Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ginevra Elkann's 'Magari' to Open the 2019 Locarno Film Festival


Nine Italian films are in the lineup of this year's Locarno Film Festival. Among them is the festival opener- Ginevra Elkann's Magari (What If), which will be shown in the famous Piazza Grande.

Starring Riccardo Scamarcio and Alba Rohrwacher, the film has been called an emotional comedy telling the story of three very close siblings – Alma, Jean and Sebastian. As children, they live in Paris with their Russian-orthodox catholic mother in a bizarre yet secure upper-class environment. However, they will soon embark on a journey to join Carlo, their absent Italian father.

The complete Italian selection is as follows:

L'APPRENDISTATO di Davide Maldi: Concorso Cineasti del presente

THE COLD RAISING THE COLD di RONG Guang Rong: Concorso Cineasti del presente

LA FAMOSA INVASIONE DEGLI ORSI IN SICILIA di Lorenzo Mattotti: Piazza Grande - Special Family Evening

HOGAR di Maura Delpero: Concorso internazionale

INCOMPIUTA di Samira Guadagnuolo, Tiziano Doria: Pardi di domani Concorso internazionale

MAGARI di Ginevra Elkann: Piazza Grande - Film di Apertura

THE NEST - IL NIDO di Roberto de Feo: Piazza Grande - Crazy Midnight

NON È SOGNO di Giovanni Cioni: Fuori concorso

SAN VITTORE di Yuri Ancarani: Fuori concorso: Shorts

The Locarno Film Festival runs August 7th - 17th. Click here for more information.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Rome's Casa del Cinema Honors Neorealism Screenwriter

A brand new exhibit at the Casa del Cinema in Rome tells the story of screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, a boundless creative force behind the rise of the neorealism movement.

Zavattini was born in the region of Emilia-Romagna in 1902. He earned a degree in Law but instead devoted his time to writing. In 1930, he moved to Milan to work at the Rizzoli publishing company. Five years later, he met Vittorio De Sica. They would go on to make 20 films together, including the iconic neorealist films, Shoeshine (1946)
The Bicycle Thief (1948), Miracle in Milan (1951) and Umberto D. (1952).

During his career, Zavattini made around 80 films and worked with many of the great directors of Italian cinema, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Pietro Germi, Alberto Lattuada,
Mario Monicelli, Dino Risi, Roberto Rossellini, the Taviani brothers and Luchino Visconti.

The exhibit features excerpts from his writings, a documentary and images from his life and films. It runs through September 10, 2019. Click here for details.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

RIP Actress Valentina Cortese

Actress Valentina Cortese has died at the age of 96.

She’s appeared in films with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner and Audrey Hepburn, and starred in films by such masters as Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, and François Truffaut. Last year, she was the subject of Francesco Patierno’s documentary, Diva!.

Born in Milan on New Year’s Day in 1923,  Valentina Cortese’s mother, an up and coming musician who had just earned her degree and did not want the birth revealed, placed her in the care of another family. Patierno’s  documentary, which made its North American premiere at Lincoln Center’s Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, explains Cortese’s childhood growing up among the “marvelous, strong people” of farming communities in the Lombardia region of northern Italy. Those early years of her life shaped the independent, honest woman she became. Cortese describes her childhood as “poor but warm.” Although she seldomly saw her real mother, she says that she understands why she couldn’t raise her.

Patierno’s documentary film is based on Cortese’s autobiographical book, Quanti Sono I Domani Passati(How Many Yesterdays Passed). The film is a marriage of the old and new with a treasure trove of old film clips and archival footage while contemporary Italian actresses and one actor read excerpts from Cortese’s book. On choosing the actresses for the readings, Patierno told me, “I did not want the actresses to imitate Cortese, so I chose eight women especially based on their diversity, to make sure that diversity formed the complex portrait that this great actress deserved.”

Among the testimony read is the story of her Oscar-nominated role in François Truffaut’s 1974 Day for Night. The film won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film and it's revealed why she found the director’s acceptance speech so heartbreaking. Actress Barbora Bobulova reveals Cortese’s true motivation behind signing a 7-year contract with 20thCentury Fox. She talks about her arrival in Hollywood and how she assimilated into the new and different way of life. She tells the story of how she came to work in Jules Dassin’s 1949 film Thieves’ Highwayand a chilling account of visiting him at home.

Patierno touches on Cortese’s 9-year marriage to American actor Richard Basehart and her influence on the early days of Audrey Hepburn’s career. The Neapolitan-born director says his biggest discovery in the making of this film was an actress who he had thought belonged to an old way of doing cinema, but instead found that her way was in fact very modern. He discovered “an actress who could bring her tormented life to the big screen and always turn it into a great emotion. (Valentina Cortese) is a courageous actress with a great personality.”

In every role she took on, she lent her character the air of intelligence and elegance that she naturally carries with her.Dassin’s Thieves’ Highway is a beautiful, nostalgic step back in time. Shot in the late 1940s, the film shows the typical American neighborhood of that era. What first appears as an immigrant family living the American dream soon reveals a tragedy caused by a business deal gone terribly wrong. When a determined son, Nick Garcos, sets out to get revenge for his father’s suspicious accident, he nearly gets taken by the same conman. Cortese plays Rica, a tough but good woman who falls in love with Nick, played brilliantly by Richard Conte. The two had strong chemistry and their scenes together are intense. The film shows the hard lives of the period’s so-called long-haul boys, workers who drove through the night to deliver shipments to markets in American cities.

In Luis García Berlanga’s 1956 Spanish comedy, The Rocket from Calabuch, Cortese plays the role of Eloisa, a kind-hearted school teacher. Eloisa is simply dressed and modest but Cortese’s natural elegance shines through. Scenes shot along the sea bring out her natural Mediterranean beauty. Eloisa falls in love with the mischievous Langosta, a trumpet-playing prisoner cleverly played by the beloved Italian character actor Franco Fabrizi. The Rocket from Calabash is a hilarious, feel-good story of friendship, simplicity and bonds that could never be broken. The film was available for a while on the new defunct Filmstruck. We'll keep you posted if it becomes available again.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Silvio Soldini Presents 'Treno di Parole' at MAXXI - Museo in Rome

Director Silvio Soldini’s documentary “Treno di Parole” will be shown on July 6  in Rome at the MAXXI - Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo​ as part of the museum’s 3-day Extra Doc Festival in partnership with Rome’s #cityfest .. .

The film is dedicated to Raffaello Baldini whose poems in dialect are recited in the film by actors like Ivano Marescotti and Gigio Alberti. Silvio Soldini​ tells the story of the poet who has been described as “a shy and amazing intellectual” who spent years as the editor of Italy’s weekly Panorama magazine cultivating his private verses of contemptuous intelligence and precise inflection.

The event will be hosted by Mario Sesti, Extra Doc Festival curator. The film begins at 9 pm. Admission is free of charge. Click here for details.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Conversation with Taylor Taglianetti, Founder of NOIAFT

A new platform has recently been launched that promotes the work of Italian Americans in film and television. The brains behind the initiative is a young, passionate woman who is taking the support that she received early on in her journey and paying it forward.

With origins in Basilicata and Campania, Taylor Taglianetti is a proud Italian American from Brooklyn, New York. She is currently a senior at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in January 2020. She is majoring in Film and Television and minoring in the Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology. Taglianetti aspires to be a feature film producer and bring great stories to the big screen. In addition to running NOIAFT, she is currently a Development Intern with Silver Pictures, the production company that produced the Lethal Weapon and The Matrix series. Last summer, she was a development intern with Maven Pictures, the Academy-Award winning production company behind Still Alice and The Kids Are All RightTaglianetti also has experience producing and directing short films. Her debut short film, Generation Hollow, was produced by the leading non-profit, Reel Works, and was an Official Selection at the 2014 Girls Film Festival and the Juror’s Choice for Outstanding Filmmaking at the 2014 Women of African Descent Film Festival. Additionally, she has received scholarships from the Columbus Citizens Foundation, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Charles & Lucille King Foundation. In 2018, she was one of twenty students selected from thousands nationwide by the National Italian American Foundation to travel to Italy. 

I asked Taglianetti about the mission and future of NOIAFT. She was so articulate and generous with her answers to my questions, it is clear that her organization is about to become a powerhouse of promotion for Italians and Italian-Americans across the globe. 

What inspired you to start this organization?
I recently launched The National Organization of Italian Americans in Film & TV (NOIAFT) with the goal of helping Italian Americans break into the entertainment industry and promoting stories about the Italian American experience. In the entertainment business, there has been no organization for Italian Americans to network and share these sorts of creative opportunities, and I hope to fill this need.
My dad always wanted to be a screenwriter but never had a formal film education or opportunities to present his material. I think he’s a really good writer and I’m confident if his material was represented, it would be picked up in a second. There are a lot of stories like that and I think having a network like this where my platform can be used for people to showcase their work and meet and work together with others of the same heritage and background, it can really help create more opportunities for all.
Furthermore, as an aspiring feature film producer, I wanted to use my unique skillset and background to pay it forward to my community. I have been overwhelmed by the support of the Columbus Citizens Foundation who not only gave me a scholarship to go to a private Catholic high school, but made my dream of going to NYU’s prestigious film school possible with their generous scholarship.
I also had the honor and opportunity to be selected to participate in the National Italian American Foundation’s Voyage of Discovery Program last summer to travel to Italy for the first time. My experiences in Puglia allowed me to learn about amazing aspects of my heritage that I may not have otherwise encountered. Knowing that there was so much I didn’t know about my roots signaled to me how important it is to share this knowledge with others. In the entertainment industry, Italian Americans are often pigeonholed to working in the mob genre. While some of those projects are very good, I thought it would be great to also show that Italian Americans are working on other interesting projects beyond that genre, too.

What is the organization's mission?
Although we are in our infancy, NOIAFT aims to provide our members with networking opportunities, a go-to community when looking to assemble teams for projects and, as we grow, internship, job, mentoring, workshops, grants for creative works, and scholarships. In short, NOIAFT is a network dedicated to helping talented Italian Americans gain entry into the entertainment business by working together.
Membership with NOIAFT is free as long as you pledge to help another Italian American in the group. It can be as simple as giving another person advice if the opportunity presents itself. As membership grows, I will be reaching out to established industry entities, and urge them to consider our members when doing business.
Additionally, on various social media platforms, I spotlight work created by, and for, Italian Americans and those of Italian descent. Most recently, we completed press coverage and conducted red carpet interviews at the Tribeca Film Festival, BAMcinemaFest, the IFC Center’s Split Screens TV Festival and Lincoln Center’s Open Roads Film Festival. 

Taylor Taglianetti interviewing Italian producer Domenico Procacci at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival

I've seen on your social media pages that you cover a lot of Red Carpet premieres in New York. That is pretty impressive since your organization is so new! You have really hit the ground running. What are your short-term and long-term goals for the project?
Going to festivals and premieres was never a thought in my mind when I started NOIAFT. Now, it’s become one of my most important assets in building up the organization. A friend of mine, Adam Yuster, suggested I attend the Tribeca Film Festival and was able to help me get press credentials a month after the deadline. I was surprised by how much access I got as an organization that just started. I spent hours going through the hundreds of films playing and basically made a list of anyone involved in the productions of Italian descent and contacted their publicists for interviews. Of course, I had to also grab some interviews with celebrities like Alexander Skarsgård and Christoph Waltz. One of my goals that I’m considering is creating a subsidiary to the organization that is just for entertainment interviews/press-related content.

I have some really exciting interviews booked for July. I can’t say what they are now, but they are going to be with very high-profile talent. Also, this week, one of my members, Christie Peruso, is actually headed to Sicily to cover the Radio Italia Live Concert in Palermo. She’s a seasoned actress, model and correspondent based in Milan and from the East Coast.  We connected on Instagram and will be working together on other projects. It’s so exciting to see that after just a couple of months since starting that NOIAFT is going international. One of my other goals would be to get more members out there interviewing. Not only is a lot of fun, but it’s also a tremendous networking opportunity. I recently started working with member Giò Crisafulli who is a writer, director, producer, editor and actor. Again, another fortuitous Instagram encounter. I asked him to conduct all the NOIAFT interviews at Open Roads. I was so impressed with his depth of knowledge of cinema and Italian culture. Overall, it’s great getting this fantastic content, but I need to figure out the best ways to disseminate these interviews, reach a wider audience, and in turn, recruit more members. So, thank you very much for giving me a platform to talk about NOIAFT!

Check out Giò Crisafulli's interview with filmmaker Laura Luchetti at Open Roads: New Italian Cinema...

I saw that you invite people to become members. What are the benefits to being a member?
Whenever someone becomes a member, I put them on a mailing list to let them know about screenings, press events, casting calls, etc. I had a couple of members come to Tribeca Film Festival and work as press. Two of my other members conducted interviews at festivals. These are great opportunities to network. Also, becoming a member is free so there’s nothing to lose!

By becoming a member, you also get access to our members’ directory. NOIAFT is a community that, I believe, works best when people work together. Sometimes, it’s just having that simple resource to say, hey, I need a couple of actors for my short film and using the directory as an easy way to find talent. I also promote member projects and spotlight members on our website and social media, including conducting on-camera interviews with them.

Right now, in NOIAFT’s infancy, these are the main benefits. However, the goal for the future is to provide internship/job opportunities, workshops, mentoring, fundraising initiatives for creative works and scholarships for members.

Tell me about your Italian-American origins and culture. You obviously have great pride. 
I’m a proud Italian American from Brooklyn, New York. My roots trace back to Potenza in Basilicata and Salerno in Campania. I would say the cornerstones of my Italian upbringing are food, family and faith. I don’t think my Italian American upbringing is too different from others, except that I didn’t grow up in an Italian neighborhood and not until the last couple of months did I get into eating sauce…yup, can you believe it?

I’m actually only half-Italian; my mom is Irish. We really don’t have any Irish traditions so I’d say she’s more Italian than Irish, haha. My great-grandfather, Gelsomino Taglianetti, was born in Potenza in 1892 and at the age of 19, hopped aboard the S.S Romanic in search of his sweetheart, Maria Cavallo, my great-grandmother, who early on had emigrated to the United States. My great-grandparents owned a tailor shop near my house. My grandmother, Carol, was a seamstress and grandfather, Rocco, was a plumber and steamfitter, but also a medic’s assistant during World War II.

My Grandma Carol’s brothers, Jimmy and Johnny, both served their country during the war, too. My father’s paternal uncle, Alfred, had lied about his age, joined the Coast Guard at seventeen, and participated in the Invasion of Normandy.

My grandfather’s other brother, Phil, was in the Navy and went on to make a career of it, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer. In fact, he once avoided an international incident by locating important documents that were thought to be stolen. My father dug up an old magazine that featured a story about him. I read that my great-uncle had participated in the invasions of Kwajalein and Saipan and helped liberate the Philippines. In 1948, he was used as the model for a “Join the Navy Poster” that was distributed all over the United States in a highly successful recruitment drive. He said his tour of duty with Uncle Sam took him all over the world, but the biggest thrill he got was meeting Pope Pius XII in a private audience.  My dad’s brother, my Uncle Philip, served in Vietnam and was awarded a Purple Heart. Last year, I made a documentary about my family’s involvement in the military.

I’m so proud of my family and their sacrifices motivate me to work hard every day. I recently connected with a distant cousin through Ancestry DNA and he informed me that I have an ancestor, Captain Zaccaria Taglianetti (1815-1874), who was a hero for his participation in the Lucanian Risorgimento of 1860. He was captain of the squad from Salvia. Cap. Zaccaria Taglianetti persists in local memory, having had a pizza named in his honor at Savoia di Lucania's 2013 Pizza & Beer Fest (Il Capitano: tomato, mozzarella, and basil!). Zaccaria's son, Vincenzo Taglianetti (1838 - 1893), saved the life of the King of Italy and was later given the title of Duke.

Taglianetti told me that her favorite Italian movies are Bicycle Thieves and Cinema Paradiso. She is grateful to the support that she has received from family and friends. When I asked her if there was anything she wanted to add to our interview, she sweetly replied, "I want to thank my parents, Alan and Shirley Taglianetti, my brother and sister-in-law, Alan and Dominique Taglianetti, and my friend, Austin Tucker, for without their support, NOIAFT would not be possible!"

Visit NOIAFT online at There, you will find links to the organization's social media platforms and information on how to become a member.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Pietro Marcello’s 'Martin Eden' likely to premiere at the 2019 Venice Film Festival

Pietro Marcello’s highly anticipated film, Martin Eden, is being mentioned as a likely selection for the 2019 Venice Film Festival.

Starring Luca Marinelli, the film has been called "a loose adaptation" of Jack London’s novel. "Like the characters of Hamlet and Faust, Martin Eden is a somewhat failed hero," the director explained in an interview with Cineuropa. "We transposed the novel into modern-day society and into a story which takes us through different time periods."

The cast also includes Marco Leonardi, Vincenzo Nemolato, Rinat Khismatouline, Pietro Ragusa, Aniello Arena, Lana Vlady, Jessica Cressy and Carlo Cecchi.  Martin Eden will be open in Italian theaters on September 4, a date which suggests the film’s likely participation in the Venice Film Festival.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Conversation with Francesco Grillo: Italy's Newest Rising Star

The practice of using non-professional actors is nothing new in Italian cinema or even world cinema for that matter. Perhaps the first known Italian filmmaker to cast her fellow towns people was Neapolitan actress and producer Francesca Bertini with her 1915 silent film Assunta Spina. Of course, Vittorio De Sica made it famous with his neorealist epics, Umberto D. and The Bicycle Thieves. Contemporary directors have embraced the century-old tradition in numerous films over the years, including Matteo Garrone’s 2008 Gomorrah, Francesco Munzi’s 2015 Anime nere, and Jonas Carpignano’s 2017 A Ciambra, just to name a few.

Those films went on to be huge international successes. The latest to follow suit is Mimmo Calopresti’s Aspromonte - La terra degli ultimi, which will premiere as a Special Event at the Taormina Film Festival in July. Adapted from Pietro Ciriaco’s book, Via dall'Aspromonte, the story sheds light on southern Italy’s severely depressed economy and remoteness during the 1950s, which in many cases cost people their lives. Calopresti’s diverse ensemble cast includes internationally renowned actors Marco Leonardi and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi; Italy’s beloved character actors Sergio Rubini and Marcello Fonte; upcoming actor Francesco Colella, who American audiences will recognize from FX’s Trust and newcomer Francesco Grillo.

Set in the Aspromonte region of Calabria, some scenes were shot in Africo, which you may remember from Munzi’s Anime Nere. However, the bulk of the film was shot in nearby Ferruzzano, which is a stunning mountainous region with centuries-old structures and dense forests. The location is featured on the Calabria Film Commission’s website as one of the region’s most sought after natural movie sets. 

Ferruzzano, Calabria (Photo Courtesy of the Calabria Film Commission)

I spoke with child actor Francesco Grillo about the film and his role in it. Born in the Calabrian village of Locri, this is his first role in a movie. The experience has been so positive, he has decided to change his non-professional status by enrolling in drama school. Fiercely proud of his Calabrian roots, he talks about the beauty of his region and how this life-changing role came about. 

(La versione italiana è sotto)

Tell me about your town and region.. the traditions and the way of life.
I live in a beautiful village in the province of Reggio Calabria. It is called Benestare, (which literally translates to stay well). It is indeed really good as the name suggests. It is an ancient village, that especially in summer, resembles such. In fact all the emigrants return.
On the sign of the village, there is the phrase "Paese di Gesso" (Country of Gypsum) because the oldest houses in the country are built in plaster.
For the patronal festival, which is in October, these houses are repopulated with lights, traditional foods and displays of ancient crafts.

In America, we often hear about the poverty and the dangers of Calabria. Tell me about the beauty.
Often we talk only about the ugly part of Calabria, which I believe is everywhere, but thanks to this beautiful film, you'll understand how beautiful the region is.
The villages, the breathtaking views, (few places in the world, I believe, offer views of mountains overlooking the sea) nature, respect for others, poetry and traditions.

Director Mimmo Calopresti and Francesco Grillo
How were you chosen for this role in Mimmo Calopresti's film?
I was chosen for this film in a way that still seems very strange even to me.
Two years ago, a family friend took me to a casting call held in my area by casting director Lele Nucera, for the film "The Miracle" by (Niccolò) Ammaniti. I went through the next phase but I wasn't chosen for the role, and I thought that the adventure had ended there, and that every other part would be linked to that specific casting call, but it wasn't.
In September 2018 (then a year later), a poster for a casting call had announced a role for an important film, but that day we forgot to go.
Two days later, my mother received a call with news that the director wanted to meet me, and from then on, after a succession of meetings with the director, we arrived at the final selection. Then a few days later, my mother was told that I had been chosen for the role of "Andrea". We already knew what role it was because we had read the book "Via dall'Aspromonte" by Pietro Criaco, on which the film based, and I’ll leave it to you to imagine what I may have felt.
I still don't know how to describe what I feel, but I know that this experience has given me so many emotions.

Tell me about your character, Andrea.
Andrea is a strong but reflective child. In fact, he reflects many facets of my own personality. The whole story is seen through his eyes. He admires his father, Peppe (Francesco Colella in the film) immensely. He sees him as the leader of his commune, and is proud of him. He does not accept that his father surrendered, and this makes him grow quickly to take control of the situation. I can't say anything else, but I love this character very much and I hope you will love him too.

Have you always wanted to be an actor or was it an unexpected opportunity that came up?
I don't know if I wanted to become an actor. Perhaps being a little bit shy, I didn't imagine that I could pass the test, but I know that after having had this wonderful experience, it would be my dream to be able to continue.
However this film has made so many people dream in my land, and I believe it will remain the film of the people of Calabria.

What are your interests other than acting?
I love fishing and riding. I played football, but I left to go to drama school.

You are still young, but what is your dream during this moment of your life?
My dream would be to continue this path, and I'm beginning by studying theatre to improve myself.

The film will premiere at the Taormina Film Festival on July 2 at 8:45pm in the Teatro Antico. Click here for more information

L'intervista in Italiano

Parlami della tua cittadina e della regione .. le tradizioni, la cucina e il modo di vivere..
Vivo in un bellissimo paesino, in provincia di Reggio Calabria, si chiama Benestare, e si sta veramente bene,come dice il nome stesso, è un borgo antico, che soprattutto in estate, assomiglia ad un villaggio,infatti tutti gli emigrati ritornano in paese.
Sull’insegna del paese, c’è scritto “PAESE DI GESSO”, perché le case più antiche del paese sono costruite in gesso.
Per la festa patronale, che è ad ottobre,queste case si ripopolano con luci, cibi della tradizione, ed esposizione di antichi mestieri.

In America, spesso sentiamo della povertà e dei pericoli della Calabria. Raccontami della bellezza.
Spesso si parla solo della parte brutta della Calabria, che credo ci sia ovunque,ma grazie anche a questo bellissimo film,capirete quanto è bella.
I borghi, i panorami mozzafiato, (pochi posti nel Mondo credo, regalano viste di montagne a picco sul mare) la natura, il rispetto verso il prossimo,la poesia e le tradizioni.

Come sei stato scelto per questo ruolo nel film di Mimmo Calopresti?
Sono stato scelto per questo film, in un modo che ancora sembra stranissimo anche a me.
Due anni fa, un amico di famiglia mi portò ad un casting tenuto nella mia zona, dal casting director Lele Nucera, per il film “Il Miracolo “ di (Niccolò) Ammaniti, e all’epoca passai la fase successiva ma non fui scelto per il ruolo, e pensavo che l’avventura fosse finita lì, e che ogni Provino fosse legato a quel casting specifico,ma non fu così .
A settembre 2018 (quindi un anno dopo), girava la locandina di un casting per il ruolo di un film importante, ma quel giorno ci dimenticammo di andare.
2 giorni dopo,arriva una chiamata a mia madre da un numero che non conosceva,che diceva di avermi proposto per questo film, e che il regista vorrebbe incontrarmi, e da lì in poi,dopo una susseguirsi di incontri con il regista, arrivammo alla selezione finale, e dopo qualche giorno, un’altra chiamata, comunicò a mia madre che ero stato scelto per il ruolo di “ANDREA”, e noi conoscevamo già di che ruolo si trattava perché avevamo letto il libro “VIA DALL’ASPROMONTE” di Pietro Criaco,a cui è ispirato il film,e le lascio immaginare cosa posso aver provato.
Ancora non so descrivere cosa provo,ma so che questa esperienza mi ha regalato tantissime emozioni.

Raccontami il tuo personaggio..
Andrea è un bambino forte,ma riflessivo,infatti mi rispecchia in molte cose.
Tutta la storia viene vista attraverso i suoi occhi.
Ammira in modo smisurato il padre, Peppe (Francesco Colella nel film). 
Lo vede come il leader del paese,ed è orgoglioso di lui.
Infatti non accetta di vedere il padre arrendersi,e questa cosa lo fa crescere velocemente per prendere in pugno la situazione.
Non posso dire altro, ma amo molto questo personaggio e spero lo amerete anche voi.

Hai desiderato essere un attore o era un'opportunità per lavorare su questo film fatto nella tua regione?
Non so se desideravo diventare un attore, forse essendo un pochino timido,neanch’io immaginavo di poter superare la prova del ciak, ma so che dopo aver fatto questa bellissima esperienza, sarebbe il mio sogno poter proseguire.
Comunque questo film ha fatto sognare tantissima gente nella mia terra, e credo rimarrà il film della Gente di Calabria.

Quali sono i tuoi interessi oltre alla recitazione?
Io amo pescare ed andare a cavallo. Giocavo a calcio, ma ho lasciato per frequentare la scuola di recitazione.

Sei ancora giovane, ma qual è il tuo sogno in questo momento della tua vita?
Il mio sogno sarebbe continuare questo percorso,e sto studiando nella scuola di recitazione “LocriTeatro” proprio per migliorarmi.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Tribute to Franco Gasparri at the Casa del Cinema - Rome

A photo exhibit dedicated to actor Franco Gasparri, a heartthrob of the 1970s, is underway at the Casa del Cinema in Rome.

The exhibit opened in May with a documentary by his daughter Stella, a tireless promoter of her father's work. The exhibit consists of 150 photos chosen by the actor's family.

Born on Halloween 1948, Gasparri began his film career as a teenager in the early sixties taking on small parts and supporting roles. He appeared in films of the Italian Peplum genre such as Goliath against the Giants (1961), Sansone (1961) and The Fury of Hercules (1962).

A symbol of masculine perfection, he was known for his trademark male tresses, Greek God-like profile and green eyes. He enjoyed widespread popularity as an actor during the launch of fotoromanzi, a form of comicstrip storytelling that uses photographs rather than illustrations for the images.

Gasparri rose to cinematic stardom in the mid-seventies with a police-themed trilogy of films in which he played the lead role of Mark the policeman, an ambitious narcotics agent. Directed by Stelio Massi, all three films were successful at the box office and were part of the "poliziottesco" popular trend at the time.

Gasparri became paralyzed after an accident in 1980 with his infamous motorcycle, the Kawasaki 900. He spent nearly 20 years in a wheelchair before passing away in 1999 at the age of 50. The idea of the exhibit was conceived, organized and supported by Gasparri's family and in particular by his daughter Stella to mark the twentieth anniversary of his death.

The exhibition runs until July 3, 2019. Click here for more information.

Mimmo Calopresti's 'Aspromonte - La terra degli ultimi' to Premiere at the Taormina Film Festival

Aspromonte - La terra deli ultimi will premiere on July 2nd as a Special Event at the Taormina Film Festival in the ancient theater of Taormina. Written by Mimmo Calopresti with Monica Zapelli (writer of I Cento Passi) and with the collaboration of Fulvio Lucisano, the story is adapted from the book, Via all'Aspromonte, by Pietro Ciriaco.

The ensemble cast includes Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Marcello Fonte, Francesco Colella, Marco Leonardi, Sergio Rubini and newcomer Francesco Grillo. Set in Africo, a small village perched in the Calabrian Aspromonte valley, the film is set in the late 1950s as a local woman dies during childbirth because the doctor fails to arrive on time due to the remoteness of the village. The men, exasperated by the state of abandonment, go to protest to the mayor. They get the promise of a doctor, but in the meantime, led by Peppe, they decide to unite and build a road themselves.

Click here for more information about the film. Click here to visit the Taormina Film Festival online.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Fabrizio Corallo's Insightful Documentaries on Two Cinema Icons

Journalist-turned-filmmaker Fabrizio Corallo was hand chosen by the family of Vittorio Gassman to make his latest documentary Sono Gassman! Vittorio King of Comedy. The film, which Corallo just presented at Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, is a followup to his acclaimed documentary on one of Gassman's frequent collaborators, Dino Risi. The pair made 15 films together.

With Fabrizio Corallo at the MAXXI Museo, Rome
I spoke with Corallo while he was in New York. He talked so enthusiastically about both of his works, explaining that he was a journalist in Rome long before he became a filmmaker. So, he had personal knowledge and insight into the psyche of each of these giants of Italian cinema. When speaking about Gassman, I could hear the pride in his voice when he talked about the family's desire to have him direct the documentary. He didn't hesitate to take on the project. All he had to do was look inside himself for the essence of the film. "I was lucky to know Gassman. I was a journalist and we spent a lot of time together with friends and colleagues. He would tell fascinating tales about his experiences. I learned nearly everything I know about him just by being his friend."

Sono Gassman! Vittorio King of Comedy highlights the comic abilities of this otherwise intellectual Shakespearean actor who made the transition from theater and neorealism to the commedia all'italiana genre. The documentary was made with the same love and affection for his friend and colleague as his 2016 film on Dino Risi. Both feature intimate interviews showing a keen sense of humor the two shared, which inadvertently made them both icons.

In Dino Risi Forever, Risi spoke of his memories working with the likes of Sophia Loren, Ettore Scola and Dino De Laurentiis. He spoke of his passion for writing screenplays, "Writing was something that I really enjoyed." And Scola spoke of his collaboration with Risi. "I started working with Dino and I did about ten films with him in all." Risi spoke in depth about his friendship and collaboration with Vittorio Gassman, describing his first impression of Gassman upon as "A cocky yet likable young man from Rome with a swaggering air."

I saw the film at the MAXXI Museo while I was in Rome attending the Festa di Cinema (Rome Film Festival). Having covered mostly contemporary cinema during the last decade, I learned a lot from Corallo's documentary and it was poignant seeing this maestro now in his twilight years recall the Golden Age of cinema with an entertaining mix of humor and nostalgia. There were countless laugh-out-loud moments as Risi recounted his early days chasing girls and then reflecting on the Roman ladies who lunched. He also revealed interesting facts about shooting scenes of his films, including how he shot the Rome scenes of Il Sorpasso on August 15, Ferragosto, to capture the actual empty streets of the city.

The documentary was followed by a compelling Q&A in which some of Risi's most influential films were discussed by his colleagues Elsa Martinelli, Lino Capolicchio and Andrea Occhipinti. They talked about the making and legacies of Il sorpasso, Una vita difficile, I mostri and Profumo di donna (Scent of a Woman). These are films that will never be forgotten because they document the lifestyle and social trends of post-war Italy. Not only are they artistic masterpieces, they are lessons in history.

Many of Gassman's and Risi's films are available to stream online. Click here to stream Mario Monicelli's Big Deal on Madonna Street on Criterion Channel.

Stream Bitter Rice, Il Sorpasso and Rhapsody (with Elisabeth Taylor) on Amazon...


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Pietro Germi and Criterion Channel's Treasure Trove of Cinematic History

I just got around to subscribing to the Criterion Channel tonight and I saw the most fascinating documentary about actor/director Pietro Germi with a beautiful clip of actress Franca Bettoia talking about her husband Ugo Tognazzi. 

Bettoia is Maria Sole and Gian Marco Tognazzi’s mother. She described Ugo when he would work on a film that Pietro Germi was directing. “I saw Ugo for the first time in L'immorale (The Climax). He was always extremely disciplined and professional. Maybe he didn’t know everything but he had a good memory, so he never used to study the script at home. He’d read it and then go to it. I remember that when he had to be on Pietro’s set, he was like a schoolboy. Woe to any driver that would show up late! He was very careful. They both were. Ugo and Pietro respected each other but it was more than that.” 

Renée Longarini and Ugo Tognazzi in Pietro Germi’s L'immorale (The Climax)
 The documentary is a treasure trove of old interviews… Claudia Cardinale, Mario Monicelli, Stefania Sandrelli, Carlo Verdone with young versions of Daniele Luchetti and Paolo Virzì. 

Claudia Cardinale speaks with nostalgic affection about Germi, who passed away in 1974 at the age 60, while Verdone gives special insight into Germi’s legacy on Italian cinema, saying that “(Germi) was the first true creator of the ensemble film.” He goes on to explain how Germi’s ensembles differ from the ensembles that Federico Fellini created in his early works. “In Fellini’s, the subtleties were hidden in throwaway lines and little gestures. I'm referring to the scene of the crew on the beach in the White Sheik or to I Vitelloni, a great ensemble film. But Germi created the ensemble comedy.”

The documentary is called “Pietro Germi: The Man with the Cigar in His Mouth” and is available online at

Ginevra Elkann's 'Magari' to Open the 2019 Locarno Film Festival

Magari Nine Italian films are in the lineup of this year's Locarno Film Festival. Among them is the festival opener- Ginevra Elka...