Posts tagged ‘Cinema of Italy’


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.

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. “

68th Venice International Film Festival has gone Italian.

by Marianne Wi

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.

There are 2 Italian films entered for ”International Film Critics  Week”  this year too, they are Là-bas by Guido Lombardi a sad story about immigration and the massacre at Castel Volturno in 2008, it has been a long time in the making as it is in French and English with subtitles, no dubbing? The second film Mission Peace directed by Fracesco Lagi a comedy filmed in the former Yugoslavia staring Silvio Orlando playing an Army Captian struggling with his pacifist son after capturing a war criminal. Fracesco Lagi said about this film  “The idea was to use comedy to talk about things dramatic, current and burning. I wanted to look at the issue of military missions abroad, but also on family, a war on and off with the two characters in conflict yet intertwined ”  I so want to see these two films……….
Films in competition for the ‘Critics  Week” are:
Opening Film  – Stockholm Ostra directed by Simon Kaijser da Silva (Sweden)
El-field directed by Hernan Belon (Argentina)
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).
The International Art Section with 3 Italian entries :
Quando la notte, When the Night directed by Cristina Comencini starring Claudia Pandolfi and Filippo Timi.
Terraferma, Mainland directed by Emanuele Crialese starring Donatella Finocchiaro and Beppe Fiorello.
L’ultimo terrestre, The Lasy Earth directed by catroonish Gipi.

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

Marco Bellocchio to receive Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement 10.05.2011


Why is Italian Cinema Hibernating During the Summer?

by Marianne Wi

If you are passionate about Italian films and everything to do with the Italian Film Industry, you will be climbing the walls heading for a proverbial breakdown during these hot summer months, there are few Italian films being released from June onwards, non on the horizon in fact before October; films are being short during the summer so at least some news are leaking out, of course, it is winter in Oz so various splendid Festivals are on the horizon, yet it is the bikini clad actresses and Italian stallions in their speedos, prancing on a beach keeping an ever watchful eye on the Paparazzi, not wanting to miss their chance to be in Diva e Donna or CHI magazine, that we are left with for a daily update. I have done my research, you would expect nothing else, right? the resounding excuse is ”it is too hot to go to the Cinema during the summer months”. What a load of old tosh, Italy is full of stunning open air cinemas and even air-conditioning has arrived in the boot, so you can watch a film in the cool comfort of a snug screening room. ”Nooooo, Italians would not want to see any new films while on holiday”…… Tell that to JK Rowling and Harry Potter, they have opened to full houses and have taken more than 10 million in Italy during its first 6 days, Transformer 3 has taken 7.5 million since the 01.07.2011 and the 3rd placed film Cars 2 has taken 9.5million since the 24.06.2011. Italians will go to the Cinema no matter what the month of the year, they have kids needing entertainment even if the sun does shine every day for 3 months. So please distributors of Italian films can we see some releases between June and September 2012 please, your public awaits you.

L’Isola del Cinema, a must if you are in Rome this summer

Casa del Cinema (Rome)


L’Erede, The Heir

by Marianne Wi

Director : Michael Zampino, is an Italian who has worked for a number of years in Hollywood, at the Silver Pictures Company producers of Die Hard, The Matrix, V for Vendetta and many others. This is his first feature, shot in Italy (Marche),  he classified this film as a ”noir” leaving me a little perplexed as to what to expect, is it a horror ? no , a thriller ? no, a drama then? no, ok it is a noir. I saw it 2 days ago and have spent some time trying to dissect the experience; not just report my initial reaction.  Apart from the usual editing problems, abrupt change from scene to scene and some rather iffy camara work, ”Ohh there is a statue of a cat, I know, I will zoom in on it, wait a moment……. zoom” if only it had been a great big fat rabbit, it would have made sense. The film did not really do it for me, I was not scared, I was not frightened and I was not sitting in suspense on the edge of my seat either, I should have been as it had all the hallmarks of a good one of either of those three emotions. Man, scared for his life escapes on a dark rainy night in his car, down the road a tree has fallen stopping him in is tracks, he gets out in order to remove it, failing he returns to the house from which he has just escaped ?. There are other potential scary moments that fails, so what is missing ? ”Music” that’s what is missing! Scary, suspense, horror, sound effects something that will get me trembling in my boots. I remember the film Private directed by Savario Costanzo 2004, a masterpiece that should have and was suggested for The Academy Awards in 2005, it was rejected not because it was not pure Italian but because the actors spoke Hebrew, Arabic and English or was it because it portrayed a Palestinian Family and their struggle against the Israelis ? Whatever the reason ”Sound” kept me on the edge of my seat through-out even when nothing actually happened, I will go as far as to say it is up there among the top 3 Italian films of the last decade, a truly excellent film winning over 20 awards. L’erede, The Heir will not be winning many awards I am afraid unless they do something about the sound effects,  it is by no means a ”NO GO” there is some great acting from Guia Jelo and Alessandro Roja,  it just lacked that OMG, it had so much potential for.

Cast : Alessandro Novaro Rispi, Guia Jelo, Tresy Taddei Takimiri, Alessandro Roja, Arnaldo Taffi, Davide Lorino,  Lanfranco Santini , Marco Fabbri, Maria Sole Mansutti, Ottavio Marini

Synobsis : Bruno (Alessandro Novaro Rispi ) has inherited an old Villa in the Marche area from his father, he returns to the house to decide its faith; sell or restore. A family of onion farmers have settled in the grounds, taking over the stables and are using the house too as and when they feel like it. The head of the household Paula ( Guia Jelo) a woman with a mission, claims to have had an affair with his father resulting in 2 children, she wants the house at all cost and we follow the struggle to achieve that goal, no spoilers on this blog, suffice to say that there are many trials and tribulations before we are left with a sort of open ending.


The 68th Venice Film Festival has chosen their Italian entries…. 7 of everything.

by Marianne Wi

The hype around the 68th Venice Film Festival starting on the 31st August 2011 is in full swing, they have chosen their Italian entries, always an exciting moment. My lucky number is 7 so I am again getting just that little too excited about it all, 7 shorts, 7 documentaries and 7 features, did that happen on purpose or by change, I want to know as if that was not enough to excite you they will all be world premiers and  all be in competition in their respective groups. Will there be enough awards ? Yes Sir, we have got an additional 2 awards for shorts and documentaries.

The list of the chosen films are:

Not yet issued, lets keep the suspense going just that little bit longer…… I wonder who will be presenting which film.

What we do know for sure is that George Clooney will be opening the festival without Elisabetta Canalis, who will he bring onto the red carpet? I am putting my money on Sandra Bullock although I reserve the right to change that bet anytime I feel like it.

Al Pacino will be receiving the  Premio Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker 2011 della Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica  – Award Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory To The Filmmaker of the 2011 Venice International Film Festival.

I am loving it already.


Jerusalem Film Festival JFF

by Marianne Wi

Jerusalem Film Festival JFF, they are not feeling the love for Italy and personally I am not over excited about their website, you would think if there is a search button and you type in Italy, Italian entries would appear ? לא לא באתר .

They do have a Festival running from the 7th to the 16th of July 2011 and we have not been completely alienated.

Jerusalem will be showing:

 Gianni e le donne, The Salt of Life directed by Gianni Di Gregorio

Gangor directed by Italo Spinelli

I have said it before and I never tire of repeating myself, keep it smart yet a little reserved no need to overdo the tricolor.


Top Ten Italian Award Winners of the Last Decade (Male)

by Marianne Wi

I was recently asked to provide a list of my top 5 Italian Films released during the first 6 months of 2011, I am seriously struggling to find 3 so while I am  having a heated debate with my virtual self, I have been taking a look at the past decade, who in the Italian Film Industry have  won the most awards ? Exciting stuff on a hot day in Sicily, I have separated the winners into male and female categories, because I can.

Top Awards given to an Italian Male during the last decade are :

10   Antonio Martino with 38

08  Michele Placido with 40  (shared)

08  Matteo Garrone with 40  (shared)

06  Michelangelo Frammartino 41 ( for one film Le quattro volte, The Four Times 2010)(shared)

06  Giuseppe Tornatore with 41 (shared)

05  Marco Bellocchino with 42

04  Pupi Avati with 44

03  Ferzan Ozpetek with 54

02  Paolo Sorrentino with 61

01  Giorgio Diritti with 63

I loved Diritti’s film Il vento fa il suo giro, The Wind goes round out in 2005,  it was a truly awesome film from this Italian first time director. Diritti followed that up with L’Uomo che Verrà, The Man That Will Come, I was very disappointed with that particular film purely because Spike Lee directed Miracle at St. Anna a year earlier, it was panned in Italy although a 100 % superior production, more and less the same subject bar a few black soilders and the sex of a child, I am still quietly seething over the Italians reaction to Spike Lee, do not critique or even express an opinion about a film you have not seen, that is all I am saying. Information courtesy of the great folk of Cinema Info.


Not for Catania, Sicily the joy of Italian Films

by Marianne Wi

It is not the first time and it will not be the last, it is however still ever so frustrating, that Italian films are released nation-wide except for Sicily. This week was particular hot, I was excited as I awoke to a mini heatwave 33 degrees and ”three” the number of Italian films being released today Whoop, Whoop, imagine if you possibly can my irritation when logging on to see where and when they would be screened …… nowhere, that is where….Why not is all I want to know, non of the 3 are in the comedy category could that be the problem, Catania and Sicily as a whole like their comedies, what ever the reason is , it is positively infuriating on a Friday morning.

Passannante directed by Sergio Colabona a drama NO only in Italy.

Hypnosis directed by Davide Tartarini, Simone Julian Cerri Goldstine a thriller (actually I note it is being screened in Messina and TWO cinemas in Palermo TWO ?)

5 (Cinque) directed by Francesco Dominedo a drama, Only on the main land, it was screened last night on I am grateful for small mercies


Munich International Film Festival MIFF

by Marianne Wi

You look for love and support from you nearest and dearest in life as in Film Festivals, so scouring the Munich International Film Festival‘s program for proof that Italy was not forgotten, I felt a little unloved only 5 entries and one of them is suspect.

What did the wise Ladies and Gentlemen of Munich pick for their 2011 film fest?

Barnesy’s Version directed by Richard J Lewis. It has Italian money invested in it so I am claiming it for us, end off !

Il Castello, The Castle directed by Martina Parenti and Massimo D’anolti, not a film I have heard much about, it was seen at Swaziland’s Film Festival in April 2011 otherwise niente.

Et In Terra Pax, And Peace on Earth  directed by Matteo Bofrugno and Daniele Coluccini

Corpo Celeste, Heavenly Body directed by Alice Rohrwacher, she will be receiving 12,ooo euros for the best new talent award ” CineVision Award” last year it went to  Michelangelo Frammartino  for the film ”Le quattro volte”, ”The four Times” they might not be drooling over Italian Films but they are putting their money where their mouth is.

La solitudine dei numeri primi,  The Solitude of prime numbers directed by Saverio Costanzo, Pietro di Daniele Gaglianone

Not a kick in the teeth I grant you, yet I had hoped for a little more exuberance oozing from Southern Germany, close enough to smell our coffee, that’s all I am saying and just look at the love oozing from Moscow International Film Festival 2011.

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