Posts tagged ‘Toni Servillo’


Peppe or Toni Servillo? La stanza dell’orco, The Room of the Ogre (possible English Title)

by Marianne Wi

Antonio and Marco Manetti best know in Italy as the Manetti Brothers are shooting their new film in Rome, they are an awesome combination and are very well know here in Italy for their television work, you may have heard of L’inspettore Coliandro written and directed by both of them, I remember them for the “17th Floor ” a great film that did well at Festivals back in 2005.  La stanza dell’orco, The Room of the Ogre (possible English Title) will be a headline grabber for sure, these brothers are a force to be reckoned with and I have a feeling if this film is directed and the subject of this horror story handled with the utmost care, it will take them out of Italy and on to the International Festival Circuit and beyond, my advise to the Manetti Brothers is ”less is more”, not that they need my advise LOL

The film will star Lorenzo Pedrotti, Domenico Diele and Claudio Di Biagio, three boys living on the outskirts of Rome, with little to do, they are bored and looking for trouble,  just something to do. One boy has a job working as a mechanic in a garage, servicing rich clients cars, one such client foolishly or by design, leave him the keys for his car before heading off to a Rolls Royce reunion, it does not take our trio long before they are joyriding, they find keys on the dashboard belonging to a rather large property, which they decide to investigate further….not a wise decision boys, not wise at all. Our trio discover a room in the property which contents is shocking, sickening and trouble starts to brew, I should imagine they would be heading for the nearest exit at a very high speed. Enter the owner, who has returned early with more than evil on his mind ………….

Here my internet research is coming a cropper, who of the brothers have the guts to take on the role of a deprived pedophile, is it Peppe or Toni Servillo ? According to the Italian Magazine Oggi issue 25 it is Toni, who has had to grow his hair so that it can be coloured red, yet according to other Internet research it is Peppe, my personal money is on Peppe, Toni has always taken on interesting roles portraying Mafia hitmen, yet from hitman to pedophile, I think he will shy away from that role. Peppe on the other hand is the less known of the two yet also an excellent actor, you saw him in Into Paradiso directed by Paola Randi playing Vincenzo Cacace and also in La pecora nera, The Blacksheep directed by Ascanio Celestini, he has less to lose if this film hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons. La stanza dell’orco, The Room of the Ogre has the potential to be an Oscar nominated headline grabber or simply buried under a lot of self-righteous religions dust, only time will tell. I am so hoping it will do well, it is quiet on the ”Goodfilmfront” here in Italy, we are overrun with comedy and could do with a good horror come drama movie.

It is being short right now in Rome with only 4 weeks remaining, assuming all goes to plan it will be released in September 2011 and YES it is in 3D, a film in 3D that is not a cartoon whoop whoop !


Tribeca Film Festival does it have any Italian Films ?

by Marianne Wi

Tribeca Film Festival does it have any Italian Films? No, not this year sadly unless you count the French entry Una Vita Tranquilla, A Quiet Life directed by Claudio Cupellini staring Toni Servillo…. sounds Italian to you ?

I am often confused by the nationality of a film and the idea that money speaks louder than words is not making sense. This film is funded by Italy, Germany and France, the actors are Italian and German, the director is Italian, it is filmed in Germany and both German and Italian is spoken, so why has Tribeca Film Festival decided it is French and have no entries under Italy? I am going to find out as it is upsetting me, imagine if you can happily blogging about a French film on my Italian Film Blog, Ça va pas NO ! There will be news about this later, I am going to ask the good people of New York before I go into meltdown.

The Festival looks cool and has a great looking programme, unless of course you are looking for Italian Films. They also have an online festival, something I shall check out for sure and if you are in New York between the 20th April and the 1st of May and you are looking smart, why not swing by and take in a film.

Update 01.05.11

No response from Tribeca (e-mail sent 20.04.11) on their decision to classify Una Vita Tranquilla, A Quiet Life directed by Claudio Cupellini as French, I understand the film was well received which is all that matters. Lets hear it for Italy though !


Una Vita Tranquilla, A Quiet Life.

by Marianne Wi

A Quiet Life has now hit the International Festival scene, I am happy to see it doing so well, the reviews are excellent. I wonder if Italians realise in just how high esteem Toni Servillo is held outside its borders, Gorbaciof another of Servillo’s films from 2010 is also widely sought after, in fact in this years Italian Film Festival in London both were shown, as they say down under  “Good on you Mate”.

Director : It is Cladio Cupellini second full length film after Lezioni di coccolato, Chocolate Lessons released in 2007. Choosing such a difficult subject in today’s climate, is taking a risk for sure, making an ex hitmen from the Camorra likeable and on occasions even loveable takes guts. There are a number of sequence  and close-up shots done with great clarity and skill, the plot is good and the ending I guess inevitable.

Cast:  Toni Servillo, Marco D’Amore, Francesco Di Leva, Juliane Kohler, Leonardo Sprengler,  Alice Dwyer, Maurizio Donadoni.

Best moment : Brothers diving together, did it for me although the nailing of the tree came a close second.

Synobsis : Rosario (Toni Servillo) is an ex-hitman, who faked his own death and moved to Germany near Weisbarden, where he re-invented himself. Having started a new life as a hotelier and restaurateur with a new wife (Kohler) and a cute young son, life is truly good for Rosario, life is quiet for Rosario. The tranquility is shattered, when two bad ass Neapolitan youth arrives on the screen Diego (D’amore) and Edoardo (the awesome de Leva, if you like your man bad, you will want to take him home) they book a room at the Inn and trouble starts. The two Camorra hit-men are here to kill a disposal plant manager before he puts pen to paper and signs a contract, waste disposal is always big news and big money in Italy. There are some very strong scenes with the two sons as they relationship developes, there are beautiful scenes shot in the forest  always giving full attention to detail,  a priority in every frame, the nailing of the tree by Rosario was breathtaking, the sound track by Teho Teardo ever-present yet never intrusive  was  excellent.  As endings goes I guess this one was inevitable, strong acting from Toni Servillo brilliant as always was backed by both  Marco D’Amore and Francesco Di Leva .


Il gioiellino, The little Gem, Parmalat SpA

by Marianne Wi

Parmalat, the Italian milk scandal is coming out.

Andrea Molaidi has directed and co-written this film based on the great scandal of Parmalat SpA Italy, it still holds the dubious record of being the biggest bankruptcy ever seen in Europe with a debt of 14.3 bn, also known as Europe’s Enron. That is a lot of money in anyone’s book, the problem here was that in this case the value featured in their accounts Balance sheet was showing less than 1.75 bn, some difference.

One day in early 2000 some bright spark queried the fact that as there were billions showing in the bank, why did Parmalat not pay of some of their debts? Good question I think you will agree, the answer among others were “The bank accounts did not exist “clear case of  fraud and criminal conspiracy.

Investors; there were a 100,000 individual investments in Grade Corporate Bonds, all saw their money wiped out overnight and never recovered a penny or should that be lira.

In December 2010 Ernesto Fausto was sentenced to 14 years and Calisto Tanzi the original founder ( he was 22 in 1961 when he started his first pasteurizing plant Parmalat in the small village of Parma ) to 18 years, having admitted to money laundering among other accountancy faux pas. Don’t worry though as both have appealed and as it can take many years for a case to come back to court . Tanzi , who is now 72 will never see the inside of a jail, if he did he would certainly not be short of money to purchase benefits,  as is custom in Italian prisons .

Interview with Toni Servillo in Italian, just for you.

Cast:  Toni Servillo, Remo Girone, Sarah Felberbaum, Lino Guanciale, Fausto Maria Sciarappa, VanessaCompagnucci, Lisa Galantini

Director: This is Andrea Molaidi’s second feature film; being released in Italy on the 4th March 2011, I am expecting this film to attract a lot of interest worldwide so please proceed with due care and attention when adding subtitles….

Who can forget the Film La Ragazza del lago,  The Girl by the Lake released in  2007, it opened in cinemas worldwide with great success , in Italy it grossed less than 2.3 million. Molaidi is very much a case of better known away, than at home.

This time Molaidi has teamed up with Gabriele Romagndi (mainly known for TV work) and Ludovica Rampoldi with whom he also worked with on The Girl by the Lake. Rampoldi also wrote the screenplay for The Double hour, La doppia ora.

This film centres on the human aspect of this scandal; it is not a documentary or an investigation as such more a news story and an apologue a story about Italians amoral familism ( Tutte bene, everything’s fine ) however also a story of unscrupulous greed based on Western management values.

Parmalat is still going strong today, producing dairy products and fruit juices under many different names; Lactis, Santal, Malu and Kyr to name a few.

The names of the protagonists have been changed too  i.e.  Calisto Tanzi became Amanzio Rastelli played by Remo Girone; Fausto Tonna his right hand man became Ernesto Botta played by Toni Servillo, why the need for this cloak and dagger stuff? Chaps this is Italy for you, I guess as the case against  Tanzi and Tonna is now  being appealed , there may be legal reasons for this.

Toni Servillo is Italy’s contemporary top male actor although not in the handsome category , often playing unpleasant and seedy roles, we saw him in  IL divo, Gorbaciof, A quiet live, The consequences of Love and Gomorra the list is long ,very long and he is not letting us down in this film either. The storyline did drag on occasions, I do not think that will deter the public outside Italy.


Miami International Film Festival MIFF

by Marianne Wi


Miami International Film Festival, (4th March to 13th March 2011) I nearly missed this charming Festival showing an interesting selection of films due to the Oscar hype . We  have two Italian films being championed at the Festival, unusual choices if you ask me, however I am pleased for both films, lets go explore….


Passione, Passion I was denied the possibility of seeing this film myself when it was released nationwide in Italy ( It never screened in Catania, Sicily and was also confused by the general public with La Passione , The Passion out at the same time) only in Italy.  Passion without the THE  is a must for any second ,third generation Italian living abroad , it is a festival must see. John Turturro’s latest movie takes us on a journey through Napoli, one of the biggest jukeboxes in the world with songs from way back to present day . Sing along if you must , you will surely know all the songs .

The second film shown is A Quiet Life, Una Vita Tranquilla staring Toni Servillo, if you love him you will adore this offering by the director Cladio Cupelli . Toni Servillo is Rosario an ex-hitman who ran off to Germany and re-invented himself , with a lovely new family including cute child,leaving a family behind including not so cute child in Italy. One day the prodigal son from Italy turns up as a hitman in Germany and their lives collide. This film is excellent , I really enjoyed it and I am chuffed to see it hitting the US too. Italians of Miami, now it is time to put on those glad rags and your best perfume and get this Festival rocking.


Noi credevamo, We Believed

by Marianne Wi

Director: Mario Martone, is known in Italy for his many theatre productions and although he has been involved as a Director and Screenwriter in a number of productions, he is little known outside Italy. I know him from the wonderful film L’odore del sangue, The Sent of Blood staring Fanny Ardant and Michele Placido a grat film. I was very much looking forward to this film.

Cast : Luigi lo Cascio, Valerio Binasco, Francesca Inaudi, Guido Caprino, Felice Orsini, Toni Servillo, Luca Zingaretti and many others.

Best moment : The first view of Paris, beautiful colour and clear shots also the return to Calabria was a joy to watch. The dancing scene too was beautiful shot.

Worst moment : The white screen, it was white for a long time with only sound and shadows. It really did not work for me at all.

I understand this film was originally  3 hours 24 minutes  before being cut to 2 hours and 50 minutes, it should perhaps have been shown in its full format on TV over 2 evenings. I was very disappointed and struggled throughout the film to identify the characters, as most scenes were shot with little light and often lacking focus, in fact I think 2 hours were shot in that manner leaving me with a headache from squinting and straining to make out the actors as they aged during the shooting of the film. Domenico (Luigi lo Cascio) changed for a young man with black hair, black eyebrows and black moustache  to an old man with grey hair, eyebrows and beard only to play the final scenes with grey hair, jet black eyebrows and grey beard.  A good understanding of Italy’s fight for unification will also be helpful. I sat next to 4 Italian film buffs, who after the first hour started to SMS on they iPhone 4’s and only one remained to the end.

Synopsis : Three young friends from the south of  Italy, take on the Europe. The film is separated into 4 acts and centres on Italy’s  fight for Unification. There is blood, sweat and tears, as we battle through the result of the Bourbon war, revolutions, betrayals with the resulting death by guns, mini bombs made to look like chestnuts and decapitations, blood is  flowing freely throughout. It sets off  in 1828, when the 3 friends join Giuseppe Mazzino (Toni Servillo) we follow their struggle, not just with the outside world but also their struggle against each other and themselves, often failing all three.

Perhaps best watched on DVD when it is released, 3 hours is a long time in a cinema seat .


Toni Servillo Best Actor

by Marianne Wi

Well done Toni Servillo for winning Best Actor at the Roman Film Festival for A Quiet Live ! He was superb in Gorbaciof ( see my blog under Drama) and is known outside Italy for his role in Il Divo.


Gorbaciof, Gorbacov

by Marianne Wi

Stefano Incerti’s latest film Gorbaciof was released in Italy last week, to mixed reviews. It was in competition at this years Film Festival in Venice and has had its international premier in Toronto.

Cast: Toni Servillo, Mi Yang, Geppy Geijeses, Gaetano Bruno, Hal Yamanouchi

Best moment: Bedroom scene, sweet kiss on Gorbaciof’s nose by Lila.

Useful information: Gorbaciof is a nick name given to Pacileo, he has a birth mark as did Mihail Gorbacov on his forehead.

Synopsis: Gorbaciof (Toni Servillo) is a cashier at the Poggioreale prison in Naples,who help himself to cash to support his gambling habit. The film moves from his work, to his home, to a Chinese restaurant with a back-room gambling table run by a judge, back and forth through the film. There is little to no speech , not a word for the first 10 minutes and often an unusual use of sound effects. The film is a one-man show, all about Gorbaciof who is played brilliantly by Toni Servillo, who portrays the character perfectly, given that he has few lines this is a great tribute to his acting skills. Gorbaciof’s relationship with the beautiful Lila ( Mi Yang) is touching , and develops slowly building into a sweet romance between two people who have no common language , Lila is a Chinese immigrant who does not speak Italian. There are some great scenes shot with a tiger at the local zoo and an innocent game played with a trolley at Naples airport.

I was confused by the endless line of people handing over large amounts of cash in the jail as it was done in silence and there were no sign of paying-in-slips, what were they paying for? I am not familiar with Italian prison etiquette however it has been explained to me that it is bribes paid by relatives to ease the jail term being served by their loved ones.

The film is carried by the extraordinary talent of Toni Servillo and is likely to do well at International Film Festivals, he is well-known outside Italy for his roles in Gomorrah, Il Divo and The Consequences of Love.

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