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Thread: Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at Lincoln Center 2023

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    Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at Lincoln Center 2023

    Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at Lincoln Center 2023

    FESTIVAL THREAD


    The Hummingbird, photo: Courtesy Cinecittà

    Series June 1-8, 2023 announced by Film at Lincoln Center and Cinecittà

    LINKS TO REVIEWS:
    Chiara (Susanna Nicchiarelli, 2022)
    Delta (Michele Vannucci, 2022)
    Dry/Siccità (Paolo Virzì, 2022)
    Fireworks/Stranizza d'amuri (Giuseppe Fiorello, 2023)
    Hummingbird, The/Il Colibrì (Francesca Archibugi, 2022) OPENING FILM
    Like Turtles/Come le tartarughe (Monica Dugo, 2022)
    Lord of the Ants/Il signore delle formiche (Gianni Amelio, 2022)
    Margins/Margini (Niccolò Falsetti 2022)
    My Summer with the Shark/Denti da squalo (Davide Gentile, 2023) WORLD PREMIERE
    Princess (Roberto De Paolis, 2022)
    Strangeness/La stranezza (Roberto Andò, 2022)
    Leopardi/Leopardi: il giovane favoloso (Mario Martone, 2014)
    Nostalgia (Mario Martone, 2022)
    Troubling Love/L'amore molesto (Mario Martone, 1995)


    FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
    All films are in Italian with English subtitles unless otherwise noted,
    and will screen at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th Street NYC).


    Opening Night
    The Hummingbird/Il Colibrì
    Francesca Archibugi, 2022, Italy/France, 126m
    Italian with English subtitles
    TRAILER

    Adapted from Sandro Veronesi’s Strega Prize-winning bestselling 2019 novel of the same title, Francesca Archibugi’s latest feature is at once epic and intimate, a fragmentary chronicle of love and familial ups and downs that spans six decades and three generations. A psychologist (played by Nanni Moretti) walks into the office of married doctor Marco (Pierfrancesco Favino) and begins insistently grilling Marco (whose wife is in treatment with him, as it turns out) about his current relationship with a childhood love, Luisa (Bérénice Bejo). This inaugurates a kaleidoscopic, time-skipping journey through Marco and Luisa’s lives that sophisticatedly, movingly maps the ties that bind people together. Boasting an all-star cast (including Laura Morante, Kasia Smutniak, and Sergio Albelli), The Hummingbird is a richly emotional and enveloping examination of the human heart across time. Quinlin review. Screen Daily review. Review of the novel by Sandro Veronesi.
    Thursday, June 1 at 7:00pm (Q&A with Francesca Archibugi)
    Wednesday, June 7 at 6:00pm


    Chiara
    Susanna Nicchiarelli, 2022, Italy/Belgium, 106m
    Italian and Latin with English subtitles

    TRAILER

    The life of Saint Clare of Assisi—a onetime follower of Saint Francis, himself memorably depicted in films by Rossellini, Pasolini, Liliana Cavani, and Michael Curtiz—is inventively rendered in the latest from Susanna Nicchiarelli. Portrayed by Margherita Mazzucco (of HBO’s My Brilliant Friend), Chiara leaves her wealthy family to take a vow of poverty and join Francis and his followers, but it isn’t long before the young woman evinces extraordinary, possibly divine abilities that lead to a devoted order popping up around her. But will the Vatican recognize her and her order, or will it hold fast to the new pope’s belief that “no woman can set an example for anyone”? Using fourth wall-breaking musical numbers to striking effect, Chiara is a bold and formally surprising historical drama about a bold and spiritually surprising figure.
    Friday, June 2 at 3:00pm (Q&A with actor Margherita Mazzucco)
    Wednesday, June 7 at 9:00pm


    Delta
    Michele Vannucci, 2022, Italy, 105m
    Italian and Romanian with English subtitles

    TRAILER

    Something like a backwater noir cum Western, Michele Vannucci’s second feature is set on the Po Delta in northern Italy, where tensions are rising among the small community that calls it home. Threatened by industrial waste being dumped into the river and by fish poachers using electrical currents to wreak havoc on its delicate marine ecosystem, this area becomes the staging ground for antagonism between lifelong native fisherman Elia (Alessandro Borghi) and wildlife warden Osso (Luigi Lo Cascio). Vannucci unravels the conflict between the two men deliberately and with a mesmerizingly low-key air of suspense, sketching a showdown between tradition and modernity in which, by design, it’s seldom clear which side is which. A Grøenlandia production that premiered at Locarno Aug. 7, 2022, it has done poorly at the Italian box offic since its March 23, 2023 release, says Quinlan.
    Sunday, June 4 at 2:30pm (Q&A with Michele Vannucci)
    Tuesday, June 6 at 3:00pm


    Dry/Siccità
    Paolo Virzì, 2022, Italy, 97m
    Italian with English subtitles

    TRAILER (no subtitles)

    An imagined three-year drought serves as the point of departure for the latest by Paolo Virzì, a satirical ensemble drama that features a top-notch cast (including Silvio Orlando, Valerio Mastandrea, Monica Bellucci, Vinicio Marchioni, Claudia Pandolfi, Sara Serraiocco, and others) and a clever way with social critique. Co-written by The Hummingbird director Francesca Archibugi and set in Rome, Dry follows a constellation of self-absorbed characters as the drought and subsequent water shortage take their toll on the city’s populace, exacerbating socioeconomic tensions and perhaps suggesting the imminent end of days. Virzì slyly observes these sometimes likable, sometimes repellent people as their paths cross amid the semi-apocalyptic circumstances, ultimately arriving at a wryly ironic film about the post-Covid world and the vanity of humans in the face of global catastrophe. (The Quinlan review by Elisa Battistini compares this film to Robert Altman's Short Cuts.)
    Friday, June 2 at 6:00pm (Q&A with actor Tomasso Ragno)
    Thursday, June 8 at 3:00pm


    Fireworks/Stranizza d'amuri
    Giuseppe Fiorello, 2023, Italy, 134m
    Italian with English subtitles
    TRAILER
    (no subtitles)

    Set in Sicily in 1982, Giuseppe Fiorello’s debut feature chronicles the budding romance between teenagers Gianni (Samuele Segreto) and Nino (Gabriele Pizzurro) in an era inhospitable to their love. Gianni is frequently bullied due to his homosexuality; after a chance encounter leads to his meeting Nino and being hired by Nino’s father, the two boys forge a friendship that slowly but surely mutates into something more. Their bond is soon uncovered by their families, and the promise of tragedy grows to seem all but certain. Based on a true story and drawing from the sensitive performances of its two lead actors, Fireworks is a moving and deeply felt examination of the painful moments that produce political change. A Cinephobia Releasing release. Quinlan review by Massimiliano Schiavoni points out where the film is accurate and where it isn't.
    Thursday, June 1 at 3:30pm (Q&A with Giuseppe Fiorello)
    Tuesday, June 6 at 6:00pm


    Like Turtles/Come le tartarughe
    Monica Dugo, 2022, Italy, 82m
    Italian with English subtitles
    TRAILER

    Actress Monica Dugo makes her directorial feature debut in this tragicomic chronicle of a family’s dissolution. Dugo stars as Lisa, who lives in the historic center of Rome with her husband, Daniele (Angelo Libri), and their two children (Romana Maggiora Vergano and Francesco Gheghi). This ostensibly perfect family unit is thrown into upheaval when Daniele abruptly empties his side of his and Lisa’s wardrobe and leaves them, and Lisa copes with the emotional devastation by climbing into the wardrobe and refusing to come out. The children struggle to make sense of this very strange new normal and Lisa confronts past and future alike from within her cramped new quarters, as Dugo depicts the curious ways in which life manages to go on. (L'Occhio del cineasta review.)
    Sunday, June 4 at 5:30pm (Q&A with Monica Dugo)

    Lord of the Ants/Il signore delle formiche
    Gianni Amelio, 2022, Italy, 134m
    Italian with English subtitles

    TRAILER

    The latest from a perennial Open Roads presence, the great Gianni Amelio, finds the director rendering the life of another artist: the poet/playwright Aldo Braibanti, who was jailed in 1968 under a Fascist-era anti-homosexuality law after it was revealed that he was living with a younger male lover. Magnetically portrayed by Luigi Lo Cascio, Braibanti finds himself enmeshed in scandal when his lover’s father informs on him (and sets his son on a tragic program of electroshock therapy to "cure" his aberrant sexuality). As the intellectual awaits trial, he is visited by a journalist (Elio Germano) who is anxious to tell the real story. A masterfully executed biopic that looks to the past for a political roadmap of our fraught present, Lord of the Ants is a stirring portrait of a key moment in Italian LGBTQ+ history.(The review in Quinlan by Raffaele Meale points out how much the film distorts the actual events and their context.)
    Monday, June 5 at 6:00pm
    Wednesday, June 7 at 3:00pm


    Margins/Margini
    Niccolò Falsetti 2022 Italy 91 minutes Italian with English subtitles
    Q&A with Niccolò Falsetti
    2022, Italy, 91m
    Italian with English subtitles
    TRAILER

    A punk band finds itself in a sticky situation in Niccolò Falsetti’s charming and funny debut feature. Set in Grosseto in 2008, the film follows three bandmates (Emanuele Linfatti, Matteo Creatini, and Francesco Turbanti) as they receive the biggest opportunity of their short careers, opening for the American hardcore band The Defense at a gig in Bologna. When the concert is canceled, the penniless punks bite off more than they can chew, inviting The Defense to play a make-up show in Grosseto and setting in motion a chain of events wherein the boys will discover just how in over their heads they truly are. A lively comedy about the messes we’ll make for ourselves just for a chance to live out our dreams, Margins is a cinematic love letter to punk rock. (Quinlan review of Margins by Raffaele Reale.)
    Sunday, June 4 at 12:00pm (Q&A with Niccolò Falsetti)

    Princess
    Roberto De Paolis, 2022, Italy, 111m]
    English and Italian with English subtitles

    TRAILER (English with Italian subtitles)

    The lives of immigrants who must do sex work to make ends meet receive an eminently surprising, by turns comic and dead-serious treatment in Roberto De Paolis’s sophomore feature. (His first was the Open Roads 2018 Cuori puri.) The 19-year-old title character (indelibly, charismatically portrayed by first-time actor Glory Kevin) hustles in a forest on the outskirts of Rome alongside her friend/professional rival Success and lives with a group of other Nigerian women in a makeshift encampment. While making her rounds, Princess encounters a kindly yet misanthropic stranger (Lino Musella) foraging for mushrooms, inaugurating an unanticipated friendship—maybe more?—that could potentially offer her a chance at social assimilation. Eschewing sentimentality and self-seriousness for a more original, playful engagement with its weighty subject, Princess was written by De Paolis in consultation with real-life Nigerian migrant sex workers, several of whom appear as themselves.
    Friday, June 2 at 8:30pm (Q&A with Roberto De Paolis)

    My Summer with the Shark/Denti da squalo
    Davide Gentile, 2023, Italy, 104m
    Italian with English subtitles
    TRAILER
    (no subtitles)

    Davide Gentile’s debut feature is a surprising and original coming-of-age story in which the mysteries of youth and the oneiric power of cinema intermingle to paint a young man’s inner journey. Thirteen-year-old Walter (Tiziano Menichelli) is off from school for the summer and is mourning the recent death of his father; idly wandering the Roman coast, he becomes transfixed by a seemingly abandoned villa and its grand swimming pool. But it turns out this fascinating villa isn’t so vacant after all, and an utterly dreamy adventure ensues. Also starring Claudio Santamaria, Virginia Raffaele, and Edoardo Pesce.
    Saturday, June 3 at 8:30pm (Q&A with Davide Gentile)

    Strangeness/La stranezza
    Roberto Andò, 2022, Italy, 103m
    Italian with English subtitles
    TRAILER

    The inspiration behind one of modern Italian theater’s greatest and most iconoclastic works is imaginatively staged in Roberto Andò’s 12th feature. Toni Servillo stars as Nobel Prize-winning playwright Luigi Pirandello, who, on a trip to his native Sicily in 1920 following many years away, encounters a pair of gravediggers/aspiring actors, Onofrio and Sebastiano (comedy duo Salvo Ficarra and Valentino Picone), whose hilariously, charmingly amateurish nightly stage productions stir Pirandello out of a creative blockage and help him to arrive at the idea for what will ultimately become his signature work. Strangeness is a delightfully irreverent tribute to the curious inspirations underlying creative achievement and, as Andò notes, is "a film about theater which examines the audience, too." (There are earlier Filmleaf reviews of two other Roberto Andò films, Secret Journey (2006) and Long Live Freedom (2013, also with Servillo), at Open Roads 20o7 and 2014, respectively.)
    Sunday, June 4 at 8:00pm
    Thursday, June 8 at 12:30pm


    Focus on Mario Martone

    One of the key Italian filmmakers of the past 40 years, Mario Martone has completed 17 features since his 1992 theatrical feature debut, Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician/Morte di un matematico napoletano. Martone’s work is distinguished by its rich portraits of Naples and the lives of its current and former inhabitants, a desire to explore Italian history, and magnificent performances from his actors, befitting Martone’s parallel career as a theater director. (Indeed, prior to becoming a filmmaker, Martone worked in experimental theater.) His varied oeuvre includes shorts, TV movies, and documentaries, and each new addition to his filmography marks something of an event in Italian cinema. At this year’s Open Roads, we pay homage to Martone (a perennial presence in the festival’s lineup) by showcasing his most recent fiction film, Nostalgia, alongside two essential works from earlier in his career: 1995’s Troubling Love/L'amore molesto, (co-written with Elena Ferrante) and 2014’s Leopardi.

    Leopardi/Leopardi: il giovane favoloso
    Mario Martone, 2014, Italy, 143m
    Italian, Greek, and French with English subtitles

    TRAILER

    Mario Martone 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 he 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 5 at 9:00pm

    Nostalgia
    Mario Martone, 2022, Italy/France, 117m
    Italian with English subtitles

    (Nostalgia was reviewed in Filmleaf Jan. 19, 2023.)
    TRAILER

    The past asserts itself in the present in the latest fiction feature from Mario Martone, a richly traced, Naples-set drama about a man’s return to the city in which he grew up and the skeletons in the closet that he rediscovers upon arrival. Pierfrancesco Favino stars as Felice, who has been away from Italy for 40 years, having emigrated to Egypt, where he now has a successful construction business and is happily married. He reunites with his mother, whose health is rapidly declining, and soon crosses paths with a figure from his past, Oreste (Tomasso Ragno), who has, in his absence, become the old neighborhood’s top crime boss. Favino is utterly mesmerizing as a man haunted by a past that is drifting ever more into obscurity while at the same time manifesting itself tragically in the here and now. A Breaking Glass Pictures release.
    Saturday, June 3 at 5:30pm (Q&A with actor Tomasso Ragno)

    Troubling Love/L'amore molesto
    Mario Martone, 1995, Italy, 104m
    Italian with English subtitles
    TRAILER

    Among Mario Martone’s signature films is this 1995 thriller, co-written with and adapted from [the first published[ novel of Elena Ferrante. A Neapolitan artist named Delia (Anna Bonaiuto), who has been living in Bologna, returns home to Naples following the sudden suicide of her mother. But Delia has her doubts about the official account of her mother’s death, and she sets about trying to find out what her mother was up to in the preceding years, leading her down a dark, labyrinthine path in search of the truth. Troubling Love captured three David Di Donatello Awards in 1995—Best Actress for Bonaiuto, Best Director for Martone, and Best Supporting Actress for Angela Luce as Delia’s mother. [The title has also been translated as "Nasty Love."]
    Tuesday, June 6 at 9:00pm

    CINECITTÀ

    Cinecittà is the state-owned company whose main shareholder is the Italian Ministry of Culture. It holds one of the most important European film and photographic archives, Istituto Luce, inscribed by UNESCO in the registry "Memory of the World."

    Cinecittà’s institutional work includes the promotion of Italian cinema, through projects presented in collaboration with the most relevant cultural institutions of the world: the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, UCLA, University of Berkeley, MoMA, British Film Institute, Institut Français, Cinémathèque Française and many others. Cinecittà cooperates with major film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Shanghai, Tokyo, Locarno, New York, London, Haifa and many others, by organizing national selections, guaranteeing the presence of Italian films and artists, and providing multifunctional spaces to help the promotion of our cinematography. It is also involved with the direct organization of numerous Film Festivals around the world: The Italian Film Festival in Tokyo, Cinema Italian Style in Los Angeles, Open Roads – New Italian Cinema in New York, The Festival of Italian Cinema of Barcelona, London and many others.

    The company also owns a film library with around 3000 titles subtitled in foreign languages for the promotion of Italian culture at major Institutes around the world, also in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Restorations and new prints are added every year.

    Since July 2017, Cinecittà has been also managing the legendary Cinecittà Studios (founded in 1937), where Federico Fellini’s films have been filmed. Cinecittà Studios are the perfect location for high profile productions.

    FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER

    Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

    Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; and the presentation of podcasts, talks, special events, and artist initiatives. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned Lincoln Center arts complex, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-07-2023 at 09:24 PM.

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    Trailers

    Trailers, most with English subtitles, have been added to the thumbnail reviews of the Italian series above. Note: the Italian word for "trailer" is "trailer."

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    Open Roads: New Italian Cinema 2021
    LIST OF THE FILMS

    Chiara (Susanna Nicchiarelli, 2022)
    Delta (Michele Vannucci, 2022)
    Dry/Siccità (Paolo Virzì, 2022)
    Fireworks/Stranizza d'amuri (Giuseppe Fiorello, 2023)
    Hummingbird, The/Il Colibrì (Francesca Archibugi, 2022)
    Like Turtles/Come le tartarughe (Monica Dugo, 2022)
    Lord of the Ants/Il signore delle formiche (Gianni Amelio, 2022)
    Margins/Margini (Niccolò Falsetti 2022)
    My Summer with the Shark/Denti da squalo (Davide Gentile, 2023)
    Princess (Roberto De Paolis, 2022)
    Strangeness/La stranezza (Roberto Andò, 2022)
    Leopardi (Mario Martone, 2014)
    Nostalgia (Mario Martone, 2022)
    Troubling Love/L'amore molesto (Mario Martone, 1995)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-25-2023 at 09:57 AM.

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    Open Roads: New Italian Cinema 2023

    TEASER-TRAILER FOR THE WHOLE SERIES: HERE
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-25-2023 at 10:02 AM.

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    THE HUMMINGBIRD/IL COLIBRÌ (Francesca Archibugi 2022)

    This adaptation of Sandro Veronesi’s Strega Prize-winning novel hops back and forth between five decades of a man's life. It's hard to keep up Pierfrancesco Favino admirably plays a protagonist forever wavering between two women. A swirling tale of unfulfillment. I had trouble keeping up.

    Opening night film of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema's 2023 edition
    Thursday, June 1 at 7:00pm (Q&A with Francesca Archibugi)
    Wednesday, June 7 at 6:00pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-29-2023 at 12:04 PM.

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    CHIARA (Susanna Nicchiarelli 2022)

    Nicchiareli's life of the saint who was a companion of Saint Francis of Assisi breaks the fourth wall and includes sudden musical numbers. It surprises and engages and evokes Rossellini's Little Flowers and Pasolini's Gospel. Starring Margherita Mazzucco of My Brilliant Friend and Andrea Carpenzano of Boys Cry.

    Friday, June 2 at 3:00pm (Q&A with actor Margherita Mazzucco)
    Wednesday, June 7 at 9:00pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-29-2023 at 12:13 PM.

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    DRY/SICCITÀ (Paolo Virzì 2022)

    Using a "choral" technique as he has before Virzì this time presents a seriocomic panorama of a Rome where the river has turned to dust and everything is as crazy as ever, only more so, usually in the direction of ego and confusion. Only wanly recommended, but there are unquestionably some fine actors and some good scenes.

    Friday, June 2 at 6:00pm (Q&A with actor Tomasso Ragno)
    Thursday, June 8 at 3:00pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-29-2023 at 12:56 PM.

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    NOSTALGIA (Mario Martone 2022)

    OPEN ROADS is featuring Martone. This is his latest film, a 'you can't go home again' tale of a man who returns to Naples after 40 years abroad and thinks it will be fine. Pierfrancesco Favino is excellent in the lead role. Review published previously for the January release.

    SHOWN Saturday, June 3 at 5:30pm (Q&A with actor Tomasso Ragno)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-07-2023 at 09:31 PM.

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    DELTA (Michele Vannucci, 2022)

    Weaves a "Western" style duel to the death into a rich, sensual portrait of the foggy Po Delta region and its severe social and ecological changes. Go-for-broke performances by Alessandro Borghi and Luigi Lo Cascio.

    Sunday, June 4 at 2:30pm (Q&A with Michele Vannucci)
    Tuesday, June 6 at 3:00pm

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    MARGINS/MARGINI (Niccolò Falsetti 2022)

    This engaging and heartfelt film about three young men struggling to make a go of an Italian street punk band in 2008 is a tribute to youth and to togetherness in a nowhere provincial town.

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    FIREWORKS/STRANIZZA D'AMURI (Giuseppe Fiorello 2023)

    A gay love story set in Sicily, an infamous hate crime, a lasting political impact. Based on an atrocity in 1980 that led to founding of the leading Italian gay rights organization.

    Thursday, June 1 at 3:30pm (Q&A with Giuseppe Fiorello, Gabriele Pizurro, Samuele Segreto)
    Tuesday, June 6 at 6:00pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-02-2023 at 10:15 AM.

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    PRINCESS (Roberto De Paolis 2022)

    De Paolis began with 2017's PURE HEARTS, a raw, intense love story. He does something equally intense and more attention-getting and sociological here in following a colorful Nigerian prostitute working on the fringes of Rome, and he as rewarded, somewhat underhandedly perhaps, not with Competition status but with the opening film slot in the Venice "Horizons" section last year.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-02-2023 at 11:57 AM.

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    LIKE TURTLES/COME LE TARTARUGHE (Monnica Dugo 2022)

    Veteran Italian actress Monica Dugo's directorial and writing debut, starring her, depicts a woman who moves for a time into the family wardrobe (like a turtle hibernating in winter) after her husband and the father of their children leaves. A charming, whimsical, wise, if a bit fangless film.

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    STRANGENESS/LA STRANEZZA. (Roberto Andò 2022)

    Luigi Pirandello returns to Sicily and watching a vigorous amateur theater troupe is inspired to create his masterpiece SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR. Starring Toni Servillo and Sicilian comedy team Ficcara and PIcone.

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    LORD OF THE ANTS/IL SIGNORE DELLE FORMICHE (Gianni Amelio 2022)

    An important 1968 Rome trial about homosexuality (under the cover of "plagio" or mental domination) with three good actors, Luigi Lo Cassio, Elio Germano, and wonderful newcomer Leonardo Maltese. Not quite up to Amelio's best work but significant.

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