Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 13 / 29 March 2018

Italian scenarios


Scene from director Edoardo De Angelis "Indivisible." Photo: Courtesy New Italian Cinema
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The 2017 edition of New Italian Cinema continues Thurs.-Sun., Nov. 9-12, at San Francisco's Vogue Theatre. The film culture that pioneered what we now call art-house films – Mastroianni, Loren, Fellini, Antonioni, De Sica, Gerini – returns with compelling dramas presented by a new generation of actors and filmmakers.

"Indivisible" (2016) In Edoardo De Angelis' family drama, two sisters, twins conjoined at the hip, Daisy and Viola, protest their stern Papa's plan to cash in on their condition. As the girls go about their day, they encounter creepy guys who want to touch them for luck. One day an older surgeon offers them a free operation. The girls are delirious, but their papa quietly seethes at the prospect of losing his meal ticket. The catch is their need to come up with 20,000 euros for the trip to Switzerland and hospital expenses. First-rate performances from real-life twin actors Mariana (Daisy) and Angela (Viola) Fontana, in a drama that will remind some B.A.R. readers of "Brothers of the Head," the 2006 launching pad for twin actors Luke and Harry Treadaway. (11/11)

"Castro" For more than 10 years, an occupied building in Rome has provided living space for many families. Directed by Paolo Civati.

"Husband & Wife" In Simone Godano's film a couple, married for 10 years, are in full crisis, thinking about divorce. But following a failed scientific experiment, they find a new zest for each other. With Pierfrancesco Favino and Kasia Smutniak.

"There Is a Light" In Fabio Mollo's drama, Paolo is a skeptical 30-year-old who works unwillingly as a sales clerk in a Turin department store, while Mia is a back-up singer in a band and is practically homeless.

"After the War" Annarita Zambrano's first fiction feature comes fresh from the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. In Bologna, 2002, the murder of a judge reopens old political wounds between Italy and France. Marco, a former left-wing activist sentenced for murder and exiled in France for 20 years, is accused of having ordered the attack. The Italian government seeks his extradition. Forced to flee with his 16-year-old daughter Viola, his life will change forever. (all 4, 11/9)

"First Try" In Enza Negroni's film, young inmates become part of the prison rugby team in Bologna.

"Pure Hearts" Roberto De Paolis' film focuses on profoundly different young lovers Agnese and Stefano. She's 17, lives with her mother, and is about to take a vow of chastity until marriage. He is 25, with a violent temper and a difficult past, and works as a warden in a car park that borders a gypsy camp. When they make love for the first time, Agnese's illusion of purity is shattered. (both, 11/10)

"Bozzetto non troppo" Marco Bonfanti's film is about what's inside, behind, before, beneath and in the pockets of Italian animation legend Bruno Bozzetto.

"At War for Love" Pierfrancesco Diliberto's love story is set in July 1943, when Allied forces landed in Sicily. Arturo loves Flora, but she has been promised in marriage to a Mafia boss. Arturo joins the Allied Forces and returns to Sicily, which he had left in search of fortune in America. It's a clever narrative of how relations between the Allies and the Mafia during WWII shaped the fate of Sicily in years to come.

"No Country for the Young" In Giovanni Veronesi's romantic comedy, a young couple, Sandro and Luciano, get to know each other by working together. Sandro wants to be a writer, while Luciano dreams of opening a restaurant in Cuba. (all 3, 11/11)

"Walking on Water" from Giacomo D'Agostino. The 1966 flood in Florence through the eyes, camera and creativity of Beppe Fantacci, who helped the city's artisans survive the devastation. A forgotten story of desperation and recovery, the film features unreleased 16mm color footage and memories of the flood by families such as Ferragamo and Pucci.

"The Young Pope" Paolo Sorrentino directs Jude Law as the young, charming, newly elected Pius XIII, aka Lenny Belardo. The first American to be selected, Pius XIII proves to be a mysterious and contradictory figure who relies on an American-born nun, Sister Mary (Diane Keaton), as his chief adviser.

"Friends by Chance" Francesco Bruni's dramedy features a volatile young slacker and a former poet, Giorgio (Giuliano Montaldo), in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

"The Duel of Wine" Nicolas Carreras tells the story of famous sommelier Charlie Arturaola, who falls from grace after temporarily losing his taste buds. The idea of "a sommelier without an informed palate" destroys his career. (all 4, 11/12)


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