Posts tagged ‘Sicily’


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


Edda Ciano e il comunista, Edda Ciano and the Communist man

by Marianne Wi

“Edda Ciano e il comunista”, “Edda Ciano and the Communist man” directed by Graziano Diana for Rai TV 2011. I think it is a possible candidate for International Film festivals, a fascinating subject, part of Italian history and really well made. I am surprised that Diana is not making feature films, he is well-known in Italy for his TV work with over 50 titles as a writer, he has acted too, I wish he would give it a go and I hope this film makes it to the festivals as so many TV films have done before. Edda Ciano e il comunista is based on a true story about a small part of Benito Mussolini’s eldest daughters life, Edda Mussolini was born on the 1st September 1910 and past away in Rome on the 9th April 1995, she was illegitimate although her parents did marry five years after her birth. Edda was a headstrong child by all accounts and having a father with a gran title of “His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire” meant that prospective boyfriends might be just a bit hesitant in coming forward. One courageous lad did step forward and they married in 1930, he was Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari, who later became Italy’s foreign minister, they had three children together before Mussolini had him murdered for treason, tied to a chair and shot in the back or by a firing squad, the Internet has numerous versions of his last moments. Incidentally Eddas son Fabrizio later wrote a book titled “Quando il nonno fece fucilare papa”, “When Granddad had father Shot” After the war Edda fled to Switzerland with her children, she was later sent to Lipari for a number of years due to the connection with the Fascist Party and family background, ” Edda and the Communist” recounts her affair with the communist Leonida Bongiorno. I am now looking for her book “Edda Ciano La mia vita” one interesting life story I think you will agree. After her death in 1995 she was laid to rest next to her husband Gian Galeazzo Ciano.

Cast : Stefania Rocca, Alessandro Preziosi, Dajana Roncione, Adriano Chiaramida, Alessio Vassallo, Federica de Cola, Gaetano Aronica, Domenico Centamore, Mimmo Mignemi, Alessandro Agnello, Massimo Leggio, Daniele Perrone, Emanuele Salce, Ilaria Occhini

Synobsis : We see Edda Ciano (Stefania Rocca) arrive on the island of Lipari, her humiliation at the hands of the local authority and the police, as she settles in to serve what amounts to house arrest away from her children, they have remained in safety in Switzerland. Leonida Bongiorno (Alessandro Prezios) a young handsome communist with whom she forms a relationship, that evolves into a deep profound love affair, an affair that is doomed. Edda does form relationships with some locals during her time on the island, however the locals mostly do not care for her, it is a clear case of “The sins of the father”…..

The clip is not from the film, I had real trouble finding a good trailer to attach, so you are treated to Eddas wedding with Gian Galeazzo held at Mussolini’s Villa Torlonia  in Rome 1930, enjoy. Villa Torlonia is now opened to the public and well worth a visit as he actually lived there for 18 years, it has been restored to the highest spec.

I really enjoyed this beautifully shot romance, yes a little lightweight in places, worth seeing just for Stefania Rocca’s performance alone. I am now off to La Feltrinellis Bookshop …….

PS : Yes this is the film that brought Alessandro Preziosi and Dajana Roncione together for a hot weekend.

PPS : I think this is a photo of the real deal, the communist Leonida Bongiorno, if it is not I apologise in advance.

This film was shown in March 2011 on Rai Uno, they are still showing it on demand for free, if you are practicing you Italian why not settle down with a glass of  vine tonight and improve your vocabulary. To watch Rai Uno Edda Ciano e il comunista just click.


La Terra Trema, The Earth Trembles 1948

by Marianne Wi

Director :  Luchino Visconti  1906 – 1976

Visconti was born on the 2nd November 1906 in Milan and named Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo, he died in Rome on the 17th March 1976. I absolutely adored this man, I remember La Terra Trema, The Earth Trembles being shown in Denmark in March 1965, I cried throughout and was hopelessly in love with the youngest son. I am saddened by the lack of credit Visconti has been given in AciTrezza, why I hear you ask do they not feel the love for Visconti? Well, he was rich, he was from Italian nobility, he was a homosexual and most importantly he was not Sicilian and therefore could not possibly understand how the poor struggling habitants of an Sicilian village would feel, very much opposite worlds, they have of course been proven wrong, the film is a classic. I encounter few people here who have actually seen the film although most will have a member of their family performing  in it. My visitors are goaded into seeing this film so as to better understand my love for this place. There is a small museum dedicated to the film where articles from that period are on display it is  called “Casa del Nespolo” but no statue of the man. Verga who wrote the original book Malavoglia, The House of the Medlar Tree has fared a little better, he has a statue just outside the Church, you see his Head amongst parked cars. Visconti employed all local inhabitants to star in the film, he eventually had to go back to Italy to raise the final cash to complete the project, selling a family home and jewellery.


Quotes from the film:

In Sicily, Italian is not the language of the poor

Fish are created to be netted (women being fish)

We were born here, we will die here

As sure as water wears away a stone

When you are hungry you cannot argue

Strengths of youth wisdom of age

The sea is bitter and the sailor dies at sea

It is just a matter of time, as the worm said to the stone, I’ll bore a hole through you yet

One by one, the tree’s branches wither and fall.

Cast :  The Mother, Maria Micale – The Father, Sebastiano Valastro – Antonio Micale, Vanni – Nelluccia Giammona, Mara – Agnese Giammona, Lucia – Giuseppe Arcidiamo, Cola – Salvatore Vicari, Alfio – Alfio Ficher, Michele – Ignazio Maccarone, Maccarone – Giovanni Mariorana, Un Bambino – Antonio Arcidiacono, Ntoni – Mario Piso, Voice of the Narrator – Lorenzo Valastro, Lorenzo – Antonio Valastro, Un Grossista – Alfio Valastro, Bandiera – Nicola Castorino, Nicola – Rosa Catalano, Rosa – Rosa Costanzo, Nedda – Carmela Fichera, La Baronessa.

Synopsis: It is the old story of the rich exploitation of the poor as in this case the wholesellers takes advantage of the poor fishermen of Aci Trezza, a small Sicilian Village back in the 1940s. We follow the Valastro families fight for a better life led by Ntoni played with great natural skill by Antonio Arcidiacono, who see the future as an independent boat owner as the only option available to improve their lifestyle. The Valastro family mortgage their house and become the first family who proudly ownes their boat. Mara’s romance with Nicola is off as she has no money, is off as she had too much money , is  off again as she had no money very touching and moving throughout, a great shame that Nelluccia Giammona was not encouraged by her father to follow-up her acting career in Rome, when invited to by Visconti, she would have been a great charater actress, an awesome star. The Valastros family were riding high, the Alici were fat and ready for salting, until a storm wrecked La Provvidenza (Providence) their boat and all was lost. The village takes its revenge, as small insular villagers always do, the Valastros lose their home, the grandfather dies, Lucia’s morals are compromised by a necklace given to her by a whistling Police commissioner, Ntoni hits the bottle, Cola leaves the village lured by work on the main land and some Lucky Strike Cigarettes, their pride and most of all their will to succeed was destroyed by the storm and the loss of the boat. Mara remains the only character who never falters, she remains strong throughout the film. As the quote said “When you are hungry you cannot argue” that is so true and Ntoni with his 2 younger brothers have to return cap in hand to the wholesalers and beg for their jobs back, I cried buckets when I first saw this scene absolute buckets. The film did not fare well in Italy however outside its borders it became classified as a work of art and Visconti went on to become one of Italys most famous Directors of  the  “Neorealism” period receiving many awards.

On YouTube you will be able to see the entire film if you follow the above from 01 to 08, you have no excuse not to see this masterpiece, this great piece of Italian Neorealism.


Not for Sicilians the joys of drama.

by Marianne Wi

Frustrating is the least offensive word one can use for Italian film “Distribution”, how does it work and who makes the decisions ?

Hai paura del buio, Are you Afraid of the Dark ? directed by Massimo Coppola has already appeared at 12 Festivals and received 4 awards together with Il Primo Incarico, The First Assignment directed by Giorgia Cecere having been watched already at 12 Film Festivals during 2011 were both released in Italy on the 6th May 2011 except for Sicily,why?


Passionate Easter Feast at the Italian Cinema?

by Marianne Wi

Passionate Easter Feast at the Italian Cinema? You would think so people having 4 to 5 days off however the real whooper is the week after. I am over excited “again” as I can only be in one place at a time and only within the frame-work of the 534 to Aci Trezza, meaning 1 film per day is a max. PrimoCiak is planning ahead, being nice even a wee bit too nice to some folk, snuggling up is not an easy option. “Friends with benefits” does it make you a BAD person if you buy into that? I agree but I think you will understand that formulating and experimenting with a few white lies especially created for the weekend commencing the 29th April 2011 cannot be that bad ?

The Italian goodies coming out on Friday the 29th April 2011 are:

I think you will agree that if you were a shark, this could turn into a feeding frenzy. My love for the good people of is second to non, they have cheered me up when films were whisked by Sicily only to be released on the main land that is Italy, their wonderful GRATIS viewings are priceless. They are not letting me down now neither  Diciottanni – Il mondo ai miei piedi, Eighteen – The World at my Feet was shown online last night, Il Sesso Aggiunto, Added Sex will be shown on the 26th April Whoop Whoop and last but by no means least Notizie degli scavi, News of the excavations will be shown on the 28th April 2011.
That leaves I Baci mai dati, The Kisses Never Given filmed in Catania and Malavoglia filmed in parts in Aci Castello, surely one could see two films in one day ? “Festive” days PrimoCiak ? A bus every two hours…………. PrimoCiak will walk, what is 13 KM among friends .

Sicilian Film Festival Miami SFF

by Marianne Wi

For the 6th year running Sicily hits on Miami with a small but perfectly formed Film Festival. I am so please when a Sicilian films makes it to the mainland of Italy, imagine if you can the excitement I am feeling knowing that a great number of films have left the Island and will be shown in the US of A. The Sicilian Film Fest Miami Beach kicks off on the 7th April and rolls along until 13th April 2011, it will show only Sicilian films. Do Sicily have a film industry ? Well of course we do it is just near impossible to get to see any as they sadly miss out on distribution, often only making it to International Film Festivals outside Italy, we should all feel shame.

The Film Fest has already announced its winner of this years Life Time Achievements Award 2011……. who ? non other that the beautiful Claudia Cardinale, you will know her from such films as : 8 1/2 , Rocco and his Brothers, The Leopard, The Pink Panther and many others, the lady has appeared in 107 films all in all, most resently filming the “Guardian of Harem” directed by Fabien Pruvot it is still in pre-production, great lady and still going strong at age 72.

There is a photo exhibition by Roberto Granata, a Sicilian photographer in Hollywood showing portraits of movie stars. The photos will be for sale with a silent auction in favor of  Roberto Granata Foundation benefitting children displaced by earthquake tragedies worldwide, make sure Sicilian generosity is on display.

The films shown this year are :

L’imbroglio del lenzuolo, The Trick In The Sheet directed by Alfonso Arau.

From Beginning To End by Aluisio Abranches (I am desperatly looking for the Sicilian angle to this film uhmmmmmm according to IMDB  it is Brazilian uhmmm x 2)

There is a tribute to Beppe Fiorello during the Festival in Miami, where he will receive a special price at the Fundraising Dinner on the 13th April, I am guessing he will be attending so do not miss out, get out there waving the Tricolore, he really is one of Italys best male actors, who gets little to no reconition at home, I am warming to this Sicilian Festival, in his honor you can see:

The Legend Of The Bandit And The Champion, La leggenda del bandito e del campione 1st and 2nd episode spread over two nights directed by Lodovico Gasparini and The Draw , Il sorteggio directed by Giacomo Campiotti.

Viola di Mare, The Sea Purple dirtected by Donatella Maiorca.

Father directed by Pasquale Squitieri is a thriller and a  2011 production, it has not been released in Italy Uffa. People of Miami do go and see this and report back, please. Pasquale Squitieri is the long term partner of  Claudia Cardinale, they also have a daughter together, just in case you were wondering.

Man of Glass, L’uomo di vetro directed by Stefano Incerti.

Baaria directed by Giuseppe Tornatore.

The Vanishing Of Pato, La scomparsa di Pato directed by  Rocco Mortelliti.

Save Me by  Robert Cary Uhmmm what makes this a Sicilian Film ?

For the foodies among you there are two feasts ready to make your mouth water:

The Taste Of Sicilian Cinema From The Leopard To Baaria.

The Taste of Sicilian Cuisine with original recipes from the movies.

There are shorts and documentarys too, do not miss them:

The Wedding, Il matrimonio directed by  Tilde Di Dio

Rita directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza

The Tomato,Il pomodoro directed by Alessio Angelico

Siracusa And Her Province, Siracusa:dai beni e giacimenti culturali alla produzione di eccellenza directed by Province of Siracus

Return To The Aeolian Islands, Fughe e approdi directed by Giovanna Taviani

Sicily For Africa, Un cuore per Ipogolo directed by Roberto Damiata

From The Ducrot Factory To The School Of Cinema, Dalle Officine Ducrot alla Scuola di Cinema directed by Luigi Valenti

UPDATE 29th March 2011:

Just a quick up-date from PrimoCiak, I had a note from the SFF concerning the two non Sicilian Films and I quote:

“There is no direct relationship between the Queer films and Sicily, but Queer Frame/Atlantide based in Italy has collaborated with the SFF for the past few years and the extra films (no matter what the language it is) add an interesting element to the festival and very appealing for Miami Beach residents and visitors”

I think we all agree that “sharing is caring” so anyone providing help to spread the news about Sicilian Films are welcome…..

People of Miami it is time to book those tickets, make it a sell out and do remember to dress appropriately.

  • Rule 1 No grey socks and brown sandals
  • Rule 2 No shorts and flip-flops
  • Rule 3 You do not mix pink and pale blue; this is not a year for pastels
  • Rule 4 Do not marinade in your favourite perfume or after-shave
  • Rule 5 Switch of the mobile, I know…non of you are that important that you cannot live for 2 hours without               it…Yes Roberto you to0 
  • Rule 6 If you have a bad cold and a runny nose, why not give your ticket to a friend

Appreciate your chance to see films that us poor habitants of Sicily might never see.

The Sicilian Film Festival Maimi is also on Facebook, why not become a fan ?


Happy 150th Birthday Italy Unification !

by Marianne Wi

Italy was celebrating last night as if there were no tomorrow and the celebrations continues today too. Here in Sicily the Italian flag is hanging from many balconies in Catania and people are out walking in there best gear “si fa la bella figura”.

No reason not to go to the cinema , Noi credevamo, We once believed directed by Mario Martone is the perfect film for tonight

Happy Birthday Italy and yes that does include Sicily  !



Le stelle inquiete, The Troubled Star can be seen in Sicily !

by Marianne Wi

PrimoCiak was very excited last Friday by the prospect of seeing the above Drama; released nationwide on the 11th March 2011, except ………….in Sicily ! Why not I ask, I know we are still showing a Xmas film  ” Bande di Natale, The Xmas Gang”  in one cinema but seriously, we are quite interested in Drama too.

It is not the first time I have had my hopes for a good drama or thriller dashed on a Friday morning in the past 12 months, so imagine if you can the exuberance cry of joy escaping from my balcony just now, when announced today that they will be screening it online on the 17th of March 2011.

I am sending as always love to the good people of and assure them that I am not a stalker, just an Italian film fanatic desperately seeking something other than comedy. I think I have a great connection although spiritually with the folk of as just ten minutes later they announced that I could also see  “Il resto di niente, The Remains of Nothing” directed by Antonietta De Lillo another drama (from 2004 ?)  now they are seriously spoiling me.



by Marianne Wi

This film has been out in Italy for some time and is now doing the International Film Festival scene. It carried the Italian hope for an Oscar last year at the Academy Awards, it fell at the last hurdle and was not nominated. I so wanted to love this film, yet in all honesty it did not quite do the trick. In my eagerness to see it, I  hopped on a Ryanair flight from London to Pisa  early one sunny but freezing Sunday morning, knowing that it was showing in the local cinema. I spent a cool day shopping, lunching and shopping some more, before settling in the Odeon Cinema with some popcorn and a lotta of goodwill for this epic film. You might be aware that in Italy we like our Intervallo after an hour, nothing to do with small bladders,  just the love of Gelato and the need for a cigarette , we are not proud of this fact it is just the way it is. Baaria did not have an Intervallo 150 minutes long  yep 2 hours and 30 minutes and not one Intervallo !  The audience was pointing this out after every scene in between making calls on their mobiles and discussing who the various actors were…….. a family occasion as always .

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore is very famous  outside  for his other films :

Cinema Paradiso earning him an Oscar back in 1989 – The Starmaker, L’ uomo delle stelle – Malena – The Unknown Woman, La sconoscuta.

In post production “Leningrad”. ( I am dreaming, he started writing and speaking about this film back in 2003 surely it must be coming soon )

All really great films so I was just a little disappointed, still if you get the chance and I am sure you will do go and see it. It is out on DVD box set of 3 disks Italian version, Sicilian version and a full DVD with extra information about the making of the  film.

There were controversy ohhhh yes,  more than just a little from Italy’s animal rights groups, who accused Tornatore of deliberately filming the live killing of a cow in Tunisia ,where the laws protecting animals are non existent. Tornatore defended himself by stating that the cow had not been killed for the film but formed part of everyday life in the 1930s and is still part of life in Tunisia. If you are wearing leather shoes then what is your problem ??? if you are a vegetarian then I feel you pain and between you and me the cow was not really killed, it is still happily gracing on a green field in Tunisia.

Cast :  Francesco Scianna, Margareth Made, Enrico Lo Verso,Angela Molina, Raoul Bova, Luigi Lo Cascio, Laura Chiatti, Nicole Grinaudo, Nino Frassica, Aldo, BeppeFiorello, Gaetano Bruno,Monica Bellicci and many many many many more the list is endless.


The film recounts life in the Sicilian town of Baaria from the 1920s to the 1980s, through the eyes of lovers Peppino (Francesco Scianna) and Mannina (Margareth Madè). A Sicilian family depicted across three generations: from Cicco to his son Peppino to his grandson Pietro… Touching lightly upon the private lives of these characters and their families, the film evokes the loves, dreams and disappointments of an entire community in the province of Palermoover five decades: during the Fascist period, Cicco is a humble shepherd who, however, finds time to pursue his passion: books, epic poems, the great popular romance novels. In the days when people go hungry and during World War II, his son Peppino witnesses injustice by Mafiosi and landowners, and becomes a communist. After the war, he encounters the woman of his life. Her family opposes the relationship because of his political ideas, but the two insist and get married, and have children.

Subplots include one about a boy running an errand, a living fly locked inside a top, three rocks people try to hit in one throw, a man mutilating himself to avoid having to fight in the war, looting while the US conquers Sicily, making clothing from an US parachute, and Peppino’s daughter calling her father a fascist for not allowing her to wear a mini-shirt. Running through the film however is the main subplot concerning the history of the Italian left especially the Communist party of which Peppino is a life long member. It charts his fight against injustice and eventual disillusionment in the face of corruption and compromise by his fellow politicians. Courtesy of  Wikipedia sorry chaps but it is a long time since I saw this film.

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