Lost Quirino Cristiani's "Entre Pitos Y Flautas" to be screened in Buenos Aires

More than 80 years after its initial release, a long-lost film by Argentine cinema pioneer Quirino Cristiani has been discovered and is being shown today for the first time in decades. And as one would expect from a long-lost work in Argentine cinema, Entre pitos y flautas (Between Whistles and Flutes in English) is about soccer.

Cristiani was an Italian-born artist whose family immigrated to Argentina in 1900. He was an accomplished artist from an early age, and began drawing his own cartoons when he was still a teenager. Cristiani is best known for creating the world's first animated feature films, El apóstol (1917) and Sin dejar rastros (1918), and the first animated feature film with sound, Peludópolis (1931).

Sadly, almost all of Cristiani's work was destroyed in two warehouse fires in 1957 and 1961, and most of what remains is derived from a documentary film about Cristiani made several decades earlier. Despite the fact that most of his work is lost forever, Cristiani's legacy is cemented as one of animation's greatest pioneers. When Spanish and Latin American organizers were planning a transatlantic animation awards ceremony, they named it the "Quirino Award" in honor of the legendary filmmaker.

Late last year, animation historian Raúl Manlupe found an entry on MercadoLibre, a local online marketplace, titled "Película 16 Mm Dibujo B/n Mudo Dibujante Cristiani Única !!!" I found a listing titled "Película 16 Mm Dibujo B/n Mudo Dibujante Cristiani Única ! The posting was accompanied by two photographs, one of which was a title card that read "Un gran partido de futbol" and the other was the same picture as the promotional material for Cristiani's previous work, "Entre pitos y flautas".

"When I saw those frames on the list, I immediately knew what film it was. The frames that were listed were a few widely shared frames from a little-known film," Manlupe explained to Cartoon Brew.

He immediately alerted Buenos Aires-based film archive Cineteca Vida. After verifying the authenticity of the film, the organization purchased the reel. According to the seller, it was found in a can of old film he had recently purchased.

Little is known about the production or distribution of Entre pitos y flautas. The Fundación Cineteca Vida was able to confirm that the film won a prize awarded by the municipality of Buenos Aires in 1941. Coincidentally, this was the year Walt Disney visited Buenos Aires and met Cristiani. According to legend, Disney offered Cristiani a job at an American studio, but the Argentine refused.

At the time, many short films were copied and rented out for theatrical and home use. The version of "Entre pitos y flautas" found is most likely one of those copies, which explains why the title card differs from the original.

Miraculously, the film was found in excellent condition. After acquiring the reel, Alejandra Portela of Cineteca Vida was able to scrape together enough funds to restore the 16mm film and produce a digitized 4K version.

"There are a lot of great gags and visual humor in this film.

"The referee wears cartoonishly old-fashioned trousers and hat, and there's a fan in the stands with a machine gun.

He also noted the degree of fantasy in much of Cristiani's work. He said, "There is also a level of surrealism. One player kicks a ball at a referee, and it makes a hole in the referee's chest. One player kicks a ball at a referee, and the ball makes a hole in the referee's chest.

"Entre pitos y flautas" (in this case, "Un gran partido de futbol") will be screened on August 4 at 8 p.m. local time at the 25th Cultural Center in Buenos Aires. The film will be accompanied by a roundtable discussion featuring Cristiani's grandson, Héctor Cristiani, restorer Laura Gómez, and respected animation filmmaker Juan Pablo Saramella ("Luminaris," "The Little Man in the World").