Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category

The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 3: The Oath to Zanan-e badun-e mardan

March 24, 2010

Don’t cry no tears. All good things come to an end. So do our tardy previews. The New Directors/New Films festival lights up the spring season by bringing to New York the best debuts from festivals like Cannes and Sundance. In the final assortment, there’s a lauded love letter to cinema from Mia Hansen-Løve, the welcome return of Judy Berlin director Eric Mendelsohn and a notable French addition to the “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” genre.

Read the first part of our New Directors/New Films preview.
Read the second part of our New Directors/New Films preview.

The Oath

Abu Jandal and Salim Hamdan are buddies who took very different routes through al-Qaeda’s militant network. Jandal now works with Yemeni youth to temper their fundamentalism. Hamdan sits in Guantanamo, notorious as Osama bin Laden’s onetime chauffeur. The latest film from My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras is another unique look at the Middle East.

Le Pere de Mes Enfants (The Father of My Children)

French film producer Humbert Balsan helped bring works by Bela Tarr and Claire Denis to the public. His life and death inspired this acclaimed new feature from Mia Hansen-Løve, partner of Olivier Assayas. It’s a fresh take on Day for Night, with an overworked producer (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) juggling family and the fact that there isn’t enough hours in the day to achieve cinematic greatness.

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The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 2: Hunting & Zn. to Norteado

March 24, 2010

Families take the center stage in the second part of our New Directors New Films preview. In the Netherlands, a couple comes undone thanks to a new arrival. In Italy, a concubine dares to wander outside a brood’s closed ranks. In Canada, mother and son make like a WWE production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And you don’t even want to know what they’re doing to each other in Greece. It’s a line-up so gripping that film fans won’t even be able to turn from the screen to tell that elderly couple behind them to shut up. Hit the linked titles for more goodies.

Read the first part of our New Directors/New Films preview.

Hunting & Zn. (Hunting & Sons)

Tako and Sandra oughta be poster children for the Netherlands good life. Successful in both work and in life, the childhood sweethearts are the envy of all their friends. Sandra’s pregnancy should be cause for further celebration. In Sander Burger’s domestic horror, however, the blessed event is the very thing that causes their bourgeois bliss to spectacularly deflate. Don’t stand too close to the canal!

Io sono l’amore (I Am Love)

Luca Guadagnino takes a few frames from Visconti in this fragrant family saga, garnished with plenty of love, Italian style. Tilda Swinton is the beautiful Russian odalisque who marries into a fashion dynasty. Her second-class spousal existence is upended when she falls for a humpy young chef. Problem is Swinton’s surging libido might bring down the rest of the clan with her.

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Fist of Film: Bellocchio’s Best

March 19, 2010

For a while, it looked like we had lost Marco Bellocchio. Following his 1965 debut Fists in the Pocket, the Italian philosophy student-turned-director was an indelible presence at the art house. His satires on the hypocrisy of church, state and middle class displayed tremendous filmmaking flair, earning comparisons to Jean Vigo and Max Ophüls. Then his films stopped crossing the Atlantic.

Intellectual bitterness was out of fashion until a new generation of directors like Il Divo Paolo Sorrentino, La meglio gioventu ’s Marco Tullio Giordana and Sabina Guzzanti’s Viva Zapatero took up Bellocchio’s slack. With the Silver Ribbon-winning Vincere, he’s back in theatres. In typical fashion, the love/hate story of Benito Mussolini and his lover Ida Dasler is also the story of how fascism seduced a nation. Here’s five more of his films you need to see.

I pugni in tasca (Fists in the Pocket) (1965)

In a sun-baked estate, a family of epileptics idles away the days driving each other crazy. Alessandro (Lou Castel), however, has a plan to end the generational disease forever. Flaunting his own perverse streak, the 26-year-old Bellocchio got his relatives to fund a film about the ultimate dysfunctional clan, and then shot it in the house where he grew up. The simmering rage impressed many, but Luis Bunuel and Antonioni both gave their acolyte’s first film the thumbs down.

La Cina è vicina (China is Near) (1967)

How do you follow one of the great debuts of the 1960s? By unleashing your deviants into the world. While Prof. Malvezzi breaks into politics on the socialist side, his promiscuous sister Elena (co-scenarist Elda Tattoli) brings the class war into the boudoir. On the outside looking in are a scheming pair of office workers who think marrying into this bunch will be their ticket to the good life. The vicious satire is set to a score by Ennio Morricone.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Midnighters

March 11, 2010

The needy, rancid, blackened heart of the SXSW beats its fearsome tattoo at midnight. That’s when the jowly denizens of the dark come out to play, eyes wide as they tap into their iphones strange messages like “Grobius’s Colon: best horror film since Maniac Cop. Need pancakes!” Will 2010 finally satisfy their baleful tweets for fresh cinematic hamburger? Among the wannabe cult objects are the usual suspects: deceptively ordinary hillbillies, goatmen, and the latest epileptic effort from mad ‘n’ bad Frenchman Gaspar Noé.

Read our SXSW Headliners preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the third part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.

Amer

A young girl’s sexual awakening is related in three discrete episodes. Amer is seen as girl, teenager and woman, navigating an uncertain world of dark houses and mysterious strangers, before a final scene that will probably blow your mind. Directors Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s story of a woman’s sexual awakening takes its cues from the giallo filmmaking of Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

Soudain le vide (Enter the Void)

Few films can clear a room faster than Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible, which puts the “god, no” into “uncompromising.” After eight years of silence, his latest film promises a hallucinogenic look into a drug peddler’s last five minutes of life. Pitched somewhere between Roger Corman’s The Trip and Tony Conrad’s The Flicker, Noé may be taking drugs to make films to take drugs to—and we like it!

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Must See Movies: March

March 1, 2010

Spring is busting out all over, even if Squally is currently looking out at several inches of snow at this writing. While the past few months have offered slim pickings for cineastes on a budget, March comes in with returning masters and new discoveries. So many, in fact, that we’ve extended our usual handful to a mighty six. Among the delights in store: Zoe Kazan, fascist mistresses, Lolitas in platforms, and Ben Stiller turning his neuroses up to 11. Sorry funseekers, no Hot Tub Time Machine. Click on the titles for trailers and more.

The Exploding Girl
Release date: March 12
The pitch: Ivy (Zoe Kazan) juggles a distant boyfriend and a close pal while taking a break from college.
Fun fact: Writer-director Bradley Rust Gray is married to Treeless Mountain helmer So Yong Kim!
Why it could be great: Zoe Kazan’s had us since her delicate turn in Me and Orson Welles. And who doesn’t like a summer-set mood piece released in the middle of March?
Why it could suck: Oh.

Green Zone
Release date: March 12
The pitch: Matt Damon reunites with director Paul Greengrass to fight the war in Iraq. Based on the acclaimed book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.
Fun fact: Greengrass collaborated with onetime M15 agent Peter Wright on Spycatcher, a 1987 bestseller which lifted the lid on Britain’s Secret Service.
Why it could be great: Damon and Greengrass’s Bourne films made palm’s sweat glands work overtime.
Why it could suck: Iraq? Again?

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Trailerama: Io sono l’amore (I Am Love)

February 25, 2010

Tilda Swinton could star in a remake of Two Girls, One Cup and Squally would stand on a building rooftop to loudly proclaim her icy brilliance. Fortunately, there’s no fecal matter in Luca Guadagnino’s tragedy set among the Italian bourgeosie (at least as far as we can see). Swinton is the cool Russian cat who has married into a Milanese fashion house. A love affair with a chef, however, rips her courtly reserve to shreds. With its caresses, Vertigo hommages and booming John Adams soundtrack, the trailer gives viewers plenty to throb about. With Flavio Parenti. Guadagnino collaborated on the screenplay with Barbara Alberti (Il portiere di notte/The Night Porter), Ivan Cotroneo (L’uomo che ama/The Man Who Loved) and Walter Fasano (La terza madre/Mother of Tears).

Berlin 2010 Preview: Forum, Part 1

February 11, 2010

So if the Panorama section deals with contemporary issues and Generations is for the children, what’s Forum? Well, loosely defined it’s where Berlin can put all the other films they like. There’s a particular emphasis on first-time filmmakers and experimental approaches. The net is cast wide this year, with movies from as far a-field as the Chinese-Burma border and Uganda in the first installment of our Forum preview. As for cutting edge, cut-up techniques are used to relate a transsexual romance. The line-up includes the best movie about clams since that one with Elvis Presley. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Aisheen (Still Alive in Gaza)

Swiss documentary filmmaker Nicolas Wadimoff went to Gaza to find the images behind the headlines. He got the goods. This al-Jazeera co-production shows how life goes on under the blockade, with moments of ordinary happiness punctuated by the occasional explosion.

La belle visite

The subjects of Jean-François Caissy’s documentary are in an unusual place. They live in a Quebec roadside motel that’s been turned into a retirement home. Caissy’s long takes and eye for detail emphasizes the grim tragedy of getting old in a mausoleum with has lost none of its transient air.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Generations, Part 1

February 10, 2010

Like the Jesuits, the Berlin Film Festival understands that you need to get ‘em while they’re young. To that end, the Generations sidebar features films about and aimed at youth. This year’s selection of 56 features and shorts looks at every aspect of growing up, from unappreciative single parents to freaky flights of fancy. In the first part of our preview, we start out on a Mexican fishing trip and end up running away with an Italian circus.

Alamar

Three Mexican generations convene on the Chinchorro reef in Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s acclaimed “documentary fiction” of fathers and sons. Daniel Kasman wrote, “a sojourn of a film, getting the simplicity and details of a wonderful but limited experience down to their most honest, most untroubled, most tender, and often most beautiful essences.”

Bestevenner (Best Friends)

This Norwegian children’s film from director Christian Lo combines young friendship, the Christmas season and the threat of deportation. When their friend Naisha flees to Oslo, Julie and Mette pack up their knapsacks and give chase. Expect heartstrings to be hammered like Jerry Lee Lewis attacking a piano.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Panorama Main/Special, Part 2

February 5, 2010

The Panorama section takes in a wide swathe of both independent and international productions which deserve a few more eyeballs cast in their direction. There’s plenty in this year’s line-up to merit attention. A Japanese courier goes on the run after a bomb blast, a miracle-working vagabond raises some hell, Dostoevsky goes Moroccan and families across Europe suffer the fallout of secrets and lies. For afters, there’s even a hermaphrodite road movie. What’s German for “fasten your seatbelts”?

Read the first part of our Berlin Panorama preview.
Read the first part of our Berlin Competition preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin Competition preview.

Fucking Different São Paulo

In the fourth installment of the LGBT-friendly series, male directors take on lesbian stories and female directors tell of gay lives in Brazil’s largest city. Like all portmanteau films, it’s literally a grab-bag. Through a variety of genres that includes animation, the directors tackle all-girl rock bands, long-term relationships, and friends turned lovers.

Goruden Suramba (Golden Slumber)

Director Yoshihiro Nakamura and author Kotaro Isaka have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration that includes 2009’s Fish Story. The Japanese team’s latest is about a courier who goes on the run after he becomes a prime suspect in a political assassination. Put-upon star Masato Sakai won a Blue Ribbon for his role in 2008’s Climber’s High.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Panorama Main/Special, Part One

February 5, 2010

According to the program notes, Berlin’s Panorama section is meant to present “an overview of trends in art-house world cinema.” That’s shorthand for “this is where we put stuff we like, but which is unlikely to attract the attention of a Competition film.” The films found in the Main and Special programs highlight international and independent productions in need of wider distribution. This year’s batch includes India’s first legally gay film, a Brazilian action film and Kevin Spacey moving in with his daughter. Read to the end, because there’s a trick in this line-up’s tail. Click on the titles to see trailers.

Read the first part of our Berlin Competition preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin Competition preview.

Arekti Premer Golpo (Just Another Love Story)

A gay director and his bisexual cameraman learn that it’s hard to make a documentary in Calcutta. Star Rituparno Ghosh is better known as a director, having won the National Film Award for Unishe April. According to director Kaushik Ganguly, this is the first gay picture to be shot in India after the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Amphetamine

A straight fitness trainer named Kafka and a gay businessman have a fraught affair. This is the second film in a stylish autobiographical trilogy by Hong Kong IT-whiz-turned-filmmaker Scud (Permanent Residence), which also starred model Byron Pang.

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