Friday, March 4, 2016

Five Italian Documentaries in the lineup for Lincoln Center's Art of the Reel Series

Last week, Italian documentary filmmaker Roberto Minervini received a special mention Nastro d'Argento (Il Nastro Speciale) for his film, "The Other Side." Today, it was announced the film will be shown on Opening Night of the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Art of the Reel film series.

Minervini is becoming known for his hybrid form of filmmaking, which shows people essentially play themselves, creating the look and feel of a documentary, while the director clearly intervenes to create situations rather than observe them. His work is among the most interesting to emerge from the US in recent years, which may be surprising considering he is an Italian who has decided to poke his camera into the margins of American society. On the heels of his superb trilogy of Texas-based films (The Passage, Low Tide, Stop the Pounding Heart), Minervini moves his focus to Louisiana, where we come face-to-face with a group of people who seem to have stepped out of "Deliverance." Faces carry the lines and scars of hard living, clothes are tattered, living conditions are chaotic. Some of his subjects are drug addicts; others are libertarian fanatics who hate the federal government. Yet Minervini finds a compassion and tenderness behind their gruff exteriors. Much of the film focuses on a small-time drug dealer and the girlfriend he lives with (and shoots up with). But, as "The Other Side" gradually shifts its attention to a group of local militia who are convinced that the feds are on the verge of declaring martial law and taking away their freedom, we are shown a more disturbing image of contemporary America. Sometimes it takes the eye of an outsider to provide a new perspective. Minervini is one such outsider. We feel he is at home with his subjects, as he peers into corners that many Americans choose to ignore. The film will be shown on Friday, April 8, 7:00pm with a Q&A to follow with Roberto Minervini. Watch the trailer...

The other four films are: "Fragment 53" by Federico Lodoli and Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli, "Il Solengo" by Alessio Rigo de Righi & Matteo Zoppis, "Lampedusa" by Philip Cartelli and Mariangela Ciccarello and "The Mesh and the Circle" (A Trama e o Círculo) by Mariana Caló and Francisco Queimadela. Below are descriptions from the Film Society's website. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Fragment 53
Federico Lodoli & Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli, Italy/Switzerland/Liberia, 2015, 71m
English, Italian, and Mande with English subtitles
Comprising interviews with seven different men of varying rank about atrocities they committed (or ordered) during the First Liberian Civil War, this frank and frequently disturbing documentary examines the nature of modern violence and an essentialist concept of warfare. Their testimony, interspersed with snapshots of Liberia’s streets and mangrove trees as they currently exist, along with some terrifying video footage from the era, illustrate the ravages—and the inevitability—of humanity’s basest desire for conflict. Without falling into the sensationalist or simplistic, Lodoli and Tribbioli’s film is crucial viewing for our current age of extremism.
Watch the trailer

Il Solengo
Alessio Rigo de Righi & Matteo Zoppis, Italy, 2015, 66m
Italian with English subtitles
Winner of DocLisboa’s 2015 Best International Film Award, Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis’s documentary explores the life of Mario de Marcella, a man who lived alone in a cave for over 60 years, nicknamed “Il Solengo” (the lone boar that’s been cut off from his pack). No one knows for certain why he decided to become a hermit. Still, hunters from his home village (who would occasionally encounter him in the wilderness) offer conflicting reasons about his solitude through elaborate stories. The negative space created by his absence is filled with gorgeous imagery of the Italian countryside. North American Premiere
Thursday, April 14, 6:30pm (Q&A with Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis)
Watch the trailer

Philip Cartelli & Mariangela Ciccarello, Italy/France/USA, 2015, 14m
English, Italian, and French with English subtitles
Interlacing its multilingual narrative with high-definition panoramas and black-and-white Super 8 footage, Lampedusa revisits the 1831 volcanic eruption off the coast of Sicily, which created a short-lived landmass that provoked multiple European nations to claim it as their own.

The Mesh and the Circle / A Trama e o Círculo
Mariana Caló & Francisco Queimadela, Portugal/Italy, 2014, 34m
Portuguese with English subtitles
Using a restaged version of Diary of a Country Priest’s opening shot as a recurring framing device, Mariana Caló and Francisco Queimadela depict, deconstruct, and show the movement-based connections between obscure rituals and daily domestic activities from across Portugal. These actions exist simultaneously as symbol and document of the quotidian, a fascinating, accessible experimental and anthropological study. North American Premiere
Watch the trailer

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