It was a pretty productive year for women filmmakers in Italy, and however well their films did at the box office, it’s clear that they are forever changing the face of Italian cinema.
Maria Sole Tognazzi, sister of Ricky, daughter of Ugo, came up with a film that proved immediately exportable.
In Viaggio sola (A Five Star Life), starring Margherita Buy and Stefano Accorsi, Maria did more way more right things than wrong, starting with the incredible cast. With Ivan Cotroneo writing the screenplay and the beautiful luxury hotels as the backdrop it’s lots of fun. It’s about a mystery guest for hotel chains, checking in as a normal guest but actually there to make sure their 5 star rating is deserved and it’s scheduled to open in US theaters in Spring of 2014.
Emma Dante’s Sicilian stand-off movie Via Castellana Bandiera ( A Street In Palermo ) opened at the Venice Film Festival this year. Starring Alba Rohrwacher and Emma herself, it’s about a lesbian couple on the verge of a breakup/nervous breakdown when one of them refuses to back down in an impass with another car in a narrow Palermo street. While not my favorite at the festival, it is a bold and exciting effort for Dante’s first feature film.
Young director Susanna Nicchiarelli is delightful and bright in her telling of the story of Italy’s terrible “Anni di Piombo” (the 70s and 80s period of terrorism by the Red Brigades) in a creative way with her film La Scoperta Dell’Alba She says that she wanted to tell about her country’s history in a more inventive and free way and decided to use a science fiction approach which, I have to admit, was pretty cool.
Nicchiarelli, who also stars in the movie with Margherita Buy says that their is an intended metaphor; a woman trying to resolve something in her past symbolizing a country that struggles to do the same. For Italians who remember the period of terrorism, it’s not always easy to reconcile, and the effects of it are still felt by young Italians.
I want more, more, more of comedies like Giorgia Farina’s ‘Amiche Da Morire‘. It’s a dark screwball comedy with an exceptionally strong cast made up of hilarious women like Cristiana Capotondi, Claudia Gerini, Antonella Attili.
Maybe the most important new feminine force in Italian filmmaking: Valeria Golino. What can’t this woman accomplish? The beautiful and talented actress crossed over and made Hollywood films like Rain Man with Dustin Hoffman and now she’s directing. Her 2013 Miele (Honey) stars Jasmina Trinca and is winning awards all over the place.
It’s about a young “right to die” advocate, but it’s not a preachy message film. It’s more about the people that have to spend a little too much time on Death’s front porch. Irene could have been a soldier, a cancer doctor, or a psychic who conducts seances. She’s belongs that society of people that see death every day and have to pretend that they don’t when they are out in the real world. Can anybody really successfully do that and not end up pretty screwed up?