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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Three Italian Films in the Lineup of the 2020 Berlin Film Festival

Elio Germano in Hidden Away
Three additional Italian films have been named in the official lineup of The 2020 Berlin Film Festival and actor Elio Germano stars in two of them.

Bad Tales (Favolacce)
Italy / Switzerland
by Damiano & Fabio D’’Innocenzo
with Elio Germano, Barbara Chichiarelli, Lino Musella, Gabriel Montesi, Max Malatesta
World premiere

Italy / Germany / Mexico
by Abel Ferrara
with Willem Dafoe, Dounia Sichov, Simon McBurney, Cristina Chiriac
World premiere

Hidden Away (Volevo nascondermi)
by Giorgio Diritti
with Elio Germano
World premiere

Faith di Valentina Pedicini

Here is the complete list of Italian productions...

La casa dell'amore by Luca Ferri: Forum
Cesare deve morire by Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani: On Transmission
Faith di Valentina Pedicini: Berlin Critics' Week
Favolacce by Damiano D'Innocenzo, Fabio D'Innocenzo: Competition
Palazzo di Giustizia by Chiara Bellosi: Generation 14plus
Pinocchio by Matteo Garrone: Berlinale Special Gala
Progresso renaissance by Marta Anatra: Generation 14plus
The Queen by Stephen Frears: Homage and Honorary Golden Bear for Helen Mirren
Semina il vento by Danilo Caputo: Panorama
Siberia by Abel Ferrara: Competition
Sole by Carlo Sironi: On Transmission
Volevo Nascondermi by Giorgio Diritti: Competition
Zeus machine. L'invincibile by David Zamagni, Nadia Ranocchi: Forum

In addition, a digitally restored version of Fellini’s Il bidone (The Swindle) will be shown to mark the maestro's 100th birth year and Matteo Garrone's Pinocchio will be shown in the Panorama section. The Berlin Film Festival will be held February 20 - March 1. Click here for more information.

Monday, January 20, 2020

'Figli' Hits Italian Theaters January 23

I've been seeing so many posters on social media promoting Giuseppe Bonito's new film Figli (Children), which will open in Italy on January 23. The film stars two of my personal favorites, Paola Cortellesi as Sara and Valerio Mastandrea as Nicola, a happily married couple with a 6-year-old girl daughter, Anna. The arrival of their second child, Pietro, upsets the balance of the whole family, giving rise to hilariously tragic situations. Extravagant grandparents, friends on the verge of nervous breakdowns and unlikely babysitters will not help them. Between moments of happiness and situations of despair, Sara and Nicola do all they can to cope and stay together.

The release of the film will undoubtedly be a bittersweet experience for the cast and crew because the writer, Mattia Torre, passed away after losing his battle with cancer in July of last year at the age of 47. In a director's note, Bonito stated that he feels Figli is a film by Torre because he didn't simply write the script but "lived" it as the story was inspired by his own life experiences. "Figli is the comic and moving story of a couple, two people who love each other and try to withstand the shock wave of parenting in a chaotic time and in an increasingly hostile country," explained Bonito.

Torre was a beloved, gifted writer who worked in theater, television and film. He is best known for his work on the television series Boris, a satire about Italian television fictions. The show ran between 2007 and 2010. Three season were made available on Netflix in Italy. Torre directed season 2. Numerous actors appeared in the series over its run including Carolina Crescentini, Marco GialliniValentina Lodovini and Filippo Timi, just to name a few. Then in 2011, Boris: The Film was released with the same premise as the series. Composer Giuliano Taviani worked on both the series and film. He also wrote the soundtrack for Figli.

Check out this beautiful tribute that was made following Torre's death..

I am hoping that Figli comes to Open Roads: New Italian Cinema in June. We'll keep you posted.. In the meantime, click here to check out the trailer.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Snow Day Streaming: Laura Bispuri

Daughter of Mine
We are buried under the snow on this frigid January Sunday in upstate New York, which means it's a perfect day to watch movies. Given the fact that no women directors were nominated for an Oscar this year, I feel like celebrating one- Laura Bispuri.

Bispuri made her feature film debut in 2015 with the award winning Vergine Giurata (Sworn Virgin). Staring Alba Rohrwacher, the film is based on the true stories of women in Albania who choose to live their lives as men in order to be granted certain freedoms. The film was shown all over the world and earned Bispuri numerous awards, including the Nora Ephron prize for Best Female Director at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

Stream Sworn Virgin on.. Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes & Google Play.

Bispuri returned to Tribeca with her follow-up film Figlia Mia (Daughter of Mine), which delves into the complex world of adoption as a mother develops a curiosity and affection for the child she gave up a decade ago. Set amid the majestic sea and mountains of Sardinia, Figlia Mia is an emotional yet simple story of three women in conflict who share a strong bond of love. 

The triangle began when Angelica (Alba Rohrwacher), young and poor, gave birth to Vittoria. Tina (Valeria Golino), married and financially secure, was willing and able to take the burden off Angelica’s hands. Ten years later, Vittoria emerges sheltered and protected but with a fierce independence and free spirit. One day at the beach when she comes face to face with Angelica, she immediately senses something isn’t right. After another encounter, Vittoria starts sneaking away to spend time with her suspected biological mother. After a few afternoons, the natural mother-daughter bond becomes apparent and they can no longer deny the truth. Despite her efforts and sincere love for her daughter, Angelica’s demons make it dangerously hard for the two to get close.

Stream Daughter of Mine on Amazon, Vudu, YouTube & Google Play.

Friday, January 17, 2020

"Felliniana - Ferretti dreams of Fellini" Opens at Cinecittà

Istituto Luce Cinecittà

Ferretti dreams Fellini

Cinecittà Studios presents a permanent exhibition-installation dedicated to the Maestro Federico Fellini curated by his production designer Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo.

January 20, 2020, marks the 100th birthday of Fellini. To mark the event, Cinecittà will present him with a gift, Felliniana - Ferretti dreams of Fellini. The exhibit will be housed in Cinecittà studios within the historic 'Palazzina Fellini'.

The work bears the signature of Dante Ferretti, the Oscar-winning scenographer who for Fellini was one of the magical architects of his visions, an artist-craftsman capable of giving shape to his dreams, and Francesca Lo Schiavo, a close associate of Ferretti, and an internationally acclaimed scenographer and set decorator. The exhibition offers full-immersion into Fellini's imagination as well as the dreamlike and suggestive story of an artistic partnership and friendship. 

Fellini and 'Dantino' first met on the set of Satyricon in 1969. Their collaborations include the 1978 Orchestra rehearsal, the 1980, The city of women, the 1983 And the Ship Sails, the 1986 Ginger and Fred and the 1990 The Voice of the Moon.

Felliniana, produced and promoted by Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, is a small city within Cinecittà, a physical and dreamy space that in a collected journey contains mementos of the entire Fellini universe. The exhibition unfolds in three main areas- three stages of a journey, the places of his inspiration.

The Central Room, graced by the posters of the films as in a magnificent fresco, tells the story of the car, a regular ritual between the director and the set designer: the journey on the Fiat 125, with which Federico Fellini went to Cinecittà often accompanied by Dante Ferretti, and with which he loved to wander the streets of Rome at night with his friends (featured in Ettore Scola's How Strange to Be Named Federico). The central room is a physical and temporal space where conversations and exchanges of ideas took place, but also tales of dreams, on which Fellini questioned his scenographer.

The route continues in the Pleasure House, a synthesis room of the imagination contained in The City of Women, with the toboggan slide and the soubrettes that surround Marcello Mastroianni.

It leads to the final room, that of the Fulgor, the emblematic place for Fellini's childhood and his initiation into cinema. The iconic theater was recently restored by Ferretti in Fellini's hometown of Rimini. In the three rooms, Ferretti has built a new ideal home for Fellini.

 Cinecittà’s Felliniana, which will open its doors at the end of January, is one of many worldwide celebrations for someone considered the most representative of Italian directors in the world. Among the celebrations is the great restoration of all of Fellini's work by Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, Cineteca di Bologna and CSC-Cineteca Nazionale. These works, which include The White SheikI vitelloniLa dolce vita
8 ½ and Amarcord will be shown at retrospectives around the world, including the prestigious BFI in London and the new Academy Museum in Los Angeles designed by Renzo Piano.

Cinecittà is located on Via Tuscolana in Rome. If you are traveling by subway, take the Red Line in the direction of Anagnina and exit the Cinecittà stop. For more information, visit Cinecittà online at and

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Director Michele Diomà's talks with us about his film 'Dance With Me Again Heywood!'

Director Michele Diomà's new film, Dance With Me Again Heywood!, starring novelist James Ivory, made its world premiere in New York as a Special Event at the 2019 edition of N.I.C.E. (New Italian Cinema Events) in November.

The story centers on Heywood, a poet who works several jobs to make ends meet. He lives a lonely life with two homeless men as his only friends until an expected encounter changes everything. One morning, he meets a woman suffering from "Moon Butterfly Syndrome”, a condition that makes her invisible to everyone except carriers of the syndrome, such as himself. The two start seeing each other, often to dance the waltz on a Manhattan rooftop. At the same time, Heywood starts wondering whether he'll be able to ignore the prejudice cast upon him by people who could only see a man talking to himself on the streets, while in fact he was with this invisible woman. Heywood's challenge to muster up the courage to be himself and not worry about the opinions of others is the very core of this New York fairy tale, a film that combines two narrative threads while honoring the history of cinema thanks to the presence of James Ivory.

Italian Cinema Today's New York correspondent, Lucia Grillo, had a spirited conversation with Diomà about some unique elements of the film while he was there presenting it.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Immerse yourself in the decadent art of the Uffizi Galleries

Igor Mitoraj's Tindaro Screpolato in the Boboli Gardens
Enjoy one of the world’s most renowned collections of paintings without leaving the comforts of home. Your online hub for everything you’ll want to know about Florence’s Uffizi Galleries can be found on the gallery’s official website. 

Read the latest news, browse through past, current and upcoming exhibitions or plan your next trip amid stunning images and videos of magnificent locations like Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens and Corridoio Vasariano. Click on the Digital Archive tab, where you’ll have access to 600,000 images. Click here to browse the Uffizi's collection in English.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Angela Bevilacqua: A Young Filmmaker Beyond Her Years

She studies cinema and television production at the Accademia Delle Belle Arti Di Napoli but even before enrolling, she was well on her way to becoming a gifted storyteller and filmmaker. Born in Naples in 1996, Angela Bevilacqua knew early on that she had a passion for cinema and she didn’t waste any time exploring it. She made her first short film when she was just 17-years-old. Il teatro dei ricordi (The Theater of Memories) stars Alessia Alciati and veteran French actor Jean Sorel who is known for his role opposite Claudia Cardinale in Luchino Visconti's 1965 Sandra. An ambitious first effort, the film premiered as a Special Event at the 2014 Giffoni Film Festival.

Il teatro dei ricordi is an enigmatic tale of a tormented woman looking for a temporary escape. The film opens in a dense forest as a young woman is walking around looking dazed and confused. She starts to run as if in a panic while a violin resounds. Shortly thereafter, she finds herself in an theater with the great Jean Sorel who introduces himself simply as the guardian. A series of flashbacks follow, which reveal the problems from which the young woman is trying to escape. Just when the film seems to be ending, the story takes an unexpected turn, making a shocking revelation.

In addition to the compelling story, the locations of the film are also quite stunning. Shot entirely in the region of Lazio, the Teatro Flavio Vespasiano, where most of the film takes place is a 19th century theater and opera house located in the town of Rieti.

Three years later, Bevilacqua published her first novel La Città del Vizio (The City of Vice), a thriller that explores a personification of the Seven Deadly Sins as they are misguided by the Devil to a supposed place of material and spiritual delight called, "The City of Vice.” But the city itself hides a secret that each and every resident finds out sooner or later. The book is similar to her debut film in that it deals with human nature and overcoming obstacles but with an eerie quality that sets the stage for a surreal atmosphere.

Last year, she released her second short film, L'Attesa, (The Wait), the suspenseful story of a mother who is frantically trying to locate her son after she hears about a terrorist attack in London where he is studying abroad. The 24-minute film is carried entirely by actress Lucianna De Falco who gives an articulate performance filled with a whole host of emotions that reels you right into the fear and dread she is experiencing.

Perhaps the most striking quality of this sophomore effort is the age gap between the director and her protagonist because it’s remarkable that a 23-year-old can write and direct the part of a middle—aged mother so precisely and sensitively. De Falco’s performance is subtle yet intense. She is a character actress who has appeared in numerous movies over the years and has worked with the likes of Ferzan Ozpetek, Carlo Vanzini and Paolo Genovese. The collaboration between this veteran actress and newcomer resulted in a thrilling movie that kept audience members at the edge of their seats.

Italian Cinema Today's makeshift producer, Mauro Ianari and I were at the Rome premiere and caught up with Angela Bevilacqua in the chaos after the screening to ask her a few questions. We were both so mesmerized by this film.

How did this project come about?
I felt this need to write something that conveyed a strong emotion. So I thought, since I am a very anxious person, I'll write about the anguish that we all feel when we are waiting for something important. So L'Attesa was born from the idea of ​​this worried mother who does not know the fate of her son.

What was your motivation to write specifically about a terrorist attack in another country?
The theme of the attack is unfortunately a very current reality, but I chose this theme because it's a subject that could speak to the viewer. It's the world in which we all live now.

Watch Bevilacqua's first film,  Il teatro dei ricordi...

What ignited this particular career path?
I have always been passionate about cinema. For me, the central point of my work is writing. First of all, I feel I am a screenwriter and then a director. I attend The Academy of Fine Arts but started this path when I was 17-years-old with a short film called The Theater of Memories with which I had the privilege of directing Jean Sorel. It was presented as a Special Event at the Giffoni Festival. And now this is my second work, so it continues.

Watch a clip from our interview..

L'Attesa was recently awarded the "Premio Lazio Film Commission" by the Biennale Marte Live film competition. For more information about Angela Bevilacqua, visit her online at

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Take a Virtual Tour of Pier Paolo Pasolini's Roma

© Federico Garolla

While looking for more information on the photos I saw in November at Biblioteca Nazionale di Rome’s Sala Pasolini, I came across a fascinating website (in English!) that provides every single location in Rome frequented by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

First, take this little walk with me through the Sala Pasolini..

“Pasolini Roma” provides a virtual tour of sites relevant to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s filmmaking and writing. The tour takes you through 50 addresses and dates accompanied by a map and photos of Pasolini’s life in Rome. The tour spans 25 years, beginning with his first day in Rome in 1950 to his last day, which took place on the day of his funeral in 1975. In between, you will visit his first job, homes and film locations. 

Featured are: black and white set photos taken during the filming of Accattone in Rome’s Pigneto neighborhood with a young Bernardo Bertolucci as his assistant and the story of how a famous scene from Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City influenced him to shoot in that neighborhood; candid shots of Pasolini directing Anna Magnani in Mamma Roma; and evenings spent at Piazza del Popolo’s legendary Canova Café, specifically his meeting with Federico Fellini who hired him as a scriptwriter for Nights of Cabiria.

If you love Rome and Pasolini as I do, you must check out this virtual tour…

- By Jeannine Guilyard for Fra Noi Magazine, February 2020

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...