Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: NEW ITALIAN CINEMA in San Francisco, Nov. 22-24-Dec. 2, 2019

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,309

    NEW ITALIAN CINEMA in San Francisco, Nov. 22-24-Dec. 2, 2019

    La prima edizione di Cinema Italian Style SF

    Luce Cinecitta and The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco present
    The 1st edition of
    CINEMA ITALIAN STYLE
    November 22 - 24, 2019
    At the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco


    FORUM THREAD

    LINKS TO REVIEWS:
    INVISIBLE WITNESS, THE /IL TESTIMONE INVISIBLE (Giuseppe Mordini 2018)
    ORDINARY HAPPINESS/MOMENTI DI TRASCURABILE FELICITA (Daniele Luchetti 2019)
    TRAITOR, THE /IL TRADITORE (Marco Bellocchio 2019)
    VICE OF HOPE, THE/ IL VIZIO DELLA SPERANZA (Edoardo De Angelis 2018)
    VIVERE (Francesca Archibugi 2019)
    VOLARE/TUTTO IL MIO FOLLE AMORE (Gabriele Salvatores 2019)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-24-2019 at 06:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,309

    THE TRAITOR/IL TRADITORE (Marco Bellocchio 2019)

    MARCO BELLOCCHIO: THE TRAITOR/IL TRADITORE (2019)

    [Originally published for the New York Film Festival.]


    PIERFRANCESCO FAVINO AS TOMMASO BUSCETTA IN THE TRAITOR

    For the Italians, a national epic; for us, a sprawling gangster movie with a weird trial sequence

    Marco Belloccio's The Traitor seeks to depict the real life of Sicilian gangster Tommaso Buscetta, the so-called "boss of the two worlds." He is important because he was the first major mafia informant in Italy in the 1980's. The movie dramatizes with mind-blowing accuracy Bruscetta's trial as "il primo grade pentito di Mafia," the first high ranking Mafioso "penitent one" or state's witness, or traditore, ("traitor") in the eyes of the Cosa Nostra. This film is very highly regarded in Italy (see Paolo Casella in MyMovies or Federico Girone in ComingSoon, two big Italian movie sites) and was in Competition at Cannes. Anglophone critics have found it impressive in scope, but in some ways underwhelming. To us it seems somewhat bogged down from the start by an over-abundance of detail, such as a long initial sequence of horrific, loud, violent moments showing assassinations, accompanied by a roll call of flowery Italian names.

    Because this is different, more "documentary," though not in the least lacking in the elements of gangster grand opera, The Traitor may seem, to Anglos, ultimately lacking in the flair of the director's other works, such as his muted, haunting 2003 Aldo Moro kidnapping drama Good Morning, Night or his energetic and beautiful fascist biopic Vincere (NYFF 2009). And this is not to mention possible overshadowing by the famous early career-making Belloccio films of the Sixties, Fists in the Pocket and China Is Near, the latter celebrated by Pauline Kael as "one of the most astonishing directorial debuts in the history of movies."

    The Traitor covers twenty years, skipping most of Bruscetta's early career as a Mafia princeling. It falls into sections, dominated by its make-or-break testimony and trail segment. After the assassinations sequence shows off Cosa Nostra violence, we see Bruscetta move to Brazil, to get away from that and to run crime operations in Rio with his family and Brazilian wife. He leaves behind his two adult sons, one of whom is a heroin addict; it's a decision he regrets after they are both killed by his enemies. But in Brazil he is arrested and tortured. A flashy scene shows him in one helicopter and his wife dangling from another as the cops try to loosen him up by threatening to drop her.

    He goes back to Italy and reluctantly, more to save his family than out of any "repentance" (and he rejects all titles for what he's doing), he begins testifying to Judge Giovanni Falcone (Fausto Russo Alesi). This happens in a series of private sessions and is the film's key relationship. Pierfrancesco Favino, the longtime character actor who plays Bruscetta with enigmatic grandeur, made a point in the NYFF Q&A of repeatedly insisting (in his excellent English) that Falcone is the hero of this story, not Bruscetta; that the men of the Cosa Nostra are evil, stupid fellows. Bruscetta himself hereafter cherishes his relationship with Falcone - whose courage in pursuing this case will lead later to his death in an explosion in a car (duly depicted). In time Bruscetta is given a roommate in his spacious prison accommodations, Totuccio Contorno (an excellent, low-keyed Luigi Lo Cascio), another high-ranking mafioso joining the ranks of pentiti.

    Next, after Bruscetta is provided with his choice of tailored suits (with a chance meeting at the tailor's with the soon-to-be-tried "Il Divo" Giulio Andreotti), comes the trial. This is what makes The Traitor special. It seems to a non-Italian operatic, chaotic, absurd: but it not only follows transcripts and extensive films of the events, but was able to be shot in the actual huge courtroom where the trial took place. The "cross-examinations" where mafiosi abuse and accuse each other are wild, crazy macho stuff. Bruscetta, this first time (he will return from witness protection later for a repeat performance), is in a glass cage in the middle, while lesser prisoners are in metal cages along the side.

    After this, which results in the sentencing of hundreds of mafiosi, Bruscetta joins his family in the US, in witness protection in various locations from Florida to New England to Colorado. This is interesting too, for its detail, the taste of danger he always felt, though, we learn, he died in his bed as he had wanted, at 71 - but this is also anti-climactic, the stuff of documentary, not of drama.

    For Italians we have to remember the story of Tommaso Bruscetta is a great national epic, some kind of partial rite of purification from a long, dark past. For us the movie is more of a mixed bag, with too many digressions to make well-structured drama. The craft and the acting are impeccable, though, and often impressive.

    Another important point noted by Bellocchio in his NYFF Q&A (speaking in crystal-clear Italian) but lost to anglophone-only viewers, is that much of the dialogue of the film is in Sicilian dialect that is subtitled in Italian when the film is shown in Italy. He can't understand Sicilian himself. Most Italians can't. This important alienation effect is lost for the US audience, since the Sicilian dialogue simply gets the same English subtitles as the Italian. Bruscetta tries to elevate himself by speaking a mixture of Sicilian and Italian (with some Portuguese, which he speaks always with his wife), but Contorno repeatedly points out that he cannot speak Italian. Awareness of this might help us understand a little better that Cosa Nostra is an alien empire, a strange and powerful cancer on the Italian state.

    The Traitor/Il traditore, 145 mins., debuted in competition at Cannes with simultaneous Italian release; nine other festivals listed including Toronto and New York, screened at the latter for this review. Bought by Sony it's scheduled for US release Jan. 31, 2020. Current Metascore based on eight reviews: 57%. Highly regarded in Italy.

    Opening night Cinema Italian Style, Nov. 22,2019, Vogue Theater, San Francisco.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-23-2019 at 10:42 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,309

    THE INVISIBLE WITNESS/IL TESTIMONE INVISIBLE (Giuseppe Mordini 2018)

    GIUSEPPE MORDINI: THE INVISIBLE WITNESS/IL TESTIMONE INVISIBLE (2018)


    MIRIAM LEONE, RICARDO SCAMARCIO IN /IL TESTIMONE INVISIBLE

    No spoilers

    A man (Ricardo Scamarcio) accused of the murder of his mistress (Miriam Leone), who's been found bludgeoned with him in a locked room. He testifies at length, with lengthy illustrative flashbacks that make up much of the film,) to a woman trial lawyer (Maria Paiato) who's never lost a case and says she will get him out of jail time. His story uncovers another crime involving a collision and a deer in the hilly lakeside Trentino region, the accused and mistress in one car, a young man apparently dead in the other. A coverup; another driver; a chance encounter with the dead young man's parents; blackmail; deception; surprise twists; an unmasking Ó la Brian De Palma follow.

    This is a tightly paced entertainment that holds your attention throughout but, with its absurdity and plot holes, loses your credulity early. Unlike the pair in Giuseppe Capotondi's NIC 2010 hit : The Double Hour/La dopia ora (2009), this couple has no chemistry (they're both married and he's an award-winning entrepreneur) and the action feels canned. However you may enjoy staying one step ahead of the plot. You will stay even further ahead if you've seen Oriol Paulo's 2017 Spanish more logically titled Spanish mystery thriller Contratiempo, of which this is a remake. The Italian screenplay was adapted by Mordini with Massimiliano Cantoni from Oriol Paulo's original one. Like many other Italian films today, The Invisible Witness is well crafted but takes no chances.

    Italy, 2018, 102 min., opened in Italy Dec. 2018. It has shown in two festivals, Seattle and Leiden.

    Showing Friday, November 22, 9:00 pm in Cinema Italian Style in San Francisco, at the Vogue Theater.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-24-2019 at 01:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,309

    VIVERE (Francesca Archibugi 2019)

    FRANCESCA ARCHIBUGI: VIVERE (2019)


    ADRIANI GIANNINI, ALISA MICCOLI, ANDREA CALIGARI

    Family loyalty, Roman style

    There is not a lot to add to the Cineropa review, which is translated from the Italian of Camillo De Marco. The Attorres are a dysunctional, miserable family living in a multi-level bungalow on the outskirts of Rome. SusI (Micaela Ramazzotti) is a failed ballet dancer reduced to teaching a dance class for overweight women. She herself suffers from a low self-image and feeling sorry for herself. Lucilla (Elisa Miccoli) is her 7-year-old, who has severe asthma - but is it mostly psychosomatic, and worsened by the meds and inhalers forced on her by her parents? Her father is the equally sad-sack, self-pitying Luca (Adriano Giannini), a free lance journalist who makes up stuff to get lots of hits. He still depends on his former father-in-law, De Santis (Enrico Montesano), a wealthy and corrupt lawyer whose liaison is Luca's son by De Santis' daughter, 17-year-old Pierpaolo (Andrea Calligari), the most together person on screen and also a cool new actor with good energy and timing. Pierpaolo likes cocaine, but it's a teenager thing. He steals money to pay Luca's rent from his mother, Azzurra (Valentina Cervi), Luca's estranged wife, because De Santis won't support Luca any more. Whenever Pierpaolo is on screen there is a moment of sanity and alertness otherwise missing.

    Action is stirred up by the arrival of an Irish au pair girl, Mary Ann (Roisin O'Donovan), who comes to take care of Lucilla, but being a naive Catholic girl, lets Luca get into her pants. Of course, she gets pregnant. But she soon realizes Luca is a loser, and Susi helps her get an abortion. She takes her Italian exams and goes back to Galway. Susi gets her fling, a romantic flirtation with an expensive specialist, Dr. Marinoni (Massimo Ghini), a lonely widower she takes Lucilla to for a drug-free asthma cure based on Buteyko-like breathing methods.

    A nerdy neighbor completes the cast. He is industrial expert known as Perind, played Marcello Fonte, the odd-looking star of Garrone's Dogman, who won the Cannes Best Actor prize. When the camera gets close to him near the end, it's creepy. As Camillo De Marco puts it, "the circle closes" (oh, is that what it is?) when De Santis is found dead of a heart attack in the bed of a Brazilian transgender prostitute to whom he spilled all so she knows the family and says, when he appears, "You must be Luca: a loser and a bit of a prick." (The screenplay likes to spell things out thrice over.)

    Luca’s paper tempts him with a chair in the newsroom and benefits if he will write a series of exposÚs spilling the beans about his father-in-law's nefarious dealings. But for a change he does the right thing and refuses to expose his indirect benefactor and his family. That makes sense, I guess. But what I can't quite grasp is why director Archibugi and screenwriter Francesco Piccolo care about all these people, or why we should do so. There isn't enough wit, emotion, or storytelling skill on display in this film to justify our time.

    Vivere ("To Live"), 103 min., debuted out of competition at Venice, Aug. 2019, Italian theatrical release Sept. , Chicago Film Festival Oct.

    Showing in "Cinema Italian Style" at the Vogue Theater, San Francisco, 3 p.m. Saturday, November 23, 2019.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-23-2019 at 10:42 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,309

    VOLARE/TUTTO IL MIO FOLLE AMORE (Gabriele Salvatores 2019)

    GABRIELE SALVATORES: VOLARE/TUTTO IL MIO FOLLE AMORE (2019)


    GIULIO PRANNO AND CLAUDIO SANTAMARIA IN VOLARE/TUTTO IL MIO FOLLE AMORE

    Man child and boy child on walkabout

    In Salvatores' excellent I'm Not Afraid/Io non ho paura (2003), adapted from a popular novel, we enter the world of a boy in a remote location who discovers the hiding place of a kidnapped boy his same age. It plays effectively with wildness, fear, and invisibility. In The Invisible Boy / Il ragazzo invisibile (2014) the focus is a misfit boy who discovers a superpower - invisibility. Now, in Volare/Tutto il mio folle amore, the focus is the 16-year old Vincent (the explosive Giulio Pranno), a very visible and very unruly wild child who is autistic. His long absent father Willi (Claudio Santamaria) appears and Vincent stows away on his father's truck when he drives to a singing gig in Slovenia and Croatia and a bond develops between the wild boy and his disreputable dad. Meanwhile Willi's ex-girlfriend Elena (Valeria Golino), Vincent's mom, and her staid, guru-like older current partner, Mario (Diego Abatantuono), try to figure out how to get Vincent back and go on a road trip to find him.

    The film turns into a buddy picture, a road move, an adventure. Vincent, a blond boy-child, is a goofy idiot savant who talks in baby talk but knows things. He's a fantasy, not a realistic example of autism, rather a notion of how charming it might be not to play by any of the rules. Sure, it's feel-good nonsense, but Salvatores has flair. He works magic with gypsies and sunsets. Young Giulio Pranno, who seems to be making it up from one minute to the next, takes us along on his wild fantasy trip.

    Volare/Tutto il mio folle amore, 97 min., debuted out of competition at Venice, released in Italy Oct. 24.

    Cinema Italian Style 2019, Vogue Theater, San Francisco Saturday, November 23, 6:00 pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-24-2019 at 05:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,309

    THE VICE OF HOPE/ IL VIZIO DELLA SPERANZA (Edoardo De Angelis 2018)

    EDOARDO DE ANGELIS: THE VICE OF HOPE/IL VIZIO DELLA SPERANZA (2018)


    [B]PINA TURCO IN THE VICE OF HOPE[/B]

    [PREVIEW]

    The Vice of Hope
    Il vizio della speranza
    DIR: Edoardo De Angelis Italy, 2018, 96 min
    Sunday, November 24, 5:00 pm
    Edoardo De Angelis, director of the critically acclaimed Indivisible, returns to the Neapolitan coastal area with the beautifully told tale of Maria (Pina Turco), a young woman forced by economic circumstances to work as a trafficker of paid surrogate mothers, transporting them clandestinely along the Volturno river. But when one of the pregnant women disappears, Maria is threatened by her complicated boss, Zi’Mari (Maria Confalone) and has to find the missing woman. Accompanied by her trusty pit bull, Maria encounters a world of wide-open spaces but narrowing choices. CAST: Pina Turco, Massimiliano Rossi, Marina Confalone, Cristina Donadio, Marcello Romolo

    De Angelis is remembered for the 2016 Indivisible, about conjoined female wins, which I reviewed briefly in a New York movie journal. The new film was reviewed by Deborah Young in Hollywood Reporter .
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-24-2019 at 05:53 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,309

    ORDINARY HAPPINESS/MOMENTI DI TRASCURABILE FELICITA (Daniele Luchetti 2019)

    DANIELE LUCHETTI: ORDINARY HAPPINESS/MOMENTI DI TRASCURABILE FELICIT└ (2019)


    PIF (LEFT) IN ORDINARY HAPPINESS

    A plea for mindfulness

    I remember Daniele Luchetti's 2007 My Brother Is an Only Child (Il mio fratello Ŕ figlio unico), which I saw in Paris. It showcased the blue-eyed heartthrob Ricardo Scamarcio and whatever its shortcomings (and it had them), its depiction of the sibling conflicts in a working class Italian leftist family in the Sixties and Seventies seemed interesting enough to warrant recommending to "anyone interested in Italy and its modern history." Luchetti has now waxed philosophical and gives us an old fashioned fantasy about life and death. It features a forty-something Palermo husband and father, Paolo (Pierfrancesco Diliberto, known as Pif) who dies in a Vespa accident and goes to heaven, where its elderly bureaucrats (in brocade jacket uniforms) give him a brief reprieve on a technicality, during which time he gets to review his life in flashbacks, visual quotes, and voiceover and consider the preciousness of time and the importance of love and family.

    Pif, by the way, appeared in the lighthearted The Mafia Kills Only in Summer (Open Roads 2014), and is an engaging, laid-back presence. This helps carry us through a sequence of scenes that doesn't always seem very logical. On the one hand, calling attention to the value of mindfulness in all the moments of our short/long lives (life is very long, and also much too short) and making us aware of the passage of time, is a worthwhile message. On the other hand, this narrative cheats from one scene to the next. Luchetti provides sumptuous settings. Palermo seems a gorgeous place of grand buildings and airy spaces. The run time is skimpy - and exactly Paolo's reprieve time on earth: 93 minutes. This is a delightful little film that does snot overstay its welcome.

    The screenplay is based, perhaps rather freely, on a novel by Francesco Piccolo.

    Ordinary Happiness/Momenti di trascurabile felicitÓ , 93 mins.

    Cinema Italian Style 2019, Vogue Theater, San Francisco Sunday, November 24, 2019 7:30 pm (Closing Night Film)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-24-2019 at 05:55 PM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •