The list of Italian entries in the 68th International Film Festival in Venice ”Controcampo Italiano” have been publicised and I am trying to get the momentum up by hitting the accelerator with a vengeance. If you are looking to see the latest films produced in Italy you usually need to look to the big International Film Festivals such as London and dare I say it Moscow for a sizeable portion of films, both did us ever so proud during their last season, you will also do well checking out the Italian Film Festivals both in the UK, Australia and the States, the place to look last is inevitable Italy, where you will need to have the patience of a least two Saints one will just not do, Italian distributed is in a class of its own. Venice this year has gone all out with 7 new feature films, 6 documentaries and 7 shorts, they will all premier and they will all be in competition so I believe although that seem a bit exaggerated; let’s wait and see. There are also a number of interesting events not to be missed such as UN foglio bianco, A White Sheet directed by Maurizio Zaccaro, exciting stuff.
The 7 feature films are :
Scialla, Hello there (possible English title) directed by Francesco Bruni, it is his first feature with a great cast Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Barbora Bobulova, Filippo Scicchitano, Vinicio Marchioni, Giuseppe Guarino, Prince Manujibeya. We have a sad depressed professor and a teenager with trouble on his mind.
Maternity Blues directed by Fabrizio Cattani, here again an interesting cast in the shape of Andrea Osvart, Monica Birladeanu, Chiara Martegiani Marina Pennafina, Daniele Pecci, Pascal Zullino. Maternity Blues, I am hoping the title is giving it away.
Qualche nuvola, Some Clouds directed by Saverio di Biagio his very first feature staring Elio Germano with a great line-up Greta Scarano, Michele Alhaique, Primo Reggiani, Giorgio Colangeli, Aylin Prandi.
Cose dell’altro mondo, Things of this world directed by Francesco Patierno he too has a great cast Diego Abatantuono, Valerio Mastandrea, Valentina Lodovini, Sandra Collodel, Grazia Schiavo, Maurizio Donadoni.
Cavalli, Horses directed by Michele Rho again a first feature about horses, I am risking my reputation on this as there are little to nothing on the net about this film. Cast: Vinicio Marchioni, Michele Alhaique, Giulia Michelini, Thomas Trabacchi, Asia Argento, Andrea Occhipinti.
Tutta colpa della musica, Blame the Music directed by Ricky Tognazzi, I guess this is the one to keep your eye on, a star line-up if I ever saw one. Stefania Sandrelli, Ricky Tognazzi, Marco Messeri, Elena Sofia Ricci, Debora Villa, Monica Scattini.
L’arrivo di Wang, directed by Manetti Brothres starring Ennio Fantastichini e Francesca Cuttica a psychological fantasy-sci film.
The 6 Documentaries are :
Black Blok directed by Carlo Augusto Blacksmidt his very first.
Piazza Garibaldi directed by Davide Ferrario this doc has a number of well know stars, one not to be missed if you like me just love Luciana Littizzetto.
Pugni chiusi, Closed Fists directed by Fiorella Infascelli.
Out of Tehran directed by Monica Maggioni.
Pasta nera, Black Pasta directed by Alessandro Piva.
Quiproquo directed by Elisabetta Sgarbi again on to keep an eye on as it has a number of well know stars Franco Battiato, Nicoletta Braschi, Umberto Eco, Andrea Renzi.
The 7 Shorts are:
Il maestro, The Master directed by Maria Grazia Cucinotta staring Renato Scarpa and Giselda Volodi. I want to see this one her first venture off screen.
A chjàna directed by Jonas Carpignano staring Koudous Seihun and Cheik Baily Kane.
Alice directed by Roberto de Paolis staring Giulia Bevilacqua and Edoardo Pesce.
The Cricket directed by Stefano Lorenzi staring Birol Ünel and Edoardo Gabriellini.
Eco da luogo colpito, Echo from the Accected Area directed by Carlo Michele Schirinzi staring Francesca Cazzato and Matteo Fachechi.
Prove per un naufragio della parola, Testing the Word of a Shipwrecked directed by Elisabetta Sgarbi staring Fabrizio Gifuni and Sonia Bergamasco.
My Name is Sid directed by Giovanni Virgilo staring Alessio Vassallo, Liborio Natalia.
Special Events Screenings:
La Tratta, Trafficing directed by Barbara Cupisti a documentary.
Clado grigio, clado nero – Hot Grey, Hot Black directed by Marco Dentici a documentary.
Rudolf Jacobs, l’uomo che nacque morendo, The Man That Was Born Dying directed by Luigi M Faccini, staring Marina Piperno, Carlo Prussiani and Alessandro Cecchinelli this is a docu-fiction.
Andata e ritorno, Round trip directed by one of my favorit actersses Donatella Finocchiaro her first stab at directing a documentery.
Dai nostri inviati – La RAI racconta la Mostra del cinema 1968 – 1979, From our Correspondents - RAI tells the Venice Film Festival 1968 – 1979 directed by Giuseppe Giannotti, Enrico Salcatori and Davide Savelli. Documentary.
Pivano Blues – Sulla strada di Nanda, Pivano Blues, On the Road to Nanda directed by Teresa Marchesi staring some great musiocisians Fernanda Pivano, Patti Smith, Vasco Rossi, Luciano Ligabue one not to miss.
Schuberth – L’atelier della dolce vita, Schuberth – and the Workshop of the sweet life directed by Antonello Sarno. Documentery.
Hollywood Invasion directed by Marco Spagnoli. Documentary.
Un foglio bianco, A White Sheet directed by Maurizio Zaccaro a documentary staring Ermanno Olmi, Michael Lonsdale and Rutger Hauer.
El de los machetes linguaje directed by Kyzza Terrazas (Mexico)
Là-bas directed by Guido Lombardi (Italy)
The land of outragée directed by Michale Boganim (France-Ukraine)
Louise Wimmer directed by Cyril Mennegun (France)
Merécages directed by Edoin-Guy (Canada)
Totem directed by Jessica Krummacher (Germany)
Closing Film - Peace Mission directed by Francesco Lagi (Italy).
Out of competition in this section will be Scossa, Shock directed by Citto Maselli, Carlo Lizzani, Ugo Gregoretti e Nino Russo
Il villaggio di Cartone, The Carboard Village directed by Ermanno Olmi
Finally a short Venice 2011 directed by Pietro Marcello Marco Bellocchio
June is the month in Russia for International Film Festivals, St. Petersburg International Film Festival kicks off on the 23rd June and will finish on the 26th June 2011, they are not as excited about Italian films this year as the Moscow International Film Festival also kicking off on the 23rd of June 2011, now the Muscovites who are positively drooling over Italian Films at the moment are screening 15 feature films and 2 documentaries whoop, whoop.
St. Petersburg is a must see if you are in those parts of the wood, stunning buildings, gardens, castles and Museums are all plentiful, do not forget the Film Festival, I said they were not over excited, yet they have found 3 feature films to screen so lets again rejoice and lets hear it for the Петри and as always let show some style, lets leave a good impression.
Italian Films Are :
Baaria directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
Caravaggio directed by Angelo Longoni . TV will turned cinema, with great success
Le Quattro Volte, The Four Times directed by Michelangelo Frammartino,
This film is top of the league when it comes to Film Festivals and Awards for 2010, it has been shown at over 115 film festivals and it is still going strong, it has some 35 awards already and they will also increase as the year proceed. Yes, the film I did not like as I thought the continuity was terrible and I was bored and irritated because of it, I feel shame however I do always feel very very pleased for Frammartino though, it takes guts to shoot a film about old goats and a dying man, it has paid of and deservedly so.
Mario Monicelli, who committed suicide in November of 2010 by jumping from a hospital window at the age of 95 has a disgruntled wife, named Chiara Rapaccini. Rapaccini has with the help of a number of artists tried to sue Paola Binetti, who claimed Monicelli had killed himself as he had been abandoned by all his friends, she lost the case as Binetti claimed her right to immunity under Italian law. Rapaccini is not impressed and during a visit to the Bangkok’s Italian Film Festival MovieMov yesterday (09.06.2011) she expressed her wish to appeal, receiving a lot of applause and love from the room. Paola Binetti, is an Italian oddball, who was born on the 29 March 1943 in Rome, she studied medicine and surgery before going into politics, she has been involved with a number of parties during her very active time there, the latest being the UDC. Binetti, made headlines in Europe, when she in 2007 on live TV suggested that all gay and lesbians should seek medical help as she considered homosexuality an illness and that strong gay tendencies can lead to pedophilia, she is a member of Opus Dei a group believing in self-flagellation “forces us to reflect on the effort of living,” . Rapaccini, lost the case against Binetti as the latter claimed to have the right to receive immunity under Italian law, well there should be no surprise there really with our much-loved Berlusconi as leader amongst men, Binetti should be quite safe. Chiara Rapaccini is appealing, I hope it will not fall on deaf ears.
I love Rome, actually I love everything about Rome except the graffiti, most of all I love its cinemas, there are your big old buildings converted into Multiplexes with smaller screening rooms, there is a superb free cinema Casa del Cinema in Villa Borghese, although sadly they will have to start charging from 1st July 2011, as all cinemas ticket will attract 1 Euro in Tax from then onwards, then you have the smallest cinema in the world Cinema Dei Piccoli also in Villa Borghese showing children films and cartoons during the day followed by more adult material in the evening, already spoilt for choise, I think you are with me so far. Summer is here and so is L’Isola del Cinema found on L’Isola Tiberina, the most wonderful venue for an openair Cinema, there is no drive in you will need to cross an ancient bridge to get to it, worth going just for the brilliant atmosphere and gorgeous surroundings alone, grab a Melon Granita at the mobile bar by the bridge before the show, so your Italian is not red hot? OK, you can always catch a glimpse from the surrounding streets Lungo Tevere if you are out for a small romantic stole or doing an evening run. The first screening will be on the 16th June and will continue untill the 4th of September 2011, the programme is exciting with film both current and retro, the programme will be available from L’isola del Cinemas here.
There are no dress code however as you know the Italians like to ” Fare la Bella Figura” so make a little effort if you can and a word to the wise, leave the newly bought ode de perfume at the hotel, just bring a good mosquito spray instead, once you have settled in you will be seduced by the odour ” OFF’” or “CITRONELLA” and find it rather welcoming and very soothing once the Tigers starts hitting on you.
There is no such thing as a free lunch so they say, they might be right there, we do however have a fee Italian film festival kicking off in Bangkok on the 8th June finishing on the 12th June 2011. All films will be in Italian with both English and Thai subtitles and they are all free, gratis. Bangkok is a very exciting place with some awesome attractions, yet you might just find yourself feeling a little homesick even a little lost, so why not catch a film and support MovieMov 2011.
Here is a list of all films showing, most will see their Asian premier so lets rejoice and fill some seats, as always dress smart tracksuits are a big no no, you will have competition in Bangkok, the Thais are known for their elegance.
Films being shown for free are:
Manuale D’amore 3, The Three Stages of Love directed by Giovanni Veronesi
Una vita tranquilla, A Quiet Life directed by Cladio Cupellini
Mine Vaganti, Loose Cannons directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
Dieci Inverni, Ten Winters directed by Valerio Mieli
La Doppia Ora, The Double Hour directed by Giuseppe Capotondi
La Scuola e finita, School is over directed by Valerio Jalongo
Io sono amore, I Am Love directed by Luca Guadagnino
Special Screening of Vlazer, Waltz directed by Salvatore Maira
There is a special mini festival for Mario Monicelli the great Italian Director, who committed suicide in November last year at the age of 95. For a list of all his films and additional information please click here
There will be 7 films to see :
Guardie e Ladri, Cops and Robbers 1951
I soliti ignoti, Big Deal On Madonna Street 1958
La grande guerra, The Great War 1959
Amici miei, My Friends 1975
Un borghese piccolo piccolo, An Average Little Man 1981
Il marchese del grillo, The Marquese of Grillo 1981
Parenti serpenti, Dearest Relatives Poisonous Relations 1962
Lars von Trier, who could have cracked jokes about Bin Laden’s fish supper or even a small controversal jest about Israels continual slaughter of Palestinians, if he felt the need to be mischievous, wisecracks about Hitler is in serious bad taste, what was he thinking, perhaps he thought the term “Freedom of Speech” was on the Cannes menu?. I noticed his new film Melancholia remained in competition, wonder why the Cannes Organisers did not remove it too, ahhh yes it could of course be because good old Kirsty Dunst had made the effort across the pond and was getting The Best Actress Award “political correctness” did not stretch so far as to ban his film too, von Trier should have been left in Cannes to deal with the consequences of his sarcastic comments, more effective surely for him to be surrounded by his contemporaries and their wrath, than being sent packing in his car.
Here are a few interesting facts about Lars von Trier, this Danish Film director who never shy away from controversy, he was born in Denmark on the 30th April 1956, brought up by his mother Inger Trier a Communist and father Ulf Trier a Social Democrat and a Jew, although not practicing. On Inger Trier’s deathbed ten years after Ulf’s death, when Lars was 33 she informed him that his biological father was Fritz Michael Hartmann an ex-employer of hers with whom she had a fling. Lars von Trier has often made jokes about his changing heritage from Jew to Nazi, this was actually incorrect as Hartmann was a Danish Civil Servant and an active member of ”Frit Danmark” an underground resistance group fighting Hitler during the Second World War. Lars met with Hartmann his biological father only a few times until his father rejected him completely and refused all contact with him. Lars von Trier does not fly and has an enormous collection of phobias, he biggest being flying, all his films have been made in Denmark or Sweden even if they pretend to be shot in the USA. Lars von Trier has now driven back to Denmark and has made a number of interviews, where he offer his sincere apologies to the organisers of the Cannes Film Festival, although he could not resist a little dig at the French feeling that they had somewhat overreacted, why ? “Well, the French did little for the Jews during the Second World War and are properly therefore feeling a little over sensitive about them now” quote on quote.
Winners of the 2011 Festival are:
Feature Films :
The Palme d’Or ”The Tree of Life” directed by Terrence Malick
Grand Prix Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon A Time In Anatolia) directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Le gamin au vélo (The Kid With A Bike) directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Award for Best Director Denmark’s Nicolas Winding Refn for “Drive”
Jury Prize Poliss directed by Maiwenn
Award for Best Screenplay Joseph Cedar for “Footnote”
Award for Best Actress Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia”
Award for Best Actor Jean Dujardin for his role in ”The Artist” directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Palme d’Or Cross-Country by Maryna Vroda
Jury Prize Badpakje 46 (Swimsuit 46) by Wannes Destoop
Camera D’or Las Acacias directed by Pablo Giorgelli presented in the framework of the the Critic’s Week
Un Certain Regard
Prize of un certain regard Ex-æquo Arirang directed by kim Ki-Duk
Halt Auf Freier Strecke (Stopped on Track) by Andreas Dresen
Special Jury Prize Elena directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Directing Prize Be Omid and Didar (Au revoir) directed by Mohammad Rasoulof
First Cinéfondation Prize Der Brief (The Letter) directed by Doroteya Droumeva
Second Cinéfondation Prize Drari directed by Kamal Lazraq La Fémis, France
Third Cinéfondation Prize YA-GAN-BI-HANG (Fly by Night) directed by Son Tae-gyum
Chung-Ang University, South Korea
If you are sleepless in Seattle, don’t be as the International Film Festival is kicking off on the 19th May 2011 and will be showing some exciting Italian films untill the 12th of June 2011. All you need is to book your tickets and smarten up before you hit 9th Avenue North. Seattle has made the effort so do not make Italy look “La brutta Figura”. For full programme click here
The Italian Films shown this year are:
Vallanzasca – Gli angeli del male, Angles of Evil directed by Michele Placido
Gorbaciof, Gorbacov directed by Stefano Incerti
Febbre da fieno, Hayfever directed by Laura Luchetti
Una vita tranquilla, A Quiet Life directed by Cladio Cuppellini
La nostra vita, Our Life directed by Daniele Luchetti. Elio Germani just won Best Actor for his role in this film at the 2011 David di Donatello awards.
La Dolce Vita (1960) directed by Frederico Fellini
As you can see there is no need to hang around feeling sleepless, get you glad rags on and catch a few of the 2010 selection of Italian Films.
Malavoglia, is a film based loosely on a book written by Verga named Malavoglia, The House of the Medlar Tree with an eye however loosely on La Terra Trema, The Earth Trembles directed by Visconti back in 1948. I have seen it finally and I was not disappointed, I feared the worst as I love Viscontis La Terra Trema to the point of obsession, a film I saw many years ago, I cried for most of it and am now living in Trezza as a result of it, imagine my trepidation if you can wondering how it had been modernised, I need not have worried.
Director : Pasquale Scimeca is a wonderful Sicilian director, who is not feeling the love in Italy as much as he does abroad, lets not go down that road of prejudices suffice to say that he is known and feted Internationally. Scimeca has a number of features behind him, his first full-length film Il giorno di San Sebastiano, The Day of San Sebastiano released 1994, won a Golden Globe for “Best First Feature” voted for by the press, not that he has not been awarded prices in Italy, his film I briganti di Zabut, Zabut 1998 earned him a special award at Taormina in 1997 and the Jury’s Price in Grosseto.
My favorite film directed by Scimeca was Placido Rizzotto a true story about a Trade Union Leader from Corleone, who was assassinated by the Sicilian Mafia back in 1948, it did very well on The Festival Trail and Italy itelf. Rosso Malpelo another film based on a novel by Verga has sadly never found distribution in Italy and is not out on DVD. I am still waiting to find a copy legal or otherwise, help anyone?. Not that I am condoning piracy, that would be so wrong on so many levels, this being a film blog. Rosso Malpelo hit America by storm, at the Sicilian Film Festival in Miami and Amnesty International, at the Giffoni Film Festival (21 July 2007) gave it an award too. Can I now please have it on DVD ?
Back to Malavoglia, there are many parallels with Visconti’s film, however Scimeca very much made this his own, set in todays Sicily with a struggling family of fishermen with the added touch of an illegal immigrant. It premiered at the London Film Festival in October 2010, followed by Los Angeles International Film Festival 2011 so far it has clocked up 26 Film Festivals around the world including Italy, it has received great reviews. The film has just been released in Italy and has sadly been panned by the critics and the public alike, where the public is concerned perhaps more a case of ” why pay to see poor Sicilians, we see them every year in August”. La Terra Trema, when it was first released back in 1948 was shunned by the public too, as a matter of fact here in Acitrezza it is still not receiving much love, ”A film made by an aristocratic homosexual norther from Italy, what does he know of poor Sicilians”, at least Scimeca has a head start by being Sicilian.
Cast : Antonio Ciurca, Giuseppe Firullo, Omar Noto, Doriana La Fauci, Greta Tomasello, Roberta Zitelli, Elena Ghezzi, Naceur Ben Hammouda, Andrea Paternostro, Giovanni Calcagno, Viscenzo Consolo
Synobsis : We follow a struggling contemporary family of fishermen in a small Sicilian village, their struggle with debts, misfortune, local mafia, drugs, mental illness, interracial romance and their interaction as a family unit is at times touching. They live in The House of the Medlar tree, owns the Providence a boat fraught with accidents, where bad luck follow bad luck, including the death of the father Bastianazzo leading to Maruzza’s the mothers (Doriana Lafauci) mental issues. We see ‘Ntoni (Antonio Ciurca) first encounter with Alfio (Naceur Ben Hammouda) who escapes a ship overflowing with illegal immigrants and their growing friendship. Alfio’s affair with the older sister (Elena Ghezzi) is charming and the younger sister Lia’s decent into loose morals and bad company gives us some great acting. The story is well told and the Sicilian scenery is simply awesome, no special effects for the filming of the storm in Aci Castello, in Sicily a storm is never just a storm in a teacup.
Giuseppe (Beppe) Battiston was born in Udine on the 22 July 1968 and is one of my favorite Italian actors, usually playing the supporting role to perfection. Battiston has 47 films behind him, many seen at International Film Festivals and often released overseas independently. Battiston was first seen outside Italy in Pane e Tulipane, Bread and Tulips directed by Silvio Soldini in 2000, winning him his first David di Donatello, it is fair to say he usually appear on the International Festival Circuit every year, he really is that good. Nominations; there are many David di Donatello’s sadly only two actualy awarded, not enough awards is all I have to say, will he get a third David this year for his superb craw to the crucifixion in La Passione, The Passion? I really hope so and he should make room for next years David without doubt earned for his role in Notizie dagli sacvi directed by Emidio Greco 2010.
- Italia – Germania 4-3 , Italy – Germany 4-3 directed by Andrea Barzini 1990
- Un’anima divisa in due, A Soul Divided in Two directed by Silvio Soldini 1993
- Le acrobate, Acrobats directed by Silvio Soldini 1997
- Il pui lungo giorno directed by Roberto Riviello 1998
- Cheidi se sono felice, Ask Me If I’m Happy directed by Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo, Massimo Venier 2000
- Guarda il cieli: Stella, Sonia, Silvia , Watch the Sky: Stella, Sonia, Silvia directed by Piergiorgio Gay 2000
- Pane e tulipane, Bread and Tulips directed by Silvio Soldini 2000 WON a David di Donatello
- La forza del passato, The Power of the Past directed by Gianluca Greco 2002
- Nemmeno in un sogno directed by Gianluca Greco 2002
- Un aldo qualunque directted by Dario Migliardi 2002
- Agata e la tempesta, Agata and the Storm directed by Silvio Soldini 2001 Nominated for a David di Donatello
- L’uomo perfetto, The Perfect Man directed by Luca Lucini 2005
- La bestia nel cuore, Don’t Tell directed by Cristina Comencini 2005 Nominated for the Silver Ribbon
- La tigre e la neve, The Tiger and the Snow directed by Roberto Benigni 2005
- Apnea, directed by Roberto Dortit 2005
- A casa nostra, Our Country directed by Francesca Comencini 2006
- Non prendere impegni directed by Gianluca Maria Tavarelli 2006
- Unu si due, One Out of Two directed by Eugenio Cappuccio 2006
- Giorni e nuvole, Days and Clouds directed by Silvio Soldini 2007 Nominated for a David di Donatello
- La giusta distanza, The Right Distance directed by Carlo Mazzacurati 2007 WON Best Actor at the Rome Film Fest and Nominated for the Silver Ribbon
- La fine del mare directed by Nora Hoppe 2007
- c, Don’t Think About It directed by Giannoi Zanasi 2008 WON a David di Donatello and Nominated for the Silver Ribbon
- Amore, bugie e calcatto, Love, Soccer and Other Catastrophes directed by Luca Lucini 2008
- Si puo fare, We Can Do That directed by Giulio Manfredonia 2008
- Cosa voglio di piu, Come Undone directed by Silvio Soldini 2010
- La Passione, The Passion directed by Carlo Mazzacurati 2010 Nominated for a David di Donatello ( update 15.05.2011 He WON)
- Notizie dagli sacvi, directed by Emidio Greco 2010 YOU NEED THIS FILM AT YOUR FILM FESTIVAL
- Figli delle stelle, Children of the stars directed by Lucio Pellegrini 2010
- Senza arte ne’ parte, Make a Fake directed by Giovanni Albanese 2011 out in Italy on the 6th May 2011 , just cannot wait. WON “Le ciliegie d’oro del Cinema Italiano” at Le Cesera Palombara
- Bar Sport, The Sports Bar directed by Massimo Martelli it is in post production and will be released as and when its ready.
- Il comandante e la cicogna, The Commander and the Stork directed by Silvio Soldini is also in post production and will sadly not be released before 2012