Posts tagged ‘Valerio Mastandrea’


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



Il comandante e la cicogna, The Commander and the Stork – Soldini

by Marianne Wi
Il comandante e la cicogna, The Commander and the Stork is Silvio Soldini’s latest project, the filming of this comedy is to start in September 2011. Alba Rohrwacher will be playing Diana a poor budding artist with great ideas, she will share the limelight with another great Italian actor the charming Valerio Mastandrea (Bruno in La prima cosa bella, The First Beautiful Thing) who will play Leo a Plumber and single parent. There will as you would expect from a comedy be a lot of humor as the two fall in love. The official storyline is: Diana is painting a wall in the waiting room of  a dishonest lawyer, he is not paying her enough so she is grumpy. Leo arrive in the office seeking advice as his daughter has been caught up in a sexy video that is currently being distributed on the Internet; love blossoms. Giueseppe Battiston will have a role as always in Soldini’s films I suspect he will play the lawyer. I am still willing him the Best Supporting Actor statuette in the David di Donnatello awards 2011 for his role in La Passione, The Passion he was truly awesome. 

Best Foreign Film Oscar 2011

by Marianne Wi

To follow is a list of films entered for Best Foreign Film at this years Oscars. Italy’s entry is  The First Beautiful Thing directed by Paolo Virzì . Nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards will be announced on January 25, 2011 at 5:30 a.m. PT. The Academy Awards ceremony will be held on February 27 2011.

East, West, East directed by Gjergi Xhuvani

Outside the Law directed by Rachid Bouchareb

Carancho directed by Pablo Trapero

La Pivellina directed by Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel

Precinct directed by Ilgar Safat

Third Person Singular Number directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki

Illegal directed by Olivier Masset-Depasse
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Cirkus Columbia directed by Danis Tanovic

Lula, the Son of Brazil directed by Fábio Barreto

Eastern Plays directed by Kamen Kalev

Incendies directed by Denis Villeneuve

The Life of Fish directed by Matías Bize
Aftershock directed by Feng Xiaogang

Crab Trap directed by Oscar Ruíz Navia
Costa Rica
Of Love and Other Demons directed by Hilda Hidalgo
The Blacks directed by Goran Devic and Zvonimir Juric

Czech Republic
Kawasaki’s Rose directed by Jan Hrebejk

In a Better World directed by Susanne Bier

Messages from the Sea directed by Daoud Abdel Sayed

The Temptation of St. Tony directed by Veiko Öunpuu

Steam of Life directed by Joonas Berghail & Mika Hotakainen

Of Gods and Men directed by Xavier Beauvoi

Street Days directed by Levan Koguashvili

When We Leave directed by Feo Aladag

Dogtooth directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Hong Kong
Echoes of the Rainbow by Alex Law

Bibliotheque Pascal directed by Szabolcs Hajdu

Mamma Gogo directed by Fridrik Thor

Peepli Live directed by Anusha Rizvi
How Funny (This Country Is) directed by Deddy Mizwar

Farewell Baghdad directed by Mehdi Naderi

Son of Babylon directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji

The Human Resources Manager directed by Eran Riklis
The First Beautiful Thing directed by Paolo Virzì

Confessions directed by Tetsuya Nakashima

Strayed directed by Akan Satayev

Hong Kong Confidential directed by Maris Martinsons

Mothers directed by Milcho Manchevski

Biutiful directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Tirza directed by Rudolph van den Berg

La Yuma directed by Florence Jaugey

Angel directed by Margreth Olin

Undertow directed by Javier Fuentes-León

Noy directed by Dondon Santos

All That I Love directed by Jacek Borcuch
To Die Like a Man directed by João Pedro Rodrigues

Puerto Rico
Miente directed by Rafi Mercado

If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle directed by Florin Serban

The Edge directed by Aleksei Uchitel

Besa directed by Srdjan Karanovic

The Border directed by Jaroslav Vojtek

South Africa
Life, Above All directed by Oliver Schmitz

South Korea
A Barefoot Dream directed by Tae-gyun Kim

Even the Rain directed by Iciar Bollain

Simple Simon directed by Andreas Ohman

La petite chambre directed by Stéphanie Chaut & Véronique Reymond

Monga directed by Doze Niu

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives directed by Apichatpong Weerathesakul
Honey directed by Semih Kaplanoglu

Hermano directed by Marcel Rasquin


La prima cosa bella, The First beautiful Thing.

by Marianne Wi

Director : Paolo Virzi at his very best, known outside Italy for Catarina va in citta, Catarina in the Big City and My Name is Tanino. When introducing Catarina in the Big City at the London Film Festival , he took his daughter on stage and thanked her for her help, we were promised a Q & A after the showing but alas Mr. Virzi did not come back for it and we sat all 150 members of the paying public waiting………. I am surprised to find this film as the Italian entry to this years Oscar for Best Foreign Film

, however it is a very warm wossy film, it effortlessly moves between 1971 and the present . The wonderful Ramazzotti as the young Anna and the equally wonderful Sandrelli playing the older and dying Anna are both acting superbly.  Will be watching on the 25th January 2011 to see if it is accepted by the Academy. The film won Mastandrea and Ramazzotti a David Donatello best actor/actress award 2010, well deserved.

Cast : Valerio Mastandrea, Micaela Ramazzotti, Stefania Sandrelli, Claudia Pandolfi, Marco Messeri, Fabrizia Sacchi, Sergio Albelli, Isabella Cecchi, Dario Ballantini ,Paolo Ruffini and Emanuele Barresi.

Best Moment: So many lovely moments to pick from….When Valerio danced with a dying mother before confronting a  group of laughing teenagers, being the first moment  Valerio showed real love for his mother. I also loved Anna on her death-bed singing with her children and commenting  ” What a life bimbi belli, we had fun my babies didn’t we ? “

Moment I could have done without : No film is that good right ?  I just cannot think of any right at this moment.

La prima cosa bella, well known song in Italy in 1970 song by Nicola di Bari

La prima cosa bella song by Nicola di Bari

Synopsis: Bruno (Valerio Mastandrea) a weak man with a tendency to dabble in mild illegal substances,  reluctantly  dragged back to his home town to deal with his dying mother (Sandrelli) by his sister. The film shifts effortlessly between 1971 and 2009, starting with the young Anna (played with great sensitivity by Ramazzotti) being voted Mum of the year, much to the horror of the young Bruno and the delight of her daughter. The violent husband is supported brilliantly by the angry little boy, the interaction between this young family is a delight to watch, Anna’s continual struggle though the early years keeping any unpleasantness away from the children is heart-warming. You are treated to great comedy and drama throughout this  delightful and touching  film. I think Virzi’s best films so far.

Already out on DVD with English subtitles.

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