Camillo Negro, a professor in neurology at the University of Turin, was a pioneer of scientific film. From 1906 to 1908, with help from his assistant Giuseppe Roasenda, he had some of his patients filmed by Roberto Omegna – one of the most famous Italian film camera operators – for scientific and educational purposes. During the war years, he continued his scientific film project at Turin’s military hospital, recording shell-shocked soldiers.
In the autumn of 2011, the National Cinema Museum, in partnership with the University of Turin’s Faculty of Neurosciences, presented a new critical edition of the neuropathological films made by Negro.
The long and complex research work carried out for this new edition helped identify materials from different origins and suggested a new order for the presentation of cases reconstructed on the basis of original sources. Above all, it helped supplement the film – previously restored in the 1990s – with unpublished sequences recently rediscovered and identified.
The new edition of Camillo Negro’s neuropathological films provides tools that allow us to delve into the evolution of the patient-doctor relationship in the difficult years between 1906 and 1918 and find out more about the pioneering figure of the creator of these films, as well as investigate the phenomenology of several war syndromes, precious records from a medical point of view that are sometimes disturbing from a human point of view.