At 1:00 La Buca (Money Buddies)
Sergio Castellitto, Rocco Papaleo and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi star in Daniele Ciprì’s second directorial attempt and I gotta say, Daniele’s got a silly side.
His first film, È Stato il Figlio, one of my favorites of 2012, was quirky and silly in spite of its serious theme; I saw Ciprì’s playful nature even there. But he’s gone all out boffo with La Buca, and I like this about him.
La Buca is the urban fairytale of a greedy curmudgeon, (Oscar, the unscrupulous lawyer played by Castellitto), a lovely, kind, and mistreated fairy-godmother (Carmen, the barista, played by Bruni Tedeschi), and usurped prince (Armando, the ex-con, played by Papaleo), in a whimsical cartoon land full of anachronisms and charm.
When Armando is released from prison, he comes home to a Alzheimer afflicted Mamma that doesn’t remember him, a sister who finds him an undesirable element for her children, and the deceitful Oscar, who wants only to take advantage of him. He’s given small rays of sunshine by the dog, “Internazionale” who has appeared to have adopted him, and Carmen, who takes pity and looks out for him.
Fate begins to smile on the unlucky Armando when Oscar, Carmen, a convalescent home nurse, and a Mariachi singer join forces and with comic disorder, save the day.
At 3:30 La Forest di Ghiacchio (The Ice Forest)
When Pietro (Domenico Diele), a young repairman, journeys to an electrical station located in a remote village on the Italian-Slovenian border, he soon gets wrapped up in a mystery involving foul play, human trafficking, and his own past. Meanwhile, Lana (Ksenia Rappoport), a Slovenian investigator posing as a bear expert to get to the truth, struggles against the climate and the hardened ways of the men (including one played by Emir Kusturica) who live and work there. Shot with a swooping grace befitting its majestic Alpine setting, this heart-pounding thriller proves director Claudio Noce to be a master of suspense.
Q&A with actor Adriano Giannini after the screening
At 6:30 Latin Lover
Writer/Director Cristina Comencini has been at this for a long time with great success, having written novels and screenplays, and directed films like the award-winning Don’t Tell (La Bestia Nel Cuore), but her newest film, Latin Lover, exceedes every expectation.
Golden era film star Saverio Crispo has been dead for 10 years and his eclectic and complicated family has planned a memorial for him in his Puglian hometown. Crispo, who “left a lot outside of the scene”, collected wives, lovers, and children from all of his movies. Two widows and five daughters (six?) gathered for an uncomfortable family reunion in the family estate, rehashing old grievances and uncovering secrets. Though the daughters all had different mothers and different nationalities, they shared names that began with the letter “S”, a sort of “factory label”, explained Saverio.
This is one of the best ensemble comedies I have seen in years, and Comencini’s dialogue is spot on. Virna Lisi (in her last performance before her death in December 2014), Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Human Capital), Candela Peña (All About My Mother) and Angela Finocchiaro (Benvenuto al Sud) couldn’t be more natural as mother and sisters airing old slights, and though their family dynamics are unconventional, they seem real. Saverio himself, who never really understood why all those women were so crazy about him, is played by Francesco Scianna (Baarìa) who evokes old fashioned movie swoons from everyone in the film and us in the audience as well.
Latin Lover is funny and heartwarming, and the recreated vintage movie scenes are too much fun for words. Dedicated to the memory of Lisi, this film couldn’t have been a better tribute to the movie star and her golden era.
And at 9:15 The Lack
In an attempt to bridge the gap between the worlds of video art and narrative filmmaking, Nicolò Massazza and Iacopo Bedogni (aka MASBEDO) have created The Lack, a radical, poetic work of pure cinema. Six women from six different countries—Eve (Lea Mornar), Xiu (Xin Wang), Anja (Giorgia Sinicorni), Nour (Ginevra Bulgari), Greta (Emanuela Villagrossi), and Sarah (Cinzia Brugnola)—navigate separate, barren Aeolean Islands by themselves. Working through their pasts, each of their journeys investigates the theme of a “lack,” including one that overtly references Antonioni’s L’Avventura. As visually dazzling as it is deeply emotional, MASBEDO’s experiment is worth every secon