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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, 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's Compelling Documentary on Frank Zappa's Sicilian Origins

Salvo Cuccia's acclaimed documentary, “Summer 82 when Zappa came to Sicily" premiered at the 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival. It 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, 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. Click here to stream on YouTube.

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

Fabrizio Bentivoglio - Accidental Actor

Bentivoglio with his "Ricodati di Me" family
Born in Milan on January 4, 1957, Fabrizio Bentivoglio had dreams of becoming an athlete before discovering has passion for acting.  He played one season for the Serie A, Milan-based football club, Inter until a life changing knee injury, which forced him to quit. His next move was enrolling in the acting/directing school of the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. That decision would go on to change his life forever. Bentivoglio’s stage debut was a role in Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens.”  He later moved to Rome and teamed up with Studio Universal to create the Tipota Movie Company. 

Among his diverse characters are doctors, lovers, mobsters, movie stars and even a poet. Bentivoglio’s debut big screen appearance happened in 1979, when he appeared in "Masoch" by Franco Brogi Taviani.  Two years later, he starred alongside Isabelle Huppert in "Lady of the camellias" by Mauro Bolognini. He has also worked with American filmmakers, but does better in Italy where his talent is better utilized and appreciated. One American film in particular is called, "The Real Thing," which co-stars a young Gary Busey. 

His big break came in the late 1980s when he met filmmakers, Gabrielle Salvatores and Silvio Soldini.  Salvatores cast Bentivoglio in his 1989 film, "Marrakech Express" and in the 1990 film, "Turne," which has been described as a road-movie with a theatrical backdrop.   

Soldini cast Bentivoglio in the 1990 film, "L’aria serena dell’Ovest" (The Peaceful Air of the West) and in "Un’anima divisa in due" (A Soul Split in Two) as a security guard who runs off with a young girl.  He took home the prize for Best Actor at the 1993 Venice Film Festival for his performance that film.

Bentivoglio was hailed by critics for his role in Gabriele Muccino's 2003 "Ricodati di Me" in which he plays the role of Carlo, a middle-aged husband and father re-thinking the choices he made in life. One night while at a party, he runs into an ex-flame (Monica Bellucci). They rekindle their romance, much to the dismay of his wife (Laura Morante). With two teenage children immersed in their own lives, the husband and wife duo dive into the dreams they abandoned when they decided to start a family.  Bentivoglio articulates the excitement of rediscovering an old dream with a child-like enthusiasm.  Although his character comes across as selfish at times, you can't help but pull for him and empathize with that young passion to follow a dream. 

"The Trouble With Angels" - Ray Caesar Solo Exhibition Underway in Rome and Torino

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 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’s Trilogy “Once Upon a Time” and “Walk on the Wild Side” featuring the 2011 exhibition by Ray Caesar “Would You Be My Miracle?” were previously published.

From February 15th till April 6th 2014
Dorothy Circus Gallery via Dei Pettinari 76

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

In the first edition of our annual series, Cinema & Cibo, the spotlight is on "I Maccheroni," a 12-minute short film made in 1959 by Raffaele Andreassi, which was selected for 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.

Updating this post in 2021, the film has become available on YouTube. To bypass the intro in Italian, go to 3:05 where the film starts with English subtitles.

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.

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

- 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, "La Grande Bellezza" (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." 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 Argento.

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.  You’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. 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.

For more information on Cataldi -Tassoni and to see her paintings, visit her online at 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.

Watch a clip..

Monday, February 3, 2014

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

“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...

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
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
World premiere

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

I Maccheroni - Italy
By Raffaele Andreassi

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

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

Natural Resistance - Italy
Cross-Section Panorama Dokumente
By Jonathan Nossiter
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
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

In Conversation with Director Cecilia Pignocchi

Filmmakers Arthur Couvat and  Cecilia Pignocchi It’s unusual for a first-time filmmaker to be recognized by a high-profile, international fi...