Romanzo di una strage, A Novel about a Massacre

by Marianne Wi

Romanzo di una strage,  A Novel about a Massacre directed by Marco Tullio Giordana will be out later this year, this is a film I am very much looking forward to. Giordana is right up there with my favorite directors although he can on occasions lean towards the light and flimsy, he has a journalistic approach when directing,  always makes me relax knowing that he will not drop me or the audience off half way. Giordana directed the docu-drama about the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini, a film for which he received little credit in Italy and none on the International Market, the murder of Pasolini is really not that high up on the entertainment ladder for Italians, who generally fail to understand that the man was a genius both as a director and a poet, he directed films in the 60s and 70s that directors can only dream of directing in 2011, they would not get the funding and to be fair to Pasolini, there is not a director around today with real guts either most have succumb to Comedy of the most tedious kind. Giordana who directed Pasolini, un delitto italiano, Pasolini an Italian Crime Story in 1995 did an awesome job and excellent investigative journalism, I hope that will be paramount in his new film too .

Romanzo di una strage, A Novel about a Massacre  has a cast of stars to die for Pierfrancesco Favino (Giuseppe Pinelli), Laura Chiatti (Gemma Calabresi) Luigi Lo Cascio (Giudice Paolillo) Valerio Mastandrea (Luigi Calabresi), Fabrizio Gifuni (Aldo Moro), Giorgio Colangeli (Federico Umberto D’amato), Michela Cescon (Licia Pinelli), Edoardo Natoli, Giovanni Capalbo, Alessio Vitale and Cladio Casadio, Giorgio Tirabassi (The Professor), a very exciting cast, I am missing Alessio Boni who often has a part in Giordana’s films, what went wrong ?.

Romanzo di una strage, A Novel about a Massacre is based on a book Strage written by Paolo Cucchiarelli about the Massacre at The Piazza Fontana, Milan on 12th of December 1969 at 16:37 a part of Italy’s historic past ” The Years of  the Bombs” often perpetrated by the Red Brigade, 17 people was killed by the bomb and more than 80 people were injured. On the same day 3 more bombs went of in Rome and Milan, panic and nearly a 100 arrests were made, sometimes with the law in mind, sometimes not. Giuseppe Pinelli (Pierfrancesco Favino) was top of the list of suspects, when he during a routine interrogation felt ill, he flew unaided from a 4th floor window to his death, Luigi Calabresi (Valerio Mastandrea) was the interrogator who initially was charged with Pinelli’s murder until it was agreed that despite many discrepancies in the police stories, Pinelli had committed suicide. Calabresi was however held morally culpable for his lack of security during the interrogation, he denied all responsibility and was assassinated in 1972, 3 years later. From the little news I have been able to dick up on this film, it would appear that the facts have been meticulous reconstructed by Giordana and his team,  the film has been dedicated to the victims and their families. I think you will agree, this sounds like a meaty film with few laughs, bring on late 2011, I’m ready !

A Number of excellent films have been directed by Giordana, here is your list, most are out on DVD do not miss The 100 Steps and if you are sick with summer-flu then I recommend The Best of Youth lasting 6 hours, while giving you an insight into Italy in the 60s and its youth.

To Love the Damned  1980

La caduta degli angeli ribelli, The Fall of the Rebel Angels  1981

Appuntamento a Liverpool, Appointment in Liverpool  1988
Pasolini, un delitto italiano, Pasolini an Italian Crime Story 1995
I cento passi, The 100 Steps  2000
La meglio gioventù , The Best of Youth  2003
Quando sei nato non puoi piu nasconderti, Once you are born, there is Nowhere to Hide 2005
Sanguepazzo, Wild Blood  2008



Desperately seeking Italian Film News !

by Marianne Wi

Trying to find anything remotely interesting to write about between mid June to mid September is like running two marathons a day, nothing is going on, nothing is going down. OK, so Woody Alan is busy in Rome filming his new film ”Whatever” who knows what he will call it in the end; Roberto Benigni has not yet started his part, I should imagine he has run off with Dante once he saw the full line up for the film, I hope he got a good deal out of Alan as this film will not do his street cred any good. The Venice Film Festival will start at the end of August, there are write-ups daily about it everyone trying to find a new fresh angle…..and failing, as the films are all having their world premier there is nothing out there to debate. So what pray tell is one to do ? Revert to gossip and beachwear or close down for the summer ? No, PrimoCiak was never a defeatist blog, if Italy is hot and full of a lethargy population, then it must be freezing somewhere else in the world, where perhaps a cool exciting winter film festival is being planned at this very moment….. off investigating whoop whoop the excitement is overwelming…watch this space !


Rovinj Italian Film Festival is Kicking off (Croazia)

by Marianne Wi
For the 11th time the Rovinj Italian Film Festival is kicking off on the 1st August 2011 in Rovinj, it is a relative small festival with a very big heart but sadly without a website, it will be  running for 6 days only. La fisica dell ácqua, The Physics of Water directed by Felice Ferina will open the Festival, she will be present at the screening and I assume at a Q & A after the show. The closing film will be Rapotez. Un caso Italiano directed by Sabrina Benussi, who will also and again I assume to be present for a Q & A at the end.
Films at this years festival will be :
La fisica dell’acqua, The Physics of Water  directed by Felice Ferina
Velma directed by Piero Tomaselli
Noi Credevamo, We Once Believed  directed by Mario Martone
Viva L’Italia Roberto Rosellini 1961
Correva L’Anno di Grazia 1870 directed by Alfredo Giannetti 1971
Piccolo Mondo Antico directed by Mario soldati 1941
Camicie Rosse directed by Goffredo Alessandrini 1952
1860 directed by Alessandro Blasetti 1934
Uomini Contro directed by Francesco Rosi 1970
Shorts and Documentaries
Io sono ieri directed by Stefano and Alessio Poggioni
La foresta della Siciliana directed by Tilde di Dio
La vita dell’ambra
Rapotez. Un caso Italiano directed by Sabrina Benussi,who will close the festival and again I assumed to be present for a Q&A at the end.
Rovinj is not a place I have been visiting, they have by all accounts a big Italian population and I can only urge them to put on their finery and get their tickets booked tut suit, I am particularly loving the look of the Retrospectives.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is 50 today Tanti Auguri

by Marianne Wi

50 today, the awesome film directed by Blake Edwards starring George Peppard and the beautiful Audrey Hepburn released 1961.

You’ll say, we’ve got nothing in common,
No common ground to start from,
And we’re falling apart,
You’ll say, the world has come between us,
Our lives have come between us,
Still I know you just don’t care.

And I said, “What about ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s?'”
She said, “I think I remember the film,
And as I recall, I think, we both kind of liked it.”
And I said, “Well that’s, the one thing we’ve got.”

I see you, the only one who knew me,
And now your eyes see through me,
I guess I was wrong,
So what now? It’s plain to see we’re over,
And I hate when things are over,
When so much is left undone.


You’ll say, that we’ve got nothin in common,
No common ground to start from,
And we’re falling apart,
You’ll say the world has come between us,
Our lives have come between us,
Still I know you just don’t care.



And I said, “What about ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s?'”
She said, “I think I, remember that film,
And, as I recall, I think, we both kind of liked it,”
And I said, “Well that’s, the one thing we got.”

And I said, “What about ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s?'”
She said, “I think I, remember that film,
And, as I recall, I think, we both kind of liked it,”
And I said, “Well that’s, the one thing we got.”


The European Producers Club is dropping into Locarno for their 47th Co-production Forum

by Marianne Wi

The European Producers Club is a exclusive outfit, set up to help and promote European Producers, they have been meeting up 46 times so far, we are looking forward to the big 50 and the Silver Jubilee celebrations. Italy has done well this year with 2 out of possible 15 entries.

Italy is there with:

La Legge del Rugby, The Law of Rugby directed by Donato Pisani and produced by Gagarin.  I am again putting it all out there stating that this will be about Rugby and its laws.

Elsewhere directed by Vittorio Rifranti and produced by Gagarin. Four students on an out of season  holiday by the sea, while continuously sending feeds to their housebound friend who has been unable to come, it all of a sudden goes terribly wrong.

The remaining 13 films being promoted at Locarno on the 6th August 2011 are:

Rialto produced by Cien Plus Filmproduktion (Germany)

White Men directed by Joerg Hiller-Garcia produced by Motivo Films (Germany)

Desde Dentro, From Inside directed by Sanuel Lame Ferreira and produced by Visual Think (Spain)

Krampus directed by Stephen Hughes and produced by Achille Entertainment (UK and Austria)

Rainy Days directed by Maria Salgado Gispert and produced by Aquellare Servicios Cinematograficos, Promarfi Futuro 2010 and Pensa & Roca Productions (Spain)

Bobo directed by Ines Oliveira and produced by David & Golias (Portugal)

On a Day Like This directed by Georg Isenmann and  produced by Langfilm (Switzerland)

Father directed by Artur Urbanski and produced by Apple Film Production (Czech Republic)

The Waiting Room directed by Viliam Docolomansky and produced by Prvni Verejnpravni (Czech Republic)

Puppy Love directed by Delphine Lehericey and produced by Entre Chien et Loup (Belgium)

Carto directed by Gorune Aprikian and produced by Araprod (France) one to look out for if you were asking me

The Hunter  The Woman and The Labyrinth directed by Olivier Delahaye and Dani Kouyate produced by Odelion Films (France)

So where ohh where is the elusive 15th entry ? Perhaps a surprise in the making, the one that might not be quite ready yet.


Espoo International Film Festival is found in Finland EIFF

by Marianne Wi

Espoo International Film Festival is preparing for an influx of over excited cinema goers, they will be kicking off on the 19th of August, running until the 28th of August 2011. Espoo has a very exciting programme with great variety and, of course, they have chilled Snaps and Smoked Reindeer meat too, if you are feeling a little peggish. Finland is always ready to give Italy a chance, and although this Festival is relatively small, we have been well represented, lets hear it for the Finns Hip Hip Hurraa – Hip hip Hurraa, me rakastamme Suomi.

The films picked by our northern friends for their 2011 programme are:

Il ragazzo con la biciletta, The Kid With A Bike, Le gamin au vélo directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne do not miss this excellent film, well worth booking in advance and go easy on the Snaps.

Gianni e le donne, The salt of life directed by Gianni Di Gregorio. You loved Pranzo di farragosto, Mid August Lunch and you will love The Salt of Life as it flows gently past the fjords.

Hai paura del buio,  Are You Afraid of the Dark directed by Massimo Coppola, this has not been seen by us poor neglected habitants of Sicily, we await its issue on DVD.

Quattro volte, Le, The Four Times directed by Michelangelo Frammartino, another award for this film about goats ? I would not be surprised at all.

A great selection all round I think you will be impressed, there is also Espoo well worth a relaxing few days, the Finns are keen on their Designer Gear so do keep it smart rather than elegant and again get the Tricolor out,  casually attach it to your Vespa’s, as you arrive or throw it even more nonchalant on the back of the old yet shiny 500.



The Best Offer from Giuseppe Tornatore

by Marianne Wi

Giuseppe Tornatore is preparing his next film ”The Best Offer” due to be released in 2012, you will of course remember him for ”Cinema Paradiso” 1988, the winner of many awards including the 5 Bafta’s and one very nice shining Oscar in 1991 and lets not forget  ”Malèna”  2000 for which he was again nominated for both Bafta’s and an Oscar, his last film Baaria was a Minestrone full of clichés, altogether a wee bit OTT, yet lovable. I have mixed feelings about The Best Offer as I have been awaiting the blockbuster ”Lenningrad” for the past 2 years, it would appear that it has again been put on the back-burner, Tornatore, really ? The producers of The Best Offer is Paco Cinematografica and there is a financial incentive too as it will be filmed in Alto Adige, South Tyrol, nothing else out there on the net about this new venture.

Guiseppe Tornatore what happened to Leningrad ?    11.05.2011


Ettore Scola enough is enough, the directors chair has been moved to the attic.

by Marianne Wi

Ettore Scola is a great Italian film director who is now 80 years old (10 May 1931), he has made some tremendous films over the past 4 decades, here are some of my favorites : C’eravamo tanto amati, We All Loved Each Other So Much 1974, Brutti, sporchi e cattivi, The Ugly, The Dirty and The Bad 1976, Una giornata particolare, A Special Day 1977, La Familia, The Family 1987, Che ora è, What Time Is It 1989 and his last film Gente di Rome, The People of Rome 2003. Scola directed more than 88 features, documentaries and TV series, a versatile director who has now had enough of the Italian Film industry and put his Directors Chair in the attic. Scola recently gave an interview to Maria Pia Fusco at Pescasseroli, L’aquila, where he tried to describe his discontentment with the industry as a whole.

MPF: You have not directed a film for 10 years, why ? How many times have you been asked this question?

ES: Every time I am interviewed and the answer is always the same. I am grateful to Mr. Berlusconi who has facilitated my decision not to direct again. I was making a film with Depardieu, the contract was drawn with Medusa, when in one of Berlusconis deluding interventions in Parliament, in order to prove his liberalism stated that Medusa was producing a film with the communist Scola. I wrote to Medusa without delay stating that I did not need ”Patrons” and cancelled the film as I was not comfortable making it, however perhaps in the future there might be some collaboration.

MPF: What movie was it? 

ES: The title was A Dragon-shaped Cloud. The story of a bookseller, who keeps a little secret in the apartment above the library in form of a disabled daughter, who falls in love with a client. The actress was to be Audrey Tatou, who knew it would be an impossible love, and she helped him find a younger guy. A Twilight story.

MPF: Do you not want to write other screenplays ? 

ES: “No. I read a lot, I read Cicero, the classics, I have the time to read everything I want. I know that some people of my age are still working but tell that Lizzani or Montaldo, who are awaiting calls from either RAI or Medusa to close a deal on a film, it only reinforces my decision. They do very well, they are not critical, but I am 80 years old, I want to avoid the humiliation of expectations. I have my pension of 1,400 euros per month. There is also a bit ‘of pride’ because it is demonstrated that the last great film writers are crap, a few examples are Chaplin and De Sica. I do not want to finish my career in ugliness.

MPF: A Special Day, We All Loved Each Other So Much, The Family. Awesome titles, have you no regrets?

ES: Time is another form of regret, that of negritude to Metz and Marchesti, masters of their craft writing 10 contemporary scripts. They gave me 10 pages on the subject and told me to write the jokes and funny situations and if I did well they were to include them in the next Totó. I still remember the joke I wrote for Totó Tarzan, when he met Jane, Tamara Lees. Totó said ” Me Tarzan, You bona” (you are beautiful, gorgeous etc.)

MPF: Snobbery ?

ES: I am sincere when I say that I am very proud of my written collaboration with Totó and Peppino. Never forget  Totó’s sence of humor and delivery of lines, his timing. I did a great job writing, Metz chose the lines and had the responsibility. Shame, Italy no long do parodies.

MPF: How do you imagine a dialogue between Berlusconi and Bossi would be ?

ES: I think it would be a game and a party. You say this, I say that, then you take a step back, I slam my fist on the table, you pretend to be angry. Players,  who perform badly. “

MPF: This year has been the year of Comedies…

ES: They play a part of Italian culture, Alfieri aside, we are not a nation of tragic people. The Italian comedy, however has become a cover for so many things, the difference now is that we wrote to help us understand the world we lived in, reality was ever present. Today it is not so, but we still love Italy, yet why should we love this country? I understand that many men go abroad looking for success, we no longer have the sense of belonging, who are we.
MPF: Italy has awakened by the celebration of Unity … .

ES: Thank Napolitano! It’s absurd, we are tied to a gentleman of 86 years, God preserve him for a long time.
MPF: People used to say “I do not want to die Democrat.” Now?
 ES: I do not think we will die under Berlusconi, even if we have to wait generations to return to being a respectable country. I think we will see better times, in witch there will be more Cicchitto and Capezzone. “

The Guetteur, Il cecchino, The Sniper director Michele Placido, its a rap.

by Marianne Wi

Michele Placido has for the past four weeks been shooting his new venture Le Guetteur, Il cecchino, The Sniper in the streets of Paris, he has  directed the final scenes in the heart of the French capital and is properly looking forward to some good pasta aldente and a glass of chilled white.  The Sniper is a French film starring Daniel Auteuil,  who is playing head of police in hot pursuit of Mathieu Kossovitz our sniper who foiled the arrest of a group of bank robbers by killing numerous Police Officers. The Sniper will have a number of Italian Actors too, Raoul Bova was originally signed up raving about his great joy of being able to work with one of Italy’s greatest directors ……. only having to pull out due to other work commitments, he is currently shooting Ultimo 4, I saw Ultimo 1 whatever happened to 2 and 3 ? anyway a favorite Italian eye candy of mine without a big ego is Luca Argentero has taken over the role. This film sounds very much like a police thriller, yet Placido has pronounced it a ”noir” the latest trend among Italian film makers. Placido describes this film as and I quote “It’s a film about Western decadence of the age we live in and on the eternal struggle between good and evil.” I think we can look forward to that sometime early spring 2012 unless they decide to keep in under wraps untill Cannes.

Cast : Daniel Auteuil, Mathieu Kassovitz, Violante Placido, Luca Argentero, Arly Jover, Oliver Gourmet, Francis Renaud and Nicolas Briançon.


Steven Spielberg in the jaws of the Italian Coast Guard

by Marianne Wi

Spielberg currently on holiday in Sardinia with Gwyneth Paltrow and her family came a cropper when he decided to explore the superb ”Maddalenaile of archipelago” area, a number of tiny islands just of the coast of Sardegna, a forbidden territory if you arrive on a noisy boat. Spielberg transferred from his 90 foot luxury yacht the Seven Seas to a small 10 foot rubber duck, they sped towards the tranquil nature reserve ”motor running” … managia, had the captain of the yacht known his stuff he would have realised that motors are not allowed within 300 feet of the shore so arriving at full throttle on the beach of Porto Lisca a small dot between Gabbiani and Coluccia was unwise. Are the Italian Coast Guards always on the alert heads buried in the sand just waiting to hear the offending sound of a running engine? No, they were called by a tourist (currently looking for an exclusive deal) who watched Spielberg signing autographs …. Spielberg is said to have apologised profusely and asked a 100 pardons, no ”phone home”,”miraculous escapes” Indiana Jones style or ”We were excaping from a giant shark, honest” No…he is said to have accepted the fine of 172 Euros, while looking mortified.

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