Monthly Archives: March 2012

Mozzarella Stories – Cheese Intrigue In Caserta

Aida Turturro in Mozzarella Stories

I had to watch the Italian movie with Tony Soprano’s sister in it;  Aida Turturro, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, is John Turturro’s cousin, the daughter of a Sicilian parents, and stars in Mozzarella Stories, a movie that will be considered for David di Donatello Awards. Read more…

We Have A Pope Sneak Preview Tonight at IFC in NYC

We Have a Pope


Directed by: Nanni Moretti

Opens Friday, April 6 – sneak preview TONIGHT!

Special sneak preview Mar 30! Nanni Moretti in person! Nanni Moretti joins forces with the great French actor Michel Piccoli (ContemptI’m Going Home) to tell the story of Melville, a cardinal who suddenly finds himself elected as the next Pope. Never the front runner and completely caught off guard, he panics as he’s presented to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. To prevent a world wide crisis, the Vatican’s spokesman calls in an unlikely psychiatrist who is neither religious or all that committed, played by Moretti, to find out what is wrong with the new Pope. As the world nervously waits outside, inside the therapist tries to find a solution. But Cardinal Melville is adamant: he does not want the job, or at least needs time to think it over. What follows is a marvelous insight into the concept of a human being existing behind the title of God’s representative on Earth. WE HAVE A POPE is the latest film by Moretti to make wonderful use of humor while dealing with serious issues and continue to showcase his deep humanism.

NR, 102 Minutes, In Italian with English subtitles

Michel Ciment Sees a Rebirth in Italian Cinema

Michel Ciment, celebrated French film critic, editor of the cinema magazine Positif and author of “Kubrick: The Definitive Edition” spoke this week at a round table discussion in Rome about Italian cinema and I don’t want to brag (of course I do), but he says what I’ve been saying:

“Italian cinema is experiencing a rebirth. To follow the great filmmakers (of the golden era) is a heavy burden, but for a few years there have been some really interesting work”. Read more…

La Fine È Il Mio Inizio

Bruno Ganz and Elio Germano

You have to be in the mood for a talky movie – all dialogue and little action, especially if you are watching a movie in another language (action helps you understand what’s going on when you don’t understand the words). I’m a huge fan of My Dinner With Andre, and that’s just two guys having dinner together and their conversation at a restaurant table. It’s all talk, but it’s still a wild ride – I could watch it over and over and I think about it all the time.

I wasn’t quite so taken with Jo Baier’s La Fine È Il Mio Inizio (The end is my beginning). Read more…

Here’s A First Look At Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love

It’s not a trailer – sort of the trailer for a trailer – but you can catch a glimpse of Woody Allen’s new movie, To Rome With Love.

It was originally titled Bop Decameron (and who would get either reference?), then it was changed to Nero Fiddled, and now it’s To Rome With Love. Half of the cast are Italian movie stars and they’ll be speaking Italian (with subtitles).

The Double Hour – La Doppia Ora – Right Now On Demand

Kseniya Rappoport and Filippo Timi

One of my favorites from the last few years has been right under my nose and I hadn’t noticed – La Doppia Ora (The Double Hour) starring  Kseniya Rappoport and Filippo Timi (Time Warner is calling him Filippo Tomi) is available on demand. Time Warner has listed it with the indies instead of with the international movies and I missed it.

La Doppia Ora has something that not many modern Italian movies have – a fear factor! There were a few things that made me jump right out of my seat, and I found myself covering my eyes. And it was done in the best kind of way; the threat was hidden in the shadows, waiting to jump out and say “boo” at any given moment. Read more…

An Interview With Paolo Sorrentino

"In spite of my modesty, there are autobiographical signs. Usually I avoid this, but this time I allowed it, " said Sorrentino. (pictured with Sean Penn as Cheyenne)

“There are autobiographical parts”, the director of Il DIvo reveals in an interview talking about his latest work starring Sean Penn and filmed in America.”

I found this interview with Paolo Sorrentino discussing his first English language film, This Must Be The Place, with Sean Penn in Il Fatto Quotidiano (the daily fact). Remember, I’m using my extremely flawed Italian for this translation, but as always, I do my best. Read more…

This is Donatella Finocchiaro’s Year for the Best Actress Award

Donatella Finocchiaro from Sergio Castellitto's "The Wedding Director"

I’m making an extremely precipitous prediction – I pick Donatella Finocchiaro for Best Actress in the David di Donatello Competition! With her Botticelli face the gorgeous Siciliana could have gone the route of Monica Bellucci and played the sex symbol over and over, but Donatella took the tougher, more interesting parts and she deserves the prize. Read more…

Sergio Castellitto’s Son Pietro, The Porn Star

Pietro Castellitto with Luciana Littizzetto and Rocco Papaleo

Sergio Castellitto, star of Non ti Muovere (Don’t Move) and his wife Margaret Mazzantini (author of Non ti Muovere) have a 20-year-old son that’s a porn star; at least he’s playing one in a movie that’s opening tomorrow in Italian theaters.  Read more…

The Second Annual David Di Donatello Awards Movie Contest

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s never too early to start getting prepared for the Second Annual David di Donatello Movie Award Contest. You can’t enter until the actual nominations are announced in April, but you can start watching the movies. I’ve been listing them the last few days and here are the links:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Remember you have to play to win – and there’s a prize!

Your David di Donatello Award Checklist – Day 4

Romanzo di una Strage is the one to beat

Day four, and they’re still coming – movies that will be considered for the Italian Academy Awards, the David di Donatellos. Again, most will be considered only as a formality and have no chance in hell – but it’s fun to see the list of movies that produced last season. Don’t forget to check the last 3 days for more movies, and stay tuned for the final films tomorrow. Read more…

Your David di Donatello Awards 2012 Checklist

Pierfrancesco Fravino in ACAB – All Cops Are Bastards

The Nominations have been announced – you can find them HERE!

Here it is – your 2012 David di Donatello Award checklist, including all of the Italian films in the running for the prizes. The actual nominations will be out in April, but in the meantime, start watching! I’ve put a ★ by the ones that I think have a chance.

The DAVID DI DONATELLO PRIZES were first awarded in Rome in the spring of 1955. Instituted by a cultural club then called The Open Gate, the goal was to honor the best of each year’s Italian film (and one foreign) like the American Oscars.

The  “Nastri d’argento” or Silver Ribbons had already existed – but these were assigned by film critics and journalists. Like the Oscars, the Davids are awarded by the people in the industry, the film-makers themselves: screenwriters, performers, technicians, producers.

And by the way, this was a lot of work for me, so – you’re welcome. This is just part one – there are over 100, most with no chance at all. Read more…

Looking Ahead to Cannes

Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch

Italy’s Medusa Films has submitted two films for consideration at the Cannes Film Festival: Bernardo Bertolucci‘s “Io e te” and Sergio Castellitto‘s Sarajevo-set English-language drama “Into the World,” with Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch. (Some sources are calling the film Twice Born).

Two time Oscar winner Bertolucci (The Last Emperor) and director of other award-winning films, like Last Tango in Paris, comes back from a 10 year hiatus to give us Io e Te, (Me and You)  “the story of Lorenzo, a 14-year-old boy who tells his parents that he went on a ski trip, only to hide out in the basement to try to help his much older half-sister, Olivia, shak off her addiction to heroin” (based on a book by Niccolò Ammaniti). At first, this movie was going to be released in 3D, but Bertolucci changed his mind and called 3D “vulgarly commercial”.

Io e Te

Sergio Castellitto’s Into The World adapts the bestseller written by his wife, Margaret Mazzantini, and follows a single mother who returns to Sarajevo with her teenage son to face the past she shared with her late husband. This is the second time Castellitto has acted with Cruz in a film that was based on a story written by his wife: Non Ti Muovere (Don’t Move) is one of my top ten favorites of all time.

Both of these films have huge potential for success and for exportation and my guess is that they will be on the Cannes lineup.

And speaking of Cannes, I’ve applied for press credentials, and it’s probably a long shot but I’ll go if I get them.