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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Amazing Cast in Place for Italy's version of "The Little Prince"

Updated 28 December 2015

"Il Piccolo Principe" is set to be released on New Years Day in Italy.

"Il Piccolo Principe" is the story of an old and eccentric aviator and her new neighbor, a very mature girl who moved nearby with her mother. Through the pages of the aviator's diary and her drawings, she discovers how the pilot had crashed in a desert and had met the Little Prince, an enigmatic boy that comes from another planet. The experiences of the aviator and the story of the Little Prince travel to other worlds to help create a link between the pilot and the little girlUsing this extraordinary adventurethe child learns to use her imagination and rediscover her infancy.

An A-List Italian cast gives voice to the iconic characters of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's legendary tale, "The Little Prince". The cast includes Toni Servillo in the role of the aviator along with Paola Cortellesi, Micaela Ramazzotti, Stefano Accorsi, Alessandro Gassman, Giuseppe Battiston, Pif, Alessandro Siani and American actor James Franco.

Directed by Mark Osborne, "The Little Prince" was shown earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival and will hit Italian theaters January 1st. Check out the trailer...

International Distribution for Paolo Virzì's "La Pazza Gioia"

Paolo Virzì's latest film, "La pazza gioia" was just sold to France, Turkey, Israel, Austria e Greece. The film stars Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti as two patients with psychiatric issues who flee the community hospital where they met to embark on a road trip from Tuscany to Rome.

Virzì describes "La pazza gioia" as an "adventure film, hovering between irony and drama.. We explore the tenuous boundary between sanity and insanity, immersing ourselves in the heart of those condemned to the social stigma of madness and trying to observe, through their eyes, the fragility, poverty and sometimes the ferocity of our lives considered normal."

We'll keep you posted on more distribution information as it becomes available. In the meantime, check out an earlier post on Paolo Virzì's career..

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Mia Madre" receives 10 minutes of applause at Cannes Film Festival

Nanni Moretti's latest film, "Mia Madre" received 10 minutes of applause upon its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last night. European-film website, Cineuropa has been closely covering this film. They described it as a whirlwind of intimate and universally-shared emotions, with an exceptional performance from Margherita Buy. Hospital and set, public and private: these are the two juxtapositions that run the length of the film, alternating like clockwork. Buy's character is a director shooting a film about a group of factory workers who risk losing their jobs, but is also the daughter of a mother who is gravely ill (Giulia Lazzarini), the mother of a teenager who doesn’t want to focus on her studies (Beatrice Mancini), and the partner of a man she no longer loves (Enrico Iannello). She is also the sister of Giovanni (Nanni Moretti), with whom she shares her concerns and visits her mother’s bedside. The most serious stage of the illness coincides with the arrival on set of the guest star of the film, an American actor (John Turturro) who can’t remember his lines and is pretentious and difficult. We follow Margherita through her angry outbursts between takes, visits of locations and press conferences, and feel the pain she’s holding back every step of the way, whilst seeing a Moretti who is less like the usual centred, practical and reassuring character we are used to seeing in the role of the brother.
Below, I am reposting an in-depth interview with Nanni Moretti that was recently published on Cineuropa's website. It's rare for Moretti to talk at length about his work, so this interview really gives unique insight into his vision and inspiration behind this poignant work.

Nanni Moretti talks about latest film, "Mia Madre"

What was your motivation for this film and why did you choose a female alter ego?
Right from when I started working on the story with Gaia Manzini, Valia Santella and Chiara Valerio, the protagonist of the film was a woman, I never considered putting myself in the starring role. It’s been a while now since I last played the lead in a film, and I’m happy with that. I thought it would be interesting to transfer certain masculine traits to a female character. The role of the brother suited me down to the ground, although I must say that I can relate more to certain traits and the feeling of inadequacy Margherita’s character experiences. The death of a person’s mother is an important part of life, as many people know. It happened to me while I was editing Habemus papam  In a non-sadistic way, I wanted to portray this stage in a person’s life.

How was it working with Margherita Buy?This is the third film we’ve done together, the previous two being The Caiman and Habemus papam. She took the weight of the film onto her shoulders. Throughout the 70 days of filming, she was always on set. She would often say to me “I really like being a director, it’s fun yelling at actors!”. Everything in Margherita’s character is bubbling up at the same time and with the same sense of urgency. There’s the way she’s never in the room, her feeling of inadequacy towards her mother, the concerns she has for her daughter, work-related problems, and thoughts and dreams. I like how in some scenes the viewer doesn’t immediately know if what they were seeing was real or imaginary.

The Son's Room, Caos calmo which you starred in, and now Mia madre have a common thread, the subject of loss. What is it that you find so fascinating about this?I find it hard to theorise about my work, when you explain things you risk generating confusion, instead of making them clearer. At any rate, when I was twenty years-old it would never have occurred to me to direct films like these, as time goes on you start thinking more about death. The Son’s Room was about fears and ghosts, whilst Mia Madre deals with an experience that many have been through.

How much of an influence did your mother have on your career?My mother and father had very little to do with my choice to go into film. When I finished school at the age of 19 and decided to try my hand at this obscure thing called film they limited themselves to supporting me lovingly and unobtrusively, which meant a lot. I get embarrassed talking about my real mother, but there were generations of her former students that kept going back to her and talking to her about everything, which I only found out after her death. I never had any teachers as points of reference.

In the film Margherita has a sort of catchphrase that she says to her actors again and again, without them even understanding what she means: an actor has to get into their character but also stand beside it. Do you share this conviction?It’s something that I, too, tell my actors, it’s not just to make a mockery of Brecht. I don’t think that actors should be one-dimensional. For example, when she gets mad, Margherita is not just shouting, she’s also in pain, there’s always something else going on.

Margherita is your alter ego, but in the film we see her directing a film which has very little of the classic style of your films: it’s an average production with strikes and factory scenes, of which there are many.I wanted there to be a clear point of separation between Margherita’s private life, which is unstable and delicate, and a very structured film. Her mind’s always elsewhere (at work she thinks about her mother, and then about her daughter…) whilst the film she’s shooting is very solid. But no, it’s not my usual style of film. I didn’t want it to be.

Do you share Margherita’s feeling of inadequacy?I’ve been in this business for decades, but it hasn’t left me detached and confident. The day before filming starts I still have the same nightmares as when I was a young man (of arriving unprepared on set, of there something being broken or missing…). The feeling of inadequacy is something I am well acquainted with, and not only in a public setting. I used to think that with time I would grow a thick skin, and yet I now realise that time has the opposite effect; the more it passes the more you feel out of your element. As for theme, I think that when you make a film, you make it and that’s it, even if the theme is very strong as is the case here. When a director is focusing on the script, the cast, the direction, the performance and the editing, they can’t invest as much time and energy into the theme they’re dealing with… having said that, perhaps I don’t entirely agree.

Paolo Sorrentino to make HBO series about fictional Italian-American pope

Just before his new film Youth premiered at Cannes, Paolo Sorrentino announced that he will be heading to the small screen next along with Jude Law for a show called The Young Pope. The eight-part drama will follow the life of Lenny Belardo, an Italian American who becomes pontiff.

The official statement describes him as “a complex and conflicted character, so conservative in his choices as to border on obscurantism, yet full of compassion towards the weak and poor. He is a man of great power who is stubbornly resistant to the Vatican courtiers, unconcerned with the implications to his authority.

“During the series, Belardo will face losing those closest to him and the constant fear of being abandoned, even by his God. A man who is however not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.”

In an interview last year with Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, producer, Lorenzo Mieli said the character would be up there with classic television icons such as Walter White in “Breaking Bad.” Sorrentino has co-written the show with veteran television and film writers Umberto Contarello, Stefano Rulli and Tony Grisoni.

The Young Pope will be a joint production between Sky and HBO and will start shooting this summer and continue through early 2016 with locations in Italy, the U.S., Africa and Puerto Rico. If you plan to be in Italy during the summer months, there is ongoing casting for extras. They are currently looking for American men over the age of 50. For more information, send an email to

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Locarno Film Festival to Honor Marco Bellocchio

The 68th edition of the Locarno Film Festival will award the "Leopard of Honour Swisscom" to director extraordinaire, Marco Bellocchio. With this award, the festival pays tribute to an extraordinarily rich career, and affirms the strong links between Locarno and Bellocchio, first forged in 1965 with the screening in the Grand Hotel of his debut feature film, "Fists in the Pocket". The stunning anarchy of his film overwhelmed the audience, the critics and the jury, who awarded him the Vela d’argento, a success that immediately thrust him into the spotlight both in Italy and internationally.

The restored print of "Fists in the Pocket" was produced by Kavac Film, via Cineteca di Bologna at the laboratories of “L’immagine ritrovata”, with support from Giorgio Armani, and will be distributed internationally.

According to Cineuropa, the festival audience will also have an opportunity to talk to the director, who will likely be at this year's Venice Film Festival with his newest project, "La Monaca" (original name- L'ultimo vampire), and will hold a "Master Class" in the Spazio Cinema.

Check back here for news about Bellocchio's presence at the Venice Film Festival. His anticipated entry, "La Monaca" is now in post-production and stars some of his favorite players, including Roberto Herlitzka, Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, Filippo Timi and Alba Rohrwacher.

In the meantime, check out.. my Interview with Marco Bellocchio. We met last year when he was honored at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Monday, May 11, 2015

"Thriller" - 2015 David di Donatello for Best Short Film

Watch the short film that just won the 2015 David di Donatello.. Thriller by Giuseppe Marco Albano and Angelo Troiano.. Made in Puglia by filmmakers from Basilicata..

16 David di Donatello Nominations for "Anime nere"

Francesco Munzi's "Anime nere" gets a whopping 16 nominations for Italy's Oscar- the David di Donatello.
Virna Lisi gets a nomination for her performance in Cristina Comincini's "Latin Lover".

View the complete list of nominees...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

2015 Rome Independent Film Festival: Alessandro Colizzi's "Crushed Lives"

Our Mother's Day-themed movie pick... a comedy called, Crushed Lives by Alessandro Colizzi.. The movie speaks about sex after children. It will premiere on May 12th at the Rome Independent Film Festival.. Check out the hilarious trailer..

For information about the film and show times.. check out the Rome Independent Film Festival online....

Friday, May 8, 2015

Classic Italian Cinema to hit Big Screen in NYC


MAY 22–31

Like MGM’s lion and The Archers’ target, the iconic Titanus logo is an unmistakable presence in film history. The series presents everything from soul-searching works by Fellini and Antonioni to frightfests by Argento and Bava.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spanish Filmmaker Fernando Arrabal to be Honored in Basilicata

To mark the 40th anniversary of  Fernando Arrabal's film, “L’albero di Guernica”, the Basilicata city of Matera will host a weekend dedicated to the Spanish director.

The initiative led by the “Lucana Film Commission” will kick off at the Cinema Comunale on May 8th at 5:00pm. During the weekend to follow, there will be several events in which local artists will pay tribute to the works of Arrabal. For more information, visit the Lucana Film Commission online..


Matera – venerdì 8 maggio, ore 17.00 Cinema Comunale :  proiezione de “L’Albero di Guernica” (98 min).
Seguirà conversazione sul cinema di Arrabal. Partecipano Paolo Calcagno, Luciano Veglia, Ivan Moliterni.
Presenta Tiziana Bagatella

Matera – sabato 9 maggio, ore 10.30 Cinema Comunale : proiezione del docu “Jorge Luis Borges: una vita di poesia” (65 min).
Incontro con Arrabal “poeta e fondatore, insieme a Roland Topor e Alejandro Jodorowsky,  del movimento Panico”.
Presenta Tiziana Bagatella.
Introduce Paolo Calcagno.
Tiziana Bagatella leggerà brani di poesia tratti dal libro di Arrabal “La Pietra della follia”.
E’ prevista la partecipazione di alcune classi del Liceo Artistico “C. Levi”, del Liceo Scientifico “Dante Alighieri”  e del Classico “Duni” di Matera

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tommaso Agnese's 'Mi chiamo Maya' Reflects Social Issue Facing Italy

In the mid 1970’s, Italian police seized an underground publishing company for distributing a book called, How to Flee Home and Live Happily. Before the police could halt production, 30,000 copies were sold, exposing a huge problem in Italian society. Teenagers wanted to run away from home. Various reasons were cited. Since the 70’s were a politically tumultuous time in Italy, many parents did not agree with the political beliefs of their children, so those kids wanted to escape the torment of daily quarrels. Others reportedly ran away for economic reasons. Some 40 years later, statistics show that 30% of young people under the age of 20 have run away from  home at least once in their lives, and many are also fleeing from foster homes. Fortunately, the episodes usually just last for a few days because the hard reality of starting over from nothing shatters their dreams of independence.

Filmmaker Tommaso Agnese is bringing attention to this national problem with his new film, Mi chiamo Maya (My Name is Maya). Set for release in Italy on May 7, the film focuses on 16-year-old Niki, who after experiencing a tragic family event, decides to take off with her 8-year-old sister. The two make their way through the streets of Rome in search of the freedom to make their own decisions and live as they want. Along the way, they meet a cast of characters that includes punk-rockers and street performers. Mi chiamo Maya is a coming-of-age story that explores self-discovery, inner-strength, soul-searching and the ability to heal.

The talented cast includes Valeria Solarino, Matilda Lutz, Melissa Monti and Giovanni Anzaldo. The quality I love most about this film is how the story is told through a female perspective. I’ve spoken with dozens of Italian actresses over the years and they’ve all said that strong, interesting female characters are hard to come by. So, this film is a refreshing change, and another indication that times are changing, especially with the recent international success of Laura Bispuri’s female-driven tale, Vergine Giurata.

It’s no surprise that a director like Agnese would veer off the general protagonist path. His career has been anything but general. He has quite an impressive resume filled with all kinds of interesting projects including commercials, short films, full-length films, video art and even an English-language film starring Daryl Hannah and Danny Glover. He was a screenwriter on the 2014 Italian independent film, 2047: Sights of Death. Featuring Stephen Baldwin, Daryl Hannah, Danny Glover, Rutger Hauer and Michael Madsen. 

I spoke with Tommaso Agnese about why he chose to show the journey of a runaway through the eyes of a young girl and also what it was like to work with such a talented cast.

(Interview in English and Italian)

What was your inspiration behind telling this story?
The film is simply the culmination of my research on adolescence that I began several years ago with documentaries and short films in collaboration with schools and the Ministry of Culture. Although the film is a fictional story, it is based on the true stories of people that I met during the journey of this investigation.

Che cosa tu ha spinto a raccontare questa storia?
Il film non è altro che il punto di arrivo di un percorso d'indagine sull adolescenza iniziato diversi anni fa con documentari e cortometraggi in collaborazione con scuole e ministero dei beni culturali. Il film anche se è una storia di finzione è basato su persone reali e storie vere che ho incontrato durante questo cammino d'indagine.

Why did you choose to tell this story through the eyes of female protagonists?
I chose to tell the story through the world of women because girls grow at a faster rate than boys during adolescence. I also wanted to tell a very personal story of this protagonist. The character was inspired by my sister, a person who has lived an adolescence full of adventures for better or for worse.

Perchè protagoniste femminili?
Racconto attraverso il mondo delle donne, perchè nel periodo dell'adolescenza la donna cresce molto più in fretta dell'uomo, ha una capacità di maturazione e trasformazione impressionante, e poi perchè, e questa è una cosa strettamente personale, molto del personaggio della protagonista prende spunto da mia sorella, una persona che ha vissuto una adolescenza piena di avventure nel bene e nel male.

Tell me about your experience working with Valeria Solarino and Giovanni Anzaldo. I recently interviewed them for other projects, and I found them to be very special, professionally and personally.
Valeria Solarino and Giovanni Anzaldo are real professionals. They are serious and focused. I have great respect for them as well as the other actors of the film. I created a strong work bond on the set. There was a lot of energy and everyone understood my vision and took my direction. They really worked hard to achieve the best results.

Recentemente ho intervistato Valeria Solarino e Giovanni Anzaldo per altri progetti. Sono entrambi molto speciale. Raccontami la tua esperienza di lavorare con loro.
Valeria Solarino e Giovanni Anzaldo sono dei veri professionisti, seri, concentrati. Ho grande stima di loro così come degli altri interpreti del film, con cui ho creato un bellissimo legame lavorativo e tanta energia. Tutti hanno capito appieno le mie indicazioni sui personaggi è hanno dato il massimo per realizzarli al meglio.

The story and message are universal and the cast delivering that message is outstanding. Stream it now on Amazon Prime..

For more information, visit the film’s Facebook page at-

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...