The Nino Zucchelli Archive entered the GAMeC collections in 1999 when it was donated by Lina Zucchelli Valsecchi.
The importance of this archive is given on one hand by the period it covers (1943–1994), and on the other by the variety and quantity of the materials. An inventory of the collection has shown that there are four separate collections (an archive collection, a book collection, a photographic collection, and a cinematographic collection), whose different types of materials overlap and complement one another to provide a rich panorama of Nino Zucchelli's many fields of interest.
The Cinematographic Collection contains a hundred or so of the films shown at the film festival he directed from 1958.
The first section consists in 20 film works made between the late 1950s and late 1960s—a decade of great development and diffusion of documentary films in Italy—by Nino Zucchelli himself with the aid of professionals like Mario Bernardo, Franco Vitrotti and Carlo Ventimiglia in charge of photography.
His cinematic work is characterised by certain themes: historic-artistic reconstruction in short films like La Carrara Museo Moderno (1956), Barocco e Barocchismi (1957), Immagini pittoriche d'altri tempi (1958); medium-length films like La grande stagione (1962) and Tre mondi (1965); and finally full-length films such as Vita romana (1961) and Vita e luoghi di Arlecchino (1964), in which he concentrates on both local and national topics with the aim of promoting both tourism and cultural appreciation. Another theme is the union of documentary material with a narrative film, such as Sogno a Venezia (1958), in which a young boy dressed as Harlequin takes us on a visit to discover the art and folklore of Venice, with the assistance of actors in the theatre of Ca' Foscari. And finally, the works he produced for infants, such as Prigionieri del mare (1958), the story of two children who venture into the depths of the sea and come across a shipwreck in an underwater cavern.
The second section of the collection contains 93 films that were shown at the film festival Zucchelli devised and directed between 1958 and 1970. This was the "Gran Premio Bergamo Internazionale del Film d'Arte e sull'Arte" (from 1966 its name was changed to the "Concorso Internazionale del Film d'Autore"), which was held in Bergamo, though between 1971 and 1994 its location was shifted to Sanremo and the name changed again to "Mostra internazionale del film d'autore". In addition to those shown, the section contains a further 13 that were given to Zucchelli for projection at the festival but which were never included in the programme.
The works conserved number 30 or so shorts and medium-length films of artistic or didactic interest on the arts, including the historic-artistic Terre alte di Toscana by Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, A Sculptor's Landscape, Henry Moore by John Read, and Jeu d'echecs avec Marcel Duchamp by Jean-Marie Drot. A musical theme is given in the medium-length film dedicated to the Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter by Gunars Diesis, and the filmed portrait of the Polish composer Krzystof Penderecki made by Krzysztof Zanussi. Literature is the subject matter of the films La Firenze di Pratolini by Nelo Risi and Dvoji proces (The Double Trial) by the Czechoslovak director Zdenec Kopac, which is dedicated to Kafka's Prague. And finally theatre and dance are represented by Maia Plissetskaia by Vasily Catanian, which describes the life and art of the famous Soviet ballerina, Mozart i Salieri (Mozart and Salieri) by Vladimir Gorikker, Pered nacjalom spektaklja (Before the Show) by I. Gutman, dedicated to what goes on behind the curtains of Moscow's theatres, and Mlha (Fog) by Raduz Cincera, which records the activities at the Rampa Theatre in Prague.
Also present are 13 animated shorts which, due to the quality of the materials and excellent condition of the film, are the jewel in the crown of the Zucchelli Collection. They include The Hand by Jiri Trnka, Kod Fotografa by Vatroslav Mimica, The Last Trick by Jan Svankmajer and The Last Pawn by Pino Zac and Miro Grisanti.
The largest section of the collection is formed by single-theme films and allows a focus to be made on some of the areas of greatest vitality in film production of the 1960s and '70s, for example, the new American cinema, with O.K. Ends Here by Robert Frank, and The Last Clean Shirt by Alfred Leslie, or the ferment of European cinema with one of the first works by the French-German director Jean-Marie Straub, the medium-length film Nicht versöhnt (Unreconciled). The new dynamism of East European film is well represented in Poland by Bariera (Barrier) by Jerzy Skolimowski and Za sciana (Behind the Wall) by Krzysztof Zanussi, and for the cinema of Czechoslovakia by Sedmikrasky (Daisies) by Vera Chytilova, O slavnosti a hostech (The Guests at the Party) by Jan Nemec, and Valerie a tyden divu (Valeria and the Week of Miracles) by Jires Jaromil. Also interesting are insights into Nordic film with the Finnish Pilvilinna (The Castle of Dreams) by Sakari Rimmenen and Laukaus Tehtaalla by Erkko Kiviskoski.
With regard to retrospectives, which from the end of the 1960s became an important element of the festival, there are films by the Russian directors Serghei and Gheorghi Vasil'ev, Gheorghi Danelia, Boris Barnet, and Yakov Protasanov.
The ordering, cataloguing and study of this collection has been undertaken by Sara Mazzocchi. The technical committee formed for its appreciation is composed of Antonio Costa, Achille Frezzato, Stefano Ghislotti, Annibale Pinotti, M. Cristina Rodeschini Galati, Angelo Signorelli and Lina Valsecchi Zucchelli.
Showings of films from the Nino Zucchelli Cinematographic Collection has begun following GAMeC's collaboration with Bergamo Film Meeting and the creation of GAMeCinema, under the management of Sara Mazzocchi