Born on the 29th of March 1938 in a lab where his father created truke and special movie cameras, Alberto Grifi is considered one of the very first authors of what was called the ‘Italian Experimental Cinema’. He was a painter, film director, cameraman, sound engineer, actor, photographer for advertising aeroplanes, inventor of video cinematographic equipments such as the ‘vidigraph’ which he used in 1972 to transcribe Anna onto film, the first film recorded on video in Italy, co-directed with Massimo Sarchielli and which became a cult movie in the post-sixty-eight alternative culture. It was then presented at the Berlin Festival and the Venice Film Festival in 1975 and in Cannes in 1976.
Alberto Grifi started to collaborate in 2003 with Interact SpA, the new Webagency in Rome, such collaboration marking the last years of his life.
In 2004, on the occasion of the 61st International Cinematographic Show, Alberto Grifi took part in the project Storia Segreta del Cinema Italiano comprised in the retrospective Underground Italia. In the field of the cinema as well, there are two histories: the official history as it is taught to us and a secret history, wrongly considered ‘minor’, where the real causes of events may be found. The Cinema Sector of the Biennial Exhibition of Venice, with the support of Prada Foundation and some of the most prestigious institutional partners, opened a workshop for the recovery, restoration and systematic rediscovery of the forgotten Italian Cinema, invisible, unknown and underestimated: the Storia Segreta del Cinema Italiano. The 2004 retrospective Exhibition is therefore only the beginning of a process of study and proposing newly, organised in a calendar of Permanent Activities ranging over a period of 4 years, with an in-depth, diversified study of the findings. The Storia Segreta del Cinema Italiano, for the 61st Exhibition, recovered even a part of the work of ‘rescue’ of the Italian underground of the sixties: the first phase in fact envisaged restoring the film by Baruchello, Grifi and Scavolini. Verifica Incerta and Transfert per camera verso Virulentia, two of Grifi’s works that were restored and shown during the retrospective.
On the occasion of the festival, together with Sandro Costa, the Interact SpA CEO, Alberto Grifi officially presented his Tape Laundrette Project and the laboratory for recovering the stored audio/videos on which they had both worked. The documentary Le macchine di Grifi was also shown unscheduled in the theatre, still in collaboration with Interact. Among the projects and activities carried out together with Interact, apart from the implementing the Tape Laundrette, let us remember the completion in 2007 of the film Autoritratto Auschwitz / L’occhio è per così dire l’evoluzione biologica di una lacrima, from the film, In viaggio con Patrizia, both going back to the sixties and programming the activities for completing/reprocessing a further two films, Michele alla ricerca della felicità and Dinni e la normalina. The Tape Laundrette Project and recovering the stored audio/videos in general, envisaged as the next phase the organisation of training courses on tape regeneration (under the care of Alberto) and the restoration of the films on video by Grifi himself (Parco Lambro, Anna, etc.).
In 2006, fulfilling the intentions of the film director, the Associazione Culturale Alberto Grifi was founded for the purpose of protecting, preserving and promoting the artistic heritage of Alberto.
On April 22, 2007, after a long illness, Alberto Grifi, died in Rome. During the same year, tokens of fondness and participation in his memory were abundant. Events, reviews, tributes. In particular, we point out his participation in the 64th Mostra del Cinema di Venezia of the film Autoritratto Auschwitz / L’occhio è per così dire l’evoluzione biologica di una lacrima, the last work terminated by Alberto prior to his death and his participation in the Festa del Cinema di Roma with the film In viaggio con Patrizia, terminated by Interact following Alberto’s notes regarding the film direction and assembly. The Associazione Culturale Alberto Grifi includes among its founders Ivan, Aberto Grifi’s son and Sandro Costa as President who today is the official reference point for all the initiatives linked to the name and works of the Roman artist.