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Thread: Open Roads: New Italian Cinema At Lincoln Center 2015

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    Open Roads: New Italian Cinema At Lincoln Center 2015

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-09-2015 at 11:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    Opening Night:
    Latin Lover
    Cristina Comencini, Italy, 2015, DCP, 104m
    Italian with English subtitles
    It’s been 10 years since the passing of Saverio Crispo, Italy’s most beloved movie star and most prolific ladies’ man. He left behind five daughters, each from a different relationship in a different part of the world. To mark the anniversary of his passing, mothers and daughters alike gather in his hometown to piece together the puzzle of the man they’ve known only as an icon. The international cast of Latin Lover features Almodóvar veterans Candela Peña, Lluís Homar, and Marisa Paredes, and especially poignant turns from three-time David di Donatello winner Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Human Capital) and the late Virna Lisi (Queen Margot) in her final screen appearance. North American Premiere
    Thursday, June 4, 6:30pm (Q&A with Cristina Comencini)
    Monday, June 8, 1:30pm

    9 x 10 Novanta
    Marco Bonfanti, Claudio Giovannesi, Alina Marazzi, Pietro Marcello, Sara Fgaier, Giovanni Piperno, Costanza Quatriglio, Paola Randi, Alice Rohrwacher & Roland Sejko, Italy, 2014, DCP, 94m
    Italian with English subtitles
    In honor of the Istituto Luce’s 90th anniversary, 10 young Italian filmmakers (two working as a pair) completed nine 10-minute shorts using footage from its archives. As each director gives their personal spin on the past, their collective effort emphasizes the striking contrasts that comprise Italy’s recent history: from wartime to peace, from ruins to reconstruction, and from Fascism’s lost promised futures to the present day. Startling, moving, and, above all else, inventive, this omnibus reshapes and gives light to rare material unseen for decades. Includes a short by Alice Rohrwacher, writer-director of The Wonders (NYFF52). North American Premiere
    Tuesday, June 9, 6:30pm

    Chlorine / Cloro
    Lamberto Sanfelice, Italy, 2015, DCP, 98m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Seventeen-year-old Jenny (Salvo’s Sara Serraiocco) dreams of becoming a synchronized swimmer, but when her mother dies unexpectedly and her father suffers a nervous breakdown, she’s forced to sacrifice her goals to keep the family together. Uprooting from the coastal town of Ostia to the mountains of Abruzzo, Jenny takes a job as a hotel maid, her salary going to support her father and 9-year-old brother. Co-starring Ivan Franek (The Great Beauty) as the ski-lift operator with whom she becomes romantically involved, the sensitive Chlorine was nominated for the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
    Sunday, June 7, 6:15pm (Q&A with Lamberto Sanfelice)
    Tuesday, June 9, 4:15pm

    Lamberto Sanfelice's Chlorine

    The Dinner / I nostri ragazzi
    Ivano De Matteo, Italy, 2014, DCP, 92m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Affectionate pediatrician Paolo (Luigi Lo Cascio) and businesslike lawyer Massimo (Alessandro Gassman) are brothers who seemingly enjoy all the trappings of bourgeois success, dutifully meeting once a month for dinner with their wives at an expensive restaurant despite the women’s mutual dislike. However, when a security tape reveals that Paolo’s son and Massimo’s daughter have brutally beaten a homeless man into a coma, resentments boil to the surface. This adaptation of Herman Koch’s best seller meticulously ratchets up the tension and brilliantly expands upon elements from the book, and the all-star cast (also featuring Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Barbora Bobulova) give unforgettable performances that linger long after the lights go up. Winner of four prizes at last year’s Venice Film Festival. A Film Movement release.
    Friday, June 5, 6:30pm (Q&A with Ivano De Matteo)
    Tuesday, June 9, 2:00pm

    Greenery Will Bloom Again / Torneranno i prati
    Ermanno Olmi, Italy, 2014, DCP, 80m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Throughout a six-decade career that spans masterpieces like Il Posto and The Tree of Wooden Clogs, Ermanno Olmi has earned the title “Poet of Silence.” With measured pacing and sparse dialogue, Olmi crafts films that are hypnotizing in their patient alertness. At age 83, he turns his attention to the First World War. But instead of making a combat film, he chooses to capture a single snowy night on the Italian front, as soldiers burrowed in trenches confront their loneliness and find pockets of hope where they can. Reminiscent of Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line in its ethereality and focus on inner thoughts, Olmi’s haunting meditation features actual World War I footage and is dedicated to the director’s father, who told him tales of the war as a child. North American Premiere
    Saturday, June 6, 6:30pm
    Monday, June 8, 4:00pm

    The Ice Forest / La foresta di ghiaccio
    Claudio Noce, Italy, 2014, DCP, 99m
    Italian with English subtitles
    When Pietro (Domenico Diele), a young repairman, journeys to an electrical station located in a remote village on the Italian-Slovenian border, he soon gets wrapped up in a mystery involving foul play, human trafficking, and his own past. Meanwhile, Lana (Ksenia Rappoport), a Slovenian investigator posing as a bear expert, struggles against the climate and the hardened ways of the men (including one played by Emir Kusturica) who live and work there to get to the truth. Shot with a swooping grace befitting its majestic Alpine setting, director Claudio Noce proves himself to be a master of suspense with this heart-pounding thriller. North American Premiere
    Thursday, June 4, 3:30pm (Q&A with director Claudio Noce & actor Adriano Giannini)
    Sunday, June 7, 3:30pm (Q&A with director Claudio Noce & actor Adriano Giannini)

    The Invisible Boy / Il ragazzo invisibile
    Gabriele Salvatores, Italy/France, 2014, DCP, 100m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Veteran director Gabriele Salvatores (I’m Not Scared) uses the superhero genre as a jumping-off point to reach the greater truths of adolescence, harkening back to 1980s adventure classics like The Goonies. Michele (Ludovico Girardello), who lives with his single mother (the superb Valeria Golino) in Trieste, is an unpopular kid who doesn’t seem to be good at anything. Constantly bullied, he sees his lovely classmate Stella (Noa Zatta) as the only bright spot in his life. One day, Michele discovers that he has the ability to become invisible, and suddenly finds himself drawn into a series of increasingly strange events involving Russian children who also have supernatural powers. North American Premiere
    Sunday, June 7, 1:00pm
    Thursday, June 11, 2:30pm

    Eleonora Danco's N-Capace

    An Italian Name / Il nome del figlio
    Francesca Archibugi, Italy, 2015, DCP, 96m
    Italian with English subtitles
    The hit French farce What’s in a Name?, released to great success in 2012, is transposed to Italy while retaining its crowd-pleasing core. David di Donatello Award winners Alessandro Gassman and Micaela Ramazzotti play Paolo and Simona, a glamorous couple with a child on the way. They invite another couple and a quirky musician friend to dinner, expecting a benignly pleasant evening, but things take a turn for the volatile when the issue of the child’s name is broached. Featuring acclaimed international actor and director (of the festival favorite Honey) Valeria Golino, An Italian Name is an uproariously un-PC variation on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. North American Premiere
    Saturday, June 6, 9:00pm (Q&A with Francesca Archibugi)
    Tuesday, June 9, 8:45pm

    The Lack
    MASBEDO, Italy, 2014, DCP, 76m
    In an attempt to bridge the gap between the worlds of video art and narrative filmmaking, Nicolò Massazza and Iacopo Bedogni (aka MASBEDO) have created The Lack, a radical, poetic work of pure cinema. Six women from six different countries—Eve (Lea Mornar), Xiu (Xin Wang), Anja (Giorgia Sinicorni), Nour (Ginevra Bulgari), Greta (Emanuela Villagrossi), and Sarah (Cinzia Brugnola)—navigate separate, barren Aeolean Islands by themselves. Working through their pasts, each of their journeys investigates the theme of a “lack,” including one that overtly references Antonioni’s L’Avventura. As visually dazzling as it is deeply emotional, MASBEDO’s experiment is worth every second. North American Premiere
    Thursday, June 4, 9:15pm (Q&A with MASBEDO)
    Thursday, June 11, 4:45pm

    Mario Martone, Italy, 2014, DCP, 144m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Writer-director Mario Martone (We Believed) again returns to the 19th century in this sensitive, exquisitely shot portrait of the cherished Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi. The son of a domineering count who prizes knowledge over all else, Giacomo (a brilliant Elio Germano) is locked away in a library to study. Yet Giacomo yearns to see the world, and his struggles with social and familial obligations color his Romantic writings about the human condition. When he is finally able to leave the family estate and becomes the toast of Florence’s literary circles, ill health and poor finances stymie his happiness. Shot on the Leopardi estate!
    Monday, June 8, 6:00pm
    Wednesday, June 10, 1:00pm

    Money Buddies / La buca
    Daniele Ciprì, Italy/Switzerland, 2014, DCP, 90m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Better Call Saul, Italian-style! Veteran ambulance chaser Oscar (Sergio Castellitto) gets bitten by a dog and decides to make some cash by suing its owner. However, this turns out to be Armando (Rocco Papaleo), a penniless man just released from jail after 30 years for a crime he didn’t commit, shunned by everyone—except his dog. Oscar sees the potential of getting millions in compensation from the state, and the two fifty-somethings team up in search of clues (along with the help of a friendly barista, played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). A timeless and fun buddy comedy shot on 35mm. North American Premiere
    Thursday, June 4, 1:00pm
    Saturday, June 6, 4:00pm

    Sabina Guzzanti's The State-Mafia Pact

    N-Capace / N-Able
    Eleonora Danco, Italy, 2014, DCP, 80m
    Italian with English subtitles
    A sparklingly imaginative autobiographical story in the spirit of Fellini’s 8 ½, playwright, director, and actress Eleonora Danco dons a toga to stage—and agonize over—key moments in her life, presenting them as theatrical tableaux. Shot in her seaside hometown of Terracina, Danco involves the townsfolk through interviews (reminiscent of Pasolini’s Love Meetings) and by encouraging them to participate in the drama: people of all ages sing, dance, and wear masks of their younger selves. However, the most inventive and incisive scenes come from her interactions with her tight-lipped 83-year-old father, which, even at their lightest, belie a deep poignancy. North American Premiere
    Friday, June 5, 1:30pm
    Wednesday, June 10, 6:30pm

    Natural Resistance
    Jonathan Nossiter, Italy/France, 2014, DCP, 86m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Liquid Memory: Why Wine Matters author and Mondovino director Jonathan Nossiter returns with a fresh look at small-scale Italian vintners who eschew pesticides and chemicals. Drawing parallels between organic wine farming and film restoration, Nossiter intersperses strong testimony from four farmers in their vineyards in Piedmont, Tuscany, and Emilia with clips from silent comedies and newsreels. Preserving centuries-old traditions in the face of globalization (and crooked politics), their stories of resistance and environmentalism prove a strong vintage. A must-see for any foodie, wannabe sommelier, or even the casual wine fan, who will be hard-pressed to not buy organic after watching. U.S. Premiere
    Monday, June 8, 9:15pm

    Short Skin
    Duccio Chiarini, Italy, 2014, DCP, 86m
    Italian with English subtitles
    In this endearing and hilarious coming-of-age tale, Edoardo (Matteo Creatini) has a congenital problem with his foreskin, and now at age 17, starts to feel the desire (and social pressure) to lose his virginity, either with his best friend Bianca (Francesca Agostini) or a bewitching singer in a band (Miriana Raschilla). Meanwhile, his family is wrapped up in sexual issues of their own: his parents are struggling with infidelities, and his little sister is obsessed with finding a mate for their dog. Never cloying or trivial, Duccio Chiarini’s film manages to capture the true euphoric and tormented spirit of adolescence. North American Premiere
    Friday, June 5, 9:00pm (Q&A with Duccio Chiarini)
    Wednesday, June 10, 8:30pm

    Duccio Chiarini's Short Skin

    So Far So Good / Fino a qui tutto bene
    Roan Johnson, Italy, 2014, DCP, 80m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Winner of multiple prizes at the Rome International Film Festival, including the People’s Choice Award for Best Italian Movie, Roan Johnson’s bittersweet dramedy So Far So Good explores three days in the lives of five friends at a crossroads. Living together as students, they’ve shared much more than an apartment—they’ve pooled their joys and sorrows, and come to depend on one another. But now their education is complete and these young men and women must go their own ways. Over one last weekend they face an uncertain future and the choices that will lead them on separate journeys. Johnson’s perceptive character study (which he co-wrote) is sure to resonate with anyone who’s faced the terrifying prospect of life outside a safe and protective cocoon. North American Premiere
    Friday, June 5, 4:00pm
    Saturday, June 6, 1:30pm

    The State-Mafia Pact / La trattativa
    Sabina Guzzanti, Italy, 2014, DCP, 108m
    Italian with English subtitles
    Disgraced former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is only the tip of the sleazy iceberg in this bombshell hybrid documentary, a detailed account of widespread government-mafia corruption. Both formally and factually engaging, this film by Sabina Guzzanti (Viva Zapatero!, Sympathy for the Lobster) was inspired by Elio Petri’s Three Hypotheses on the Death of Giuseppe Pinelli. Talking-head interview subjects give evidence about the collaboration between officials and the Cosa Nostra during the early 1990s, and then reenact certain events with the help of a green screen. Guzzanti herself plays Berlusconi, hilariously nailing his bluster. North American Premiere
    Sunday, June 7, 8:45pm
    Wednesday, June 10, 4:00pm

    Photo Exhibit:
    Looking with Michelangelo Antonioni
    An exhibition of Renato Zacchi’s rare photographs of Antonioni taken during the shoot of one of his final documentaries (Sicily, 1997). Event organized by EVOL Design.
    June 1-10 (Frieda & Roy Furman Gallery)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-10-2015 at 05:58 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    THE ICE FOREST (Claudio Noce 2014)



    Bluster and machismo in the Italian alps

    It all takes place up in the mountains where Italy connects with Slovenia, and human trafficking is the obvious theme that's muted till the end. Noce''s ambitious film is everything and nothing. It has high production values -- great photography, atmospheric mountain settings, high powered music -- plus excitement, machismo, noir secrets, and the elements of a running police procedural. Yet it gives away its secret at the outset and it flounders, the procedural generating little energy, the scenes all rough he-man mood and little actual plot-driving action too much of the time. The effect, as major reviewers (Variety and Hollywood Reporter) have noted, is of an American film more than an Italian one, to the extent of scenes at a saloon with country music and a seedy strip bar, and a lead character who wears a Redskins baseball cap.

    Action revolves around three people. Young Pietro (Domenico Diele), a mechanic and repairman, journeys to an electrical power station up in the mountains and encounters several seedy, stogie-chomping hard drinkers clearly up to something nasty, though most of the time we don't know what any of these guys are doing other than hanging out. The pre-title opening scene set in 1994 of a Slovenian boy killed by human traffickers while his younger brother is shooed across a bridge in the snow into Italy is a clear spoiler of all that will come. In the background Lana (Ksenia Rappoport) is a camera-toting Slovenian investigator tracking down the source of the corpse of a Libyan woman refugee found just over the border: human trafficking is what she logically suspects, though her local associate blocks her every step of the way. Among the super-macho types she has to contend with, some of whom she suspects are criminals, is Secondo (Emir Kusturica), just the oldest and gnarliest of the bunch.

    Many tricky visual and sound effects are used, including a requiem mass when a group of tragic refugees finally appears, some scary action on a funicular stuck in midair, and lots of SUVs speeding around through the snow. But Guy Lodge in his Variety review notes the faulty continuity, indicated by the way Diele's earrings come and go from one scene to the next, and he also notes the region is probably culturally richer "than the film lets on." In other words, it's mostly visuals.

    And this is what hits you from the start: the muted, handsome, nearly monochromatic bluish images (though an "ice forest" is not to be found) richly evoke an intensely cold, mountainous world of snow and fog, while interiors fairly drip with masculine bravado and all-male roughhousing where heavy drinking is much emphasized. It's all atmosphere with nowhere special to go. Rappaport is a tough, experienced actress but is not given enough to do. Guy Lodge again makes a good observation when he says her role is "Marge Gunderson without the wisecracks": she's a bit pathetic and humorless, a big missed opportunity to add life and pluck to increase viewer interest in this key character who so much of time seems to be floundering.

    Domenico Diele, with a trendy shaved-sides haircut to make him look younger and tougher, is the one fair-haired boy, a touchstone outsider and the key character, finally, who will wind up in mortal combat with Kusturica. An interesting character, Lorenzo (Adriano Giannini), bonding with Pietro, boiling with frustration, dreaming of going to live in Rio, disappears early on, and we are left with Kusturica, a director experienced also as an actor, who is confident in his bluster here, but somewhat inexpressive. And there you have it, an atmospheric, well-produced second film for Noce, with a grand theme, but in need of some more rewrites and further edits to play successfully the world market. (Or even find strong advocates at home: most online Italian reviews seem to agree with the points I've made here: good mise-en-scène, visuals, and atmosphere, unengaging or murky action.)

    The Ice Forest/La foresta di ghiaccio, 99 mins., debuted at the Rome festival Oct. 2014; also Tokyo; theatrical release in Italy Nov 2014. Screened for this review as part of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema festival at Lincoln Center, NYC. Shown June 4 and 7, 2015 at the Walter Reade Theater.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-09-2015 at 11:38 PM.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    SHORT SKIN - I DOLORI DEL GIOVANE EDO (Duccio Chiarini 2014)




    Short Skin succeeds within the doomed medium of a Sundance-indie-influenced summertime coming-of-age movie because of the way it gently tweaks the conventions, adding little nuances. The aim is the same. Edoardo ("Edo," Matteo Creatini), the skinny, downbeat protagonist, and his buddy Arturo (Nicola Nocchi) want to lose their virginity. But one pleasing nuance is that the stocky, down-to-earth Arturo turns out to be pretty aware himself: he admits his amorous failures and and fibs and knows that Edo's handicap will make him appeal to his local sweetheart because it means he's sensitive and that's what girls like. Edo has a justifiable, physical reason for being uneasy about losing his virginity -- an unusually tight foreskin (this is Italy; in countries where circumcision prevails this might have been avoided). Obviously the solution is going to have to be surgical, and is only being put off by the understandably fearful Edo.

    Chiarini's London film studies seem to have only sharpened his appreciation of the laconic, staccato flavor of contemporary northern Italian talk, especially among young people. The pleasure and humor of the movie is the way kids continually try to make everything sound offhand, however momentous the immediate consequences in their young lives. Edo's proto-lesbian little sister Olivia (Bianca Ceravolo)loves to throw around the word "fuck." Their squabbling parents (Bianca Nappi, Michele Crestacci) haven't got time to be bothered because they could be on the way to a breakup; they are no more in control than the kids. Sex is an acknowledged desideratum that's not happening, even for the family dog Olivia is keen on mating with a likely canine. There's Edo's sweet, longtime summer friend, Bianca (Franscesca Agostini), who's soon off to study in Paris. there's the strawberry-dyed, forward new girl. There's a prostitute ordered up by Arturo. Or, for practice in the mechanics, there's an octopus. Something goes wrong even with the octopus, twice.

    Edo has just read a book that's "very, very beautiful" but also "sad." Could it be an Italian translation of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther, since the name of Chiarini's movie ("The Sorrors of Young Edo") echoes its title? Anyway, he loans it to first Elisabetta (Miriana Raschilla), the forward one of two girls the boys meet who're in a local band, then to Bianca. Both love it. They evidently love Edo.

    Edo is understandably shy, but Short Skin is not shy at all about showing young people's bodies, including Edo working on you-know-what: this is both a fresh note and a possible discomfort for some viewers. Others, if Hollywood Reporter's Boyd van Hoeij is right, may find the guitar theme and a possible nod to Little Miss Sunshine irritating hints that the young filmmaker has watched "one Sundance film too many." Listening to the dialogue, I felt I was pretty far from Sundance.

    Short Skin - i dolori del giovane Edo/Short Skin ("The Sorrows of Young Edo"), 86 mins., debuted at Venice August 2015; also showed in 2015 at Berlin, Stockholm, Buenos Aires and Seattle. Release in France as L'éveil D'Edoardo coming 17 June 2015. Screened for this review as part of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at Lincoln Center, NYC.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-09-2015 at 11:44 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2002
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    THE LACK (Masbedo 2014)

    MASBEDO: THE LACK (2014)

    Gorgeous abstract suffering women

    There doesn't seem to be much experimentation (or sometimes even inspiration) in Italian film at the moment. So Masbedo (joint nom d'artiste of Nicolò Massazza and Jacopo Bedogni) fill a dire need with their fusions of photography, art video, and narrative film. Their first feature in this vein is The Lack, which focuses on women suffering a sense of loss or deprivation, I think. It's an absolutely gorgeous film, but its classification as narrative feature has to be qualified with the notation that it's really a collection of six rather abstract, not directly connected, films. It gets the label from admiring critic attached to most beautiful, abstract movies that make little narrative particular sense: "pure cinema."

    It's also not particularly "Italian," coming at us at the outset with two women, Eve (Lea Mornar), Xiu (Xin Wang), Anja (Giorgia Sinicorni), who are notably exotic. They and Nour (Ginevra Bulgari), Greta (Emanuela Villagrossi), and Sarah (Cinzia Brugnola) are linked by location, being shown navigating a dream landscape of deprivation and loss amid certain barren Aeolean islands. Some scenes were also shot in Iceland. Cinecitta is also listed. Photography is by Gherardo Gossi and Giuseppe Domingo Romano, editing and sound design is by Benni Atria. Iacopo Bedogni and Niccolò Massazza have been respectively described as "a former professional basket player, graduate in mathematics and then photographer" and as "a psychoanalysis scholar, poetry and Lacan enthusiast, and former musician."

    It seems natural to be reminded of the Belgian couple of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Rorzani, who have crafted two similarly exquisite, narratively moot features that I've seen at Lincoln Center and MoMA's New Directors series of 2010 and 2014, Amer and The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears. A unifying feature for Cattet and Forzani is their fondness for Italian Dario Argento-style slasher-horror "giallo," frequently in evidence,; and in their second long outing they moved away from separate segments into a single connected narrative, even if the narrative was repetitious and hard to parse and gorier than previously. One should probably see The Lack as a feather in Masbedo's cap, supplemented by related gallery events, including a dramatic display of illuminated still photos of the women featured in the film, part of a multi-phase art event held later in Milan.

    It is as hard to sustain (as it may be to watch) beautiful but narratively deprived films like this, and understandable that Masbedo filled out The Lack by approaching a theme sex times over. Here the unifying thread, aside from the slightly vague one of "lack" (mancanza) is emotion. These ladies are upset. The artists show a flair for finding striking locations and shooting them ingeniously. Some of their sequences, such as the first one, feel like emotionally extreme noir romances; others are more surreal an grotesque and threaten to slip into Cattet-Rorzani "giallo" territory.

    The Lack was presented as a special event at Venice Days, at the Venice Film Festival, 31 August 2014. Screened for this review as part of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema June 2015 at Lincoln Center.
    Thursday, June 4, 9:15pm (Q&A with MASBEDO)
    Thursday, June 11, 4:45p

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-10-2015 at 03:49 PM.


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