angle collecting personal witness accounts and drawing from the original material of Domenico Iacono and his collection.

Even this year, the Association will hold an exhibition (from September 12 to 16) in the distinctive alleys of this town located at the feet of the Arso Volcano. The exhibition is dedicated to the emigration from Ischia to America with a particular focus on the architecture of large ships and Pulitzer Finali’s designs, the architect who designed the “Conte di Savoia” transatlantic. The exhibition will also show the almost pioneering emigration to Mar del Plata in Argentina. “Suddenly, there it is: rising from the darkness like a black mountain ablaze with lights that thrusts forward among the powerful roar of wild waters. The hoarse sound of a siren echoes through the night. ‘There! Daddy! Daddy! The Rex! Yay! The Rex’ (…) Everyone rises, waving their arms in frantic greetings and chaotic display of screams, cries and applauses (… The Rex is a wreath of lights, a constellation among the many in the sky (…) The huge ship crosses the waves in the night as a marvelous dream (…)” This is how Fellini introduces us to the Rex, giant of the sea, pride of our Navy.

This is also how Fellini immortalizes what was in everyone’s heart, in the collective imagination and transformed it into cinematographic imagination, in a perfect combination between reality and its representation. The Rex, with its mass, its elegance, its brand-name china, its pools, the golden world of the first class, represented for those who saw it pass by, a dream. For those who were on board, traveling in third class, who experienced life in spaces and with equipment they didn’t own in the everyday life they left behind, it represented the anticipation of a dream that was coming true.

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