Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Springtime in America: The Season of Italian Cinema

Americans are embracing all genres of Italian cinema. The week began with news of Francesco and Neri Ricci's short film, "Halina" taking top honors in its category at the DC Independent Film Festival in Washington, DC.. http://dciff-indie.org/ ...and the week may end with Paolo Sorrentino taking an Oscar back to Italy with his blockbuster, "La grande bellezza."
 

The city of Los Angeles is celebrating Italian culture with a distinguished film program and Red Carpet events attended by celebrities from all walks of entertainment.
Next week, the 6th Annual Minneapolis Italian Film Festival will kick off a week of contemporary Italian film screenings. www.theitalianculturalcenter.org/



Giuseppe Piccioni's Il rosso e il blu

Valeria Golino's 2013 film, "Miele" will be shown at New York University on March 4th followed by a discussion with Golino and actress, Jasmine Trinca. www.casaitaliananyu.org/content/events-0


Valeria Golino's Miele
Also next week, the Rochester Institute of Technology will launch a month-long celebration of Sicilian culture, featuring the Italian documentary filmmaker, Salvo Cuccia, who will present his film, “Summer 82 when Zappa came to Sicily."

On March 27th, the Italian Film Festival USA will kick off in Pittsburgh with 11 U.S. cities participating, including Memphis, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Boulder, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Phoenix. http://italianfilmfests.org/index.html



Carlo Verdone on the set of Io, loro e Lara

Then from June 6-12, we have the annual, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema film festival at Lincoln Center in NYC, which features a whole host of Italian filmmakers presenting and discussing their films... not to mention all the smaller community events hosted by Italian American Community Centers around the country.
Americans are truly supporting and enjoying contemporary Italian cinema.. and I couldn't be happier about it!






Monday, February 24, 2014

Film Program of 2014 Los Angeles Italia Festa

The 2014 Los Angeles Italia Festa is underway with stars from all walks of entertainment showing up on the Red Carpet to celebrate Italian culture. If you are in the Los Angeles area, the film program is not to be missed. Below is the schedule for the remaining days of the festival.

DAILY PROGRAM OF SCREENINGS

 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25
9:30am Tribute to the legendary maestro Eduardo De Filippo
The Mayor (92' - dir. Ugo Fabrizio Giordani)
11:10am Focus on Roberto Faenza
Look to the Sky (100' - dir. Roberto Faenza)
1:00pm Raise Your Head (88' - dir. Alessandro Angelini) Special Screening
The actress Anita Kravos will be attending the event
2:40pm The Art of Happiness (82' - dir.Alessandro Rak) – Special Screening
4:20pm Eni Culture of Energy – Doc Gela Makes News (11' - dir. Fernando Cerchio)
Followed by Animation Pinocchio (75' - dir. Enzo D'Alò) Special Screening
The director will be attending the event
6:00pm Cool People (105' - dir. Francesco Patierno) - Special Screening
The director will be attending the event
8:00pm Shortmovie The Cut (10' – dir. Gianluca Minucci)
The Third Half (95' - dir. Enrico Maria Artale ) - Special Screening
The director will be attending the event
10:00pm Un boss in salotto (105' - dir. Luca Miniero) - Special Screening

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26
9:00am The Day Will Come (86' - dir. Giuseppe Ferlito) - Special Screening
10:40am The Big Heart of Girls (85' - dir. Pupi Avati)
The actress Isabelle Adriani will be attending the screening
12:15pm The Displaced Child (100 - dir Pupi Avati)
2:15pm Focus on Roberto Faenza
The Soul Keeper (100' - dir. Roberto Faenza)
4:10pm The Mystery of Dante (100' - dir. Louis Nero ) - Special Screening
The actor Franco Nero will be attending the event
6:00pm Shortcut I Will Kill You (12' – dir. Francesco Cinquemani)
The director will be attending the screening
Followed by The Mercury Factor (105' dir. Luca Barbareschi) - Special Screening
8:15pm Romeo & Juliet (118' - dir. Carlo Carlei)
The actor Tomas Arana will be attending the screening
10:30pm Handy (85' – Vincenzo Cosentino) – Special Screening
The actor Franco Nero will be attending the event

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27
9:00am Tribute to the legendary maestro Eduardo De Filippo
Ghosts, Italian Style (104' - dir. Renato Castellani)
10:50am Brain Drain ( 100' - dir.Paolo Ruffini) Special Screening
12:40am Italian Movies (99' - dir. Matteo Pellegrini)
2:30pm Focus on Roberto Faenza
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You (98' - dir. Roberto Faenza)
4:20pm Blame Freud (120' - dir. Paolo Genovese) Special Screening
The director and the producer Marco Belardi will be attending the event
6:30pm Honoring the Italian Poet of Music Francesco De Gregori
Broken Windows (103' - dir Stefano Pistolini ) Special Screening
The artist Francesco De Gregori will be attending the event
rsvp: degregori@losangelesitalia.com
9:00pm Honoring the Italian-Americans: director Martin Scorsese
and actor Leonardo Di Caprio
The Wolf of Wall Street (180'- dir. Martin Scorsese)
rsvp: italian-american@losangelesitalia.com

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28
10:00am Focus on Roberto Faenza
The Days of Abandonment (96' - dir. Roberto Faenza)
11:45am Tribute to the legendary maestro Eduardo De Filippo
Saturday, Sunday and Monday (119' - dir. Lina Wertmuller)
1:50pm Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (119' - dir. Vittorio De Sica)
4:00pm The Family Friend (102' - dir. Paolo Sorrentino, with Giacomo Rizzo)
6:00pm The Consequences of Love (100' - dir. Paolo Sorrentino, with Toni Servillo)
8:00pm This Must Be the Place (118' - dir. Paolo Sorrentino, with Sean Penn)
10:15pm One Man Up (100' - dir. Paolo Sorrentino, with Toni Servillo)

SATURDAY, MARCH 1
9:00am A Small Southern Enterprise (103' - dir. Rocco Papaleo) Special Screening
10:50am Spaghetti Story (83' - dir. Ciro De Caro) Special Screening
12:30pm Tribute to the legendary maestro Eduardo De Filippo
Side Street Story (83' - dir. Eduardo De Filippo)
2:10pm Monologue The Piano Marshall (10' - Starr. Eduardo de Filippo)
Followed by 394 Trilogy in the World (55' - dir. Massimiliano Pacifico, with Toni Servillo)
3:20pm Eni Culture of Energy – Docu Rethink Energy (6' - Interview with Toni Servillo)
Followed by Il Divo (110' - dir. Paolo Sorrentino. Starr. Toni Servillo)
5:30pm Blame Freud (100' - dir. Paolo Genovese) Special Screening
7:40pm Laura Pausini: The Italian Queen of Pop (45' - dir. Vincenzo Mollica)

ADMISSION IS FREE. FIRST COME, FIRST SEATED.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Italian Films from the 70th Venice Film Festival Reach Audiences Worldwide


Antonio Albanese and Gianni Amelio, Photo by Claudio Iannone
For the first time ever, the Italian films screened at the Venice International Film Festival will be featured in a film series in Beirut, Lebanon. The film event “Venezia Cinema a Beirut”, organized by the Biennale di Venezia with the Italian Institute of Culture in Lebanon, will run from February 20 through February 25, 2014.

According to Labiennale.org, four Italian films from the Official Selection of the 70th Venice Film Festival will be presented at the Metropolis Empire Sofil – Acharafieh in Beirut. The event will open with "L’intrepido" by Gianni Amelio. The following day, audiences will be treated to Emma Dante's "Via Castellana Bandiera" with the star Elena Cotta, winner of the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress, on hand for a discussion. Monday's screening on February 24th will feature "La prima neve" by Andrea Segre, and the closing film will be the Golden Lion winner, "Sacro GRA" by Gianfranco Rosi.

Similar initiatives have been organized in recent years by the Biennale di Venezia to promote Italian cinema around the world, including 2005 in Brazil, 2006 in Russia, 2009 in China and 2012 in Korea. In addition to Beirut, the Italian films of the 70th Venice International Film Festival were screened in other film series organized in Brazil and Korea. There are more scheduled in the coming months in China, Russia and for the first time in Croatia and Singapore.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Director Salvo Cuccia to Present Documentary on Frank Zappa


Italian director, Salvo Cuccia will be presenting his acclaimed documentary, “Summer 82 when Zappa came to Sicily" at the Rochester Institute of Technology next month. The documentary, which premiered at the 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival, is a remarkable story which recounts a Frank Zappa concert that was scheduled in Palermo during the tumultuous summer of 1982, but had to be cancelled due to unrest in the city. Some 30 years later, the director, with ticket in hand, revisits that night and is accompanied by the late singer's wife, children and granddaughter as he takes them through the land of their origins and introduces them to relatives they never knew. The Zappa family goes on to receive honorary citizenship of Partinico, Sicily.

The director will present the film in a special "Screening and Master Class" that will take place on March 17th and 18th at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The screening is part of a fantastic series called, "See-cily." The month-long series will launch on March 5th with a photo exhibition and opening reception. The series will offer an in-depth exploration of Sicily, and will consist of lectures, exhibits and screenings on Sicilian folk life, opera, cinema.

Below is a list of special events. All events begin at 7:00 pm and will be held in the Vignelli Center University Gallery at RIT in Rochester, New York. Antonino Riggio's photo exhibit will run through March 27th.

March 5 - SEE-CILY PHOTO EXHIBIT OPENING AND RECEPTION
Mr. Antonino Riggio

March 11 - SICILIAN FOLK LIFE - LECTURE
Ms. Rosalba Pisaturo

March 12 - Cinema on the Island: from Vittorio De Seta to Salvo Cuccia - LECTURE     Dr. Elisabetta Sanino D'Amanda

March 13 - SICILIAN OPERA - LECTURE AND SCREENING
Ms. Rosalba Pisaturo

March 17 - SCREENING AND MASTER CLASS with Director Salvo Cuccia
 “Detour De Seta”

March 18 - SCREENING AND MASTER CLASS with Director Salvo Cuccia
“Summer 82 when Zappa came to Sicily”


Monday, February 17, 2014

The Center for Italian Modern Art in New York City

"La Rissa" Fortunato Depero
The New York Times recently reported a new art gallery dedicated to Italian modern art will open this month in Manhattan.

Located in SoHo, the gallery will be called, the Center for Italian Modern Art. Located at 421 Broome Street, the inaugural exhibit will feature work of the Futurist artist and designer Fortunato Depero. The exhibit is set to coincide with the Guggenheim Museum's “Italian Futurism 1909 – 1944: Reconstructing the Universe.”

Laura Mattioli, the center’s founder and president, said, “The launch of the Center for Italian Modern Art marks a critical milestone for the international appreciation of 20th-century Italian art and an important step in overcoming the range of cultural, academic, and political obstacles that for far too long have prevented a broader awareness of the significance of modern and contemporary Italian art.”

The website, www.italianmodernart.org is still under construction. The doors are scheduled to open on February 22nd.



"Una donna per amica"... il nuovo film di Giovanni Veronesi


Can men and women be friends?

Francesco e Claudia (Fabio De Luigi e Laetitia Casta) sono belli, giovani e molto amici. Lui è un avvocato, impacciato e spiritoso. Lei fa la veterinaria, un'anima libera e anticonformista.

Tra loro non ci sono segreti, ma quando nella vita di Claudia arriva Giovanni e lei decide di sposarlo, Francesco si accorge che l'amicizia fra uomo e donna è più complicata del previsto.

Al cinema dal 27 Febbraio.. 


Ray Caesar Solo Exhibition Underway in Rome and Torino


THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS
Ray Caesar solo exhibition
Dorothy Circus Gallery opened its 2014 schedule with the long-awaited solo exhibition by Ray Caesar titled, “The Trouble with Angels”. The exhibition opened last week at the Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome, where it will be on display until April 6th 2014. Alongside with new artworks in edition of 20, made ​​specifically for the gallery that represents him exclusively for Italy, will be displayed also 5 brand new unique edition pieces, the renowned single varnished collected by Madonna and other great collectors.

The 18 works on display, including editions and unique editions, will create a rich overview of the dreamlike, enigmatic and seductive universe of Ray Caesar, who for years amazed us for the richness of his imagination, full of renovated psychic scenarios and technically stunning details. As a skilled tailor, Caesar dresses his angels of seductive harmonies, inspired by the memory of his times and of his personal desire, sewing puzzles and mysterious symbols among defined details of his artworks so that we are assaulted by new questions and suggestions. What is coming out from the thoughts of the “Etudiante”? What happens the day after yesterday? And why was the lovely creature in the carriage left nearby the sea? Art opens the doors of our perception, confirming its immense evocative power, which once again is used by Ray Caesar to interpret and fulfill our desires, first of all, the desire to escape and to visualize a possible journey of the mind, which brings us through familiar and reassuring places, and at the same time deep into the secrets and dark corners of our mind. Ray Caesar’s Time and Space draw us like a magnet, the vibration of technology belongs to us, the rich imagery of quotations, from Watteau to Boldini, does not relive the past, but it makes the past contemporary and present. The works in the exhibition “The Trouble With Angels” will be published in the third volume of the annual catalog of Dorothy Circus Gallery titled “The Doors of Perception” coming out on September 2014. The first and the second volumes of Dorothy Circus Gallery’ Trilogy “Once Upon a Time” and “Walk on the Wild Side” featuring the 2011 exhibition by Ray Caesar “Would You Be My Miracle?” are already published.
ROME
From February 15th till April 6th 2014
Dorothy Circus Gallery via Dei Pettinari 76

TORINO
From February 18th 2014 till April 10th 2014
Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana via Della Consolata 1bis

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rare Italian Short Film Shown at Berlin Film Festival

I Maccheroni, a 12-minute short film made in 1959 by Raffaele Andreassi was selected for the in the culinary section of the 64th Berlin Festival.

I Maccheroni was shot in the beautiful seaside town of Gargano, located in the southern region of Puglia. The story celebrates the culinary ritual of Sunday sauce. However, sadly on this Sunday,  a poor family cannot afford to follow the tradition, so a little boy must find a solution.

The Abruzzo-born director, Raffaele Andreassi is best known for his 1969 film, Flashback which recounts the wartime experiences of a German soldier. Andreassi started out as a journalist and made numerous documentaries and short films. In 1960, he was awarded the Silver Berlin Bear for his short film I vecchi. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 84.

I Maccheroni was definitely one of his lower key projects. I've searched for more information about this film and it's very hard to come by. Festival goers are lucky for the rare opportunity to see this lost gem.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Martin Scorsese Presents Current Film as "Work In Progress"


Martin Scorsese at 64th Berlin Film Festival
"Untitled New York Review Of Books Documentary" directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi was presented on February 14th at the 64th Berlinale Special, where it was shown as a work in progress, followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and key contributors.

"For over 50 years, 'The New York Review of Books' has been one of the most interesting and sophisticated magazines on culture and politics, with content by outstanding writers and thinkers. In their wonderful documentary, Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi reveal the inner workings of the publication and its legendary editor, from its birth during the 1963 New York Times’ newspaper strike, through its continued relevance in today’s digital universe. We're very pleased that we'll be closing this year's Berlinale Special with this highlight," says Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick.

Robert Silvers in Untitled New York Review Of Books Documentary

From the outset, the publication has been ahead of the mainstream thinking on political and social currents and upheavals. NYREV has been a source for intelligent and controversial thinking about the issues of our time: human rights, racial discrimination, the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, the woman’s movement, and revolution in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Making use of rare footage and photographs to provide historical context, the film includes writers like James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, Noam Chomsky and Norman Mailer; along with new footage of Joan Didion, Michael Chabon, Mary Beard, and Timothy Garton Ash; giving us a portrait of a magazine that has been on the vanguard of provocative ideas and commentary for over 50 years.

Academy Award winner and four-time Golden Globe winner Martin Scorsese has been a frequent guest at the Berlinale, including in 2010 with "Shutter Island" and in 2008 with "Shine A Light" in the Competition programme. Scorsese’s frequent documentary collaborators, David Tedeschi (co-director) and Margaret Bodde (producer), also attended, along with the NYREV’ editor, Robert Silvers and publisher, Rea Hederman.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Work of Calabrese Photographer Alfredo Valente on Exhibit in New York City

Alfredo Valente by Raphael Soyer, ca. 1940
"Black and Beautiful" is the current exhibition at Manhattan's Keith De Lellis Gallery. The exhibit celebrates African-American portraiture by more than two dozen acclaimed photographers, including Calabria-born photographer, Alfredo Valente.

Singer, painter, photographer, art collector, dealer, cultural administrator, Alfredo Valente (1899-1973) was among the most cultured of the camera artists who chronicled Broadway. Born in Calabria, Italy, trained as a fine artist and also as an opera singer, he came to the United States in 1927. For several years he sang in public, a career that culminated in a not too successful performance of "Aida" in 1930 with the Civic Opera.

Valente's career as a visual artist went better. In 1931, he became the photographer for the Group Theater, the experimental repertory company organized by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg. His images evoked the seriousness of that idealistic troupe and established his bona fides on Broadway. By March 1933, he was publishing regularly in magazines and in newspapers. Through the 1930s Valente (along with Gray-O'Reilly Studio) worked for Stage, then the chief monthly chronicling Broadway. Like James Abbe a decade before, Valente made a specialty of portraying performers in costume, but not performing their parts. These full page character-portraits became his 1930s trademark. By 1937, he had eclipsed Maurice Goldberg, who was increasingly involved in Hollywood, as the arts photographer of choice at the New York Times. At various points during 1935-37 he worked as a contract photographer shooting publicity for Columbia Pictures.
Salvatore Dali photographed by Alfredo Valente

Throughout his career, he was intimately connected with the painting community in New York. In 1952, he exhibited at the New School twenty-eight portraits of New York painters accompanying their own self portraits. He invested the profits of his portrait business in paintings, collecting substantial bodies of workd by Raphael Soyer, Kuniyoshi, and Ben Shahn. By 1959, the value of these paintings had risen to such extent that Valente closed his portrait studio and founded the Alfredo Valente Gallery at 119 W. 57th Street in Manhattan. In January 1964, the Chase Manhattan Bank exhibited a show devoted to his work entitled, "The Personal and Private Eye of the Photographer."

Valente believed straight portraiture could be rendered dramatic by camera angles and lighting, so artistic effect was achieved in the set up of the shot by dynamic arrangement of the subject rather than by the manipulation of the negative.

Valente's work will be on display at the Keith De Lellis Gallery until March 1, 2014.

For more information on the work of Alfredo Valente, visit http://broadway.cas.sc.edu/content/alfredo-valente


Keith De Lellis Gallery
Fine Art & Photography
1045 Madison Avenue, #3 
New York, NY 10075
(212) 327-1482
www.keithdelellisgallery.com

- Jeannine Guilyard

La Grande Bellezza of Sabrina Ferilli

The 2015 Rome Premiere of Io e Lei
Sabrina Ferilli has been gracing Italian screens, big and small, since the mid-80's. With her recent role in Paolo Sorrentino's international blockbuster, The Great Beauty, audiences throughout the world are getting the chance to see why she is one of Italy's most beloved treasures.

Born in Rome in 1964, Sabrina Ferilli is the daughter of Giuliano Ferilli, the former leader of the Communist Party of the Lazio Region. Ferilli attempted to study her craft at Rome's Experimental Center of Cinematography, but later decided to abandon her studies and dive right into her career. Time has proven that she made the right choice. With dozens of movies to her credit, Ferilli has appeared on television and on the big screen, becoming a household name in Italy.

Ferilli is the very portrait of Italian beauty with her infamous figure, long brown locks and huge dark eyes. But as cliched as it may sound, she is so much more than just another pretty face. Ferilli's acting range is impressive. Whether she is performing in the genre of drama or comedy, she excels with such ease, it hardly seems she's working.  

Ferilli's break came in 1990 with the role of Zaira in Alessandro D'Alatri's film Americano Rosso. Then in 1994, she earned her first  David di Donatello nomination for Best Actress in Paolo Virzi's debut film, La bella vita. The film premiered at the 51st Venice International Film Festival and gave both Ferilli and Virzi the exposure they needed to jump start their careers. Since then, she's worked alongside Christian De Sica with director, Neri Parenti on three of his cinepanettoni or holiday comedies; Natale a New York in 2006, Natale a Beverly Hills in 2009 and Vacanze di Natale a Cortina in 2011. She's done numerous made-for television movies and series, including the role of Ida Di Giulio in Baciamo le mani: Palermo-New York 1958, a TV series produced last year by the Italian television network Mediaset.

With all those roles to her credit, it looks like the most important of her career is upon her the year she turns 50. Ferilli plays the role of Ramona in Paolo Sorrentino's La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty). Ramona is an intriguing character with a complicated past. When she meets Jep, the film's main character portrayed by Toni Servillo, it seems they were two lost souls destined for each other. Director, Sorrentino does not hold back in utilizing Ferilli's physical attributes, and her performance absolutely proves those attributes are equaled in talent. Physically, she is presented as eye candy, as the trophy companion of Jep, the main character. Her initial scene in the film involves a sexy striptease where little is left to the imagination. However, through the course of the film, beginning with the very next scene, her natural way of being a strong, complex woman is revealed, making her physical beauty secondary, and presenting us with a multi-layered woman who happens to be gorgeous, and proves to be a source of equilibrium in Jep's chaotic world. It's really no surprise that this film has done so well in America. It has all the qualities we look for when considering Italian cinema and the Italian culture. From the stunning cinematography to the dramatic music to the beautiful people and sex appeal of the city itself, we are presented with monuments to perpetual beauty and Ferilli fits in perfectly on this stage of the Eternal City.

Ferilli has maintained a relatively private personal life. She was married in 2003 to her companion of eight years, but it ended in divorce two years later. She is a die-hard AS Roma fan, which is Rome's official soccer team, and a member of the AS Roma Fan Council, a board made  up and founded by high profile fans like the iconic Roman actor, Alberto Sordi. In 2000, the male population of Italy flocked to stores to pick up their copy of the SuperCalendario di Max, a calendar in which Sabrina Ferilli posed au naturale. Ferilli is known for her love of animals, in particular her cat, Romolo and dog, Nina. She says her favorite dish is pasta all`amatriciana. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Conversation with Horror Film Actress and all-around Renaissance Woman, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni



She's been called the "Queen of Scream" and it's a nickname well-deserved.

Coralina Cataldi -Tassoni was born in New York City in 1971. She comes from a creative background, to say the least. Her father was a stage director in the opera world and her mother, an opera singer. Cataldi -Tassoni has followed in those footsteps as a true renaissance woman. She's an accomplished visual artist and singer. But she is best known for her haunting roles in the films of Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento, two of Italy's most notorious horror film directors.

Cataldi -Tassoni is a self taught actress who gained much of her experience as a child performing on stage, at times alongside her father. She spent her childhood traveling with her family between Italy and New York City. Her father had an opera company in New York, so whenever a role came up for someone fitting her age bracket, he would call on her to participate. She was just a child when she landed her first singing role in La Boheme. Then a few years later, the family took off to Italy and before long, Coralina found herself working as an assistant to her father at the famed Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.

Her first movie role was in Lamberto Bava's horror flick, Dèmoni 2. She jokingly describes her role in that film as "a not-so-sweet 16 birthday girl who turns into a demon." Just one year later, she teamed up with Dario Argento for the role of a seamstress named, Giulia in his version of Il fantasma dell'opera (The Phantom of the Opera), which starred Argento's daughter, Asia.

With such a unique background rooted in the arts, Coralina has pursued other artistic endeavors in addition to acting, and says her true love lies within her music. I had the opportunity to sit down with Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni in New York City. She told me what it was like growing up surrounded by opera. She also talked about her experience with Dario Argento and her thoughts on the new generation of Italian cinema.

What was is like growing up in such a creative family? 
I like to say my childhood was fortifying, in many ways. I grew up with a father who was an opera stage director and my mother was an opera singer. So when they brought me home, I would play under the piano, do my homework under the piano until late at night. My father also had an opera company in New York. So every little role that called for a girl or a guy, he would make me participate. My first singing role was at three-years-old in La Boheme. Then when I was five, we went to Italy. He took a few of his opera students to pursue their careers there. He started doing the Rome opera house and traveling. I started working by his side as well and at 13, 14 years old, I was the assistant director to him at Rome's opera house (Teatro dell'Opera di Roma). I think growing up in a house of opera singers is quite a unique household to be in because there's a lot of extreme drama even in a normal dinner, a normal situation, and my father's students were coming in and out all day. So, every hour on the hour, there were students and there were stories and intrigue. That’s how I grew up and I thought that's just what everybody did. I thought everybody performed. I remember a lawyer came to our house one day when we were ready to leave for Italy and I remember that it was a big event. It was somebody coming from the outer world that was not in the entertainment world. I was four and I remember that very well.

Painting by Cataldi-Tassoni
Have you always wanted to be a performer?
I was going to be a ballet dancer. I used to draw as well when I was a little girl and I used to sit in front of my father's studio selling my drawings. I would sit and wait for the students. I think what my childhood did for me is it made me very resourceful. As an only child you get very resourceful and very mature for certain things and very melancholy and nostalgic. A lot of people look at my paintings and they say theyr'e sad. They have baggage and I think in the moment when I'm creating them, I'm resolving that baggage, especially in my music and art. It's a moment of a lot of movement. When I paint, I can't paint without music, I can't. I choose a particular music for how I’m feeling and I’ll paint. I’m a little obsessive. So, I’ll repeat the song over and over until the painting is done.  Usually, they’re sentimental, sad, melancholy or nostalgic. I feel that when I’m done with the song or the painting, the battle is over.  The battle is won.  People who have looked at my work say it’s dark, and it’s true.  But in that moment, I’m dealing with myself.  I paint what I’m feeling.

Is acting more of a day job for you? 
Definitely. My passion is in my art and my music. I thought that I would act because I was in school. Then I started working in film almost immediately, but my thing is that I was going to be a musician…and then my painting. Those are the two things. I met Dario Argento and got cast in a couple of things on TV and it just started rolling. I love it, but I’m in love with my art and my painting.

What is your relationship like with Dario Argento?
It’s a very unique relationship. It’s a bond, a very unusual one where we can go periods of time when we don’t talk and then we’ll see each other again. He changed my life.  He’s definitely a person in my life who’s had such an incredible impact. I don’t even think he realizes how much of an impact he’s had on me. It was interesting. I met him when I was really young and he kind of interviewed me. He spent hours asking me questions about myself, about my childhood. It was his way of really getting to know me. I think there’s a bond that other people see. He and I know that we have something very special. I think that he is a true artist in the sense that as an artist, courage is his key ingredient. I know there’s some things people hate. They said, ‘I can’t believe he did The Phantom of the Opera.' You know what? Good for him. He wanted to do it.  ou’re not supposed to do everything so everybody likes it, right?

Was it natural for you to play the roles in both of his Opera-themed films?
He knows that that is a world I am so familiar with. People were going to the set and I was going home. To be on stage, the smell of the wood, even the stink and the stench of the sweaty costumes. It was just so familiar to me.

I especially enjoyed your role in, La madre terza (The Mother of Tears), which of course was the third film of Argento's supernatural trilogy. Tell me about that character.
Giselle is an assistant curator in a museum, and she convinces Asia’s character to open this urn, and with the opening of this urn, she basically allows these fantastic, magical and tragic events to take off. (Beware of a plot spoiler here) I get brutally killed and I must tell you that everyone is saying it's the top death scene in the movie, so I'm happy!

That was one intense scene! What was it like filming that scene? What goes into a scene like that?
On the set of La madre terza with Dario Argento
Well, unfortunately a lot of it got cut because Dario didn't like the demons killing me. He just didn't like how they looked, which saddens me a little bit. When I shot it, it took about a take and a half. We had to stop because the blood was too much! The music was so powerful.  We had a recording of an amazing chant along with dim lights in a real museum in Torino. I had these three demonic monsters coming at me, but they were not actually actors, so I was a little concerned. They couldn’t see very well because of the dim lights. They were dealing with knives and tools; all the mechanisms to kill me. So I thought this is truly my end! But they were great and it worked out fine. I know that people walked off the set, though, because they thought it was too much. My death was tragic, and there's something so sad and tragic I find about death. When I'm dying on set like I did in Demons 2 or Opera, I feel how sad it must be to go. Maybe we don't know when we're dying that it's sad but these characters for me were so human. It's the same with monsters like Frankenstein, Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera; those tragic, romantic characters.  o I really try to give some humanity to the characters.

What was it like working with Asia on that film?  
Well, I've worked with her three times. She's like a sister. She says the same about me and I'm very honored. We don't see each other that much, but we have something very akin. We have similar backgrounds, we grew up in the arts, we have a very strong relationship with our fathers; very unique and unusual. She's always been so respectful to me and I have a lot of respect for her. I always say this over and over again; she's such a hard worker. She keeps up her name. She doesn't take it for granted, and that's what I admire about her.

What do you think of the films being made in Italy now?
I think they’re improving. I think finally the filmmakers are talking about themselves…as Italians about Italy. There were all those years when they were trying to make movies like Americans. I think the younger generation is a little more confident, maybe a little more aware and more concerned about what’s going on with Italy. They feel like they need to talk about it. With Alessandro D’Alatri’s two-hour movie, just the title La Febbre is so true because that’s what you have as an Italian, the fever- the fever to stay, the fever to leave, the fever that you want more and you’re not getting it.

Coralina Cataldi -Tassoni does what feels natural to her in the moment, whether it's acting on stage or in a film, writing and performing music or creating a visual masterpiece. Each form of her artistic expression is filled with passion and beauty because it truly comes from the heart.

For more information on Coralina Cataldi -Tassoni and to see her paintings, you can visit her online at www.coralina.net. There, you will also find her biography. Written by Filippo Brunamonti, the book offers a beautiful portrait of the artist, showing her visual works and examining her prolific and unusual career as a renowned horror film actress.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Emma Dante wins the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award


Italian director, Emma Dante recently won the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award at the 37th Göteborg Festival for her film, "Via Castellana Bandiera" (A Street in Palermo). Dante costars in the film alongside Alba Rohrwacher and Elena Cotta. 
The story follows two women who are shut inside their cars in a silent duel on Via Castellana Bandiera, a narrow side street in Palermo. The two women who were each driving in opposite directions meet accidentally on this one-lane street. One of them must back out of the street to let the other through, but the stubborn women refuse to give way to each other. Regardless of the hot Palermo sun or the short-tempered men surrounding the cars, neither of these women will budge, even resisting food, water and sleep.  
The unique plot and top notch performances have made this film a festival hit all over the world, earning its share of awards along the way.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Spotlight on Italian films in Culinary Program at the 64th Berlin Film Festival

Whether you're a foodie or just someone who loves delicious cinema, you won't want to miss this unique series at the 64th Berlin Film Festival. "Culinary Cinema" will feature three very diverse Italian films. What do they have in common? Food and wine, of course!

“We like it hot… but don’t let it burn” is the motto of the Culinary Cinema. “The use of fire and our ability to cook distinguishes us from all other living beings. Yet fire also poses a threat to future generations, for global warming has reached dangerous levels. Let’s do something about it, and leave no stone unturned,” says Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.

Fifteen films in this series about food and the environment will be presented. Following the 7.30 pm screenings, star chefs Daniel Achilles, Matthias Diether, Michael Kempf, Tim Raue and the Roca brothers will each serve a meal inspired by one of the films in the “Gropius Mirror” restaurant, an elegant tent lined with mirrors.


The Italian films set to be screened are... the documentary, I Cavaliere della Laguna (see trailer above), by Walter Bencini, about a fishing cooperative on the coast of Tuscany; Raffaele Andreassi's 1957 film, I maccheroni which is set in the Pugliese town of Gargano and recounts the tradition of Sunday lunch with a plate of macaroni and bolognese sauce; and Jonathan Nossiter's documentary, Natural Resistance which documents how Italian winemakers, who rely on local traditions, are forced to challenge regulations set by the European Union. 

I am especially impressed by the festival's choice of showing Raffaele Andreassi's film, "I maccheroni." The film is virtually impossible to find online, and Andreassi was not a very high profile filmmaker. In 1960, he was awarded the Silver Berlin Bear for his short film, "I vecchi." So, perhaps festival organizers have a special place in their hearts for him. In any event, it'll be a real treat and a rare opportunity for audiences to see this film! 

Below is a complete list of films. For more information, check out the Berlin Film Festival online... http://www.berlinale.de/en/HomePage.html

Films in Culinary Cinema 2014:

3 Acres in Detroit – France / USA
By Nora Mandray

Bushi No Kondate (A Tale of Samurai Cooking – A True Love Story) - Japan
By Yuzo Asahara
With Aya Ueto, Kengo Kora
German premiere

Cesar Chavez - USA
Cross-Section Berlinale Special 
By Diego Luna
With Michael Pena, America Ferrara, Rosario Dawson, John Malkovich
World premiere

El Juego En La Mesa - Spain / Japan
By Pep Gatell & Eloi Colom

El Somni (The Dream) - Spain
By Franc Aleu
Documentary
World premiere

Final Recipe – Republic of Korea / Thailand / Singapore
By Gina Kim
With Michelle Yeoh, Henry Lau, Chin Han
German premiere

Food Chains - USA
By Sanjay Rawal
Documentary
World premiere

I Cavalieri della Laguna (The Knights of the Lagoon) - Italy
By Walter Bencini
Documentary
World premiere

I Maccheroni - Italy
By Raffaele Andreassi

Le Semeur (The Sower) - Canada
By Julie Perron
Documentary
International premiere

Mission Blue - USA
By Fisher Stevens, Robert Nixon
Documentary
International premiere

Natural Resistance - Italy
Cross-Section Panorama Dokumente
By Jonathan Nossiter
Documentary 
World premiere

TABA - El Juego En La Mesa (TABA – The Table Game) – Spain / Japan
By Pep Gatell & Eloi Colom

Tante Hilda! (Aunt Hilda!) – France / Luxembourg 
Cross-Section Generation
By Jacques-Rémy Girerd & Benoït Chieux
Animation
International premiere

The Food Guide to Love - Spain / Ireland / France
By Dominic Harari & Teresa de Pelegri
With Leonor Watling, Richard Coyle
German premiere

Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast - Taiwan
By Chen Yu-Hsun
With Lin Mei-Hsiu, Yang Yo, Hsia Kimi
European premiere

Basilicata in the Spotlight at the 2019 Los Angeles Italia - Film Fashion and Art Fest

Actresses Marianna and Angela Fontana will be presenting their new films at next month's Los Angeles Italia - Film Fashion and Art F...