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New Italian Cinema week in San Francisco and more

New Italian Cinema (Nov 13 – 20 at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres San Francisco), is an eight-day series dedicated to celebrating the rich cinematic tradition of Italy and bringing the country’s newest directors and films to audiences in San Francisco, New York, Moscow and Amsterdam.

This year’s selection runs the gamut from thriller to black comedy, delves into issues affecting young and old and explores issues such as corporate downsizing, illegal immigration and the plight of political prisoners. New Italian Cinema features the U.S. premiere of ONCE YOU’RE BORN, YOU CAN NO LONGER HIDE, directed by Marco Tullio Giordana, whose THE BEST OF YOUTH had an extended and acclaimed theatrical run in San Francisco; seven new films by first-time directors competing for the City of Florence Award; a tribute to inventive Neapolitan director Antonio Capuano; and Antonietta de Lillo’s THE REMAINS OF NOTHING starring Maria de Medeiros, best known to American audiences from Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION.

“New Italian Cinema is a series that satisfies many of our programming interests at the Film Society,” comments Linda Blackaby, Film Society director of programming. “Each year we relish the opportunity to introduce San Francisco audiences to some brand new talent from Italy, as well as to highlight several more established directors who have had little exposure in the U.S. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion to see many of the films and to be among the first to discover (and meet in person) some new Italian filmmakers.”

The New Italian Cinema Events organization in Florence oversaw the selection committee, comprised of Blackaby, film professor and critic Oscar Iarussi and journalists Deborah Young, Barbara Corti and Lella Scalia, which chose the films to present in the 2005 New Italian Cinema competition. Anna di Martino curated the seven shorts in the program. All seven feature filmmakers are expected at the Kabuki for Q&As with the audiences. The City of Florence Award will be decided by audience ballots from San Francisco and New York, and announced at the Closing Night Award Ceremony on Sunday, November 20.

A celebratory evening of film, awards and appetizing Italian cuisine and wine brings New Italian Cinema to a festive close. Antonietta de Lillo’s portrait of political intrigue in Naples at the end of the eighteenth century, THE REMAINS OF NOTHING, holds the place of honor as the Closing Night film of New Italian Cinema 2005. Immediately afterwards there will be an onstage ceremony to present the coveted City of Florence Award to the audience’s favorite of the seven new films in competition. The eight-day series wraps with the Closing Night Party at Pasta Pomodoro, featuring Italian culinary delights and the opportunity to mingle with the visiting filmmakers.

Sunday, November 13 OPENING NIGHT
The newest film by Marco Tullio Giordana, director of the widely acclaimed The Best of Youth.
7:00 Once You’re Born, You Can No Longer Hide Quando sei nato non puoi più nasconderti
Giordana reunites with his Best of Youth star Alessio Boni to tell an extremely relevant story about the predicaments and ramifications of illegal immigration in today’s society. Boni plays Bruno Lombardi, a factory owner with a fairly liberal world view. This outlook undergoes a remarkable expansion when his son, Sandro (Matteo Gadola), falls overboard on a family vacation in Greece and is rescued by a boat filled with refugees from various countries. A devastating and deeply humane film from one of world cinema’s most exciting directors. (117 min, 2005)

A rare opportunity to catch up on the work of this innovative Naples-based filmmaker. Both films copresented with the Museo ItaloAmericano.

7:00 Mario’s War La guerra di Mario

Effectively employing an elliptical storytelling style to evoke the conflict between a defiant young boy and his foster mother, Capuano elicits exceptional performances from Marco Grieco and Valeria Golino (Respiro, Rain Man). Occasional voiceover from Mario’s perspective, recounting his violent and abusive past, augments the story as it probes the challenges of fostering a kid who resists being parented and a woman whose decision to adopt a child impacts her life in unforeseeable ways. (97 min, 2005)

9:30 Red Moon Luna rossa

The Cammarano family is a brutal brood, and this Mafia drama doesn’t shy away from the sordid and vicious activities of each member. Elderly patriarch Tony (Italo Celoro) keeps a caged panther in his office, and his son Amerigo (Tony Servillo, The Consequences of Love) has the same mistress as grandson Orestes (Domenico Balsamo). When the Cammaranos rub out a competing family, internecine struggles come to the fore, and no one is left unscathed. Drawing on elements of Greek tragedy, using stylized dialogue and employing a vast array of musical genres, Capuano memorably differentiates his film from similar efforts. (98 min, 2001)

Tuesday, November 15 City of Florence Competition
6:45 I Truly Respect You Volevo solo dormirle addosso NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

dir. Eugenio Cappuccio

A sexy but scathing look at corporate downsizing, Cappuccio’s black comedy depicts the conundrum facing Marco Pressi (Giorgio Pasotti, The Last Kiss), an ambitious corporate professional. In order to receive a coveted promotion, he must lay off 25 people in three months without ruffling any feathers. As Marco, the charismatic Pasotti evinces just the right combination of slickness and charm to create a love/hate relationship with viewers; it’s difficult to wish him luck, but watching him suffer is equally discomfiting. (98 min, 2004) Preceded by Like Yesterday (Come ieri), dir. Luciano Federico (9 min, 2003) Copresented with the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

9:30 Unnatural Contronatura NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

dir. Alessandro Tofanelli

Stunning black-and-white photography contrasts the existential differences between rural woodcutter Giacomo (Andrea di Stefano, Before Night Falls) and local pharmacist’s wife Francesca (Valeria Cavalli, Everybody’s Fine) in this fabulistic romantic drama. When the latter is rescued from a car wreck by the former, a romantic attachment grows. Whether or not the relationship can succeed largely becomes a function of their respective environments, although the mysterious woman living with Giacomo and Francesca’s husband both have their own opinions of and reactions to the burgeoning affair. (105 min, 2005) Preceded by Who? (Chi?), dir. Enrico Vecchi (6 min, 2004)

Wednesday, November 16 City of Florence Competition
dir. Luciano Melchionna

Six disaffected young people living in a provincial town kidnap an older man in order to vent their existential frustrations in this disturbing dramatic thriller. Though there are no easy explanations for the characters’ immoral behavior, the film examines the difficult living situations and emotional quandaries of each person, ranging from repressed homosexuality to job dissatisfaction to inadequate parenting. Director and cowriter Melchionna deftly and sometimes shockingly depicts the violent urges of today’s youth in a society that would prefer to ignore that such urges exist. (96 min, 2005) Preceded by Autoportrait (Autoritratto), dir. Francesco Amato (8 min, 2004)
9:30 Facts of Banda Magliana Fatti della Banda della Magliana NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
dir. Daniele Costantini

Adapted from an acclaimed Italian play dramatizing real events from the mid-1970s, this drama focuses on the cementing and splintering of a group of eight friends who become criminals. In a daring conceit, the scenario often features the members of the Magliana octet speaking directly to the viewer. These scenes are interspersed with brief reenactments of important moments in the group’s history as they collectively move from petty crimes to kidnapping, drugs and arms dealing. As the story follows their rise and fall, the script scintillates with profane, vivid dialogue. (85 min, 2004) Preceded by Radio Panic (Radiopanico), dir. Gigi Piola (14 min, 2005)

Thursday, November 17 City of Florence Competition

6:45 You Must Be the Wolf Tu devi essere il lupo NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

dir. Vittorio Moroni

This engaging, concise drama, set in a scenic small town outside Milan, explores the complexities and difficulties of the close bond between a single man and his daughter. As the teenaged Valentina (Valentina Merizzi) and her father Carlo (Ignazio Oliva) work through a variety of dilemmas partially caused by their overly hermetic relationship, they struggle with the known comforts of their home environment versus the temptations of new discoveries. Throughout, Moroni examines the difficulties of both adolescence and middle age with thoughtfulness and depth. (95 min, 2004) Preceded by Làlibi, dir. Marco Cucurnia (12 min, 2004) Copresented with the American Conservatory Theater—ACT.

9:30 GAS see 11.16

Friday, November 18 City of Florence Competition
dir. Francesco Munzi
Filmed on the northeastern coast of Italy bordering Albania, a region of recent significance due to increased illegal immigration activities, this coming-of-age story delineates the problems that the titular Albanian-Italian teen faces in his adopted country. Saimir (Mishel Manoku) works with his dad smuggling people over the border while contending with his slightly disreputable cohort of friends and the girl he likes. With neorealist simplicity, Munzi closes his tale in a tragic yet hopeful resolution that signals Saimir’s evolution from boy to man. (88 min, 2004) Preceded by Post It, dir. Michele Rho (17 min, 2004) Copresented with the World Affairs Council.
9:30 The Silence of the Skylark Il silenzio dell’allodola NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
dir. David Ballerini

Full of righteous anger, this artfully shot drama universalizes the predicament of political prisoners while basing its general story on the imprisonment of IRA martyr Bobby Sands. Ivan Franek gives a tour de force performance as a man fighting for his rights and dignity in an environment of extreme brutality and torture. By eschewing specific focus on the IRA itself, writer/director Ballerini reminds us that injustice can happen anywhere and pays tribute to those who retain their humanity in the midst of it. (96 min, 2005) Preceded by Leo & Sandra, dir. Alessandro Celli (7 min, 2004) Copresented with the United Nations Association Film Festival.

Saturday, November 19 City of Florence Competition
1:30 The Silence of the Skylark see 11.18

4:00 YOU MUST BE THE WOLF see 11.17

6:45 UNNATURAL see 11.15

9:30 I TRULY RESPECT YOU see 11.15

Sunday, November 20 City of Florence Competition

1:30 Facts of Banda Magliana see 11.16

4:00 SAIMIR see 11.18
6:45 The Remains of Nothing Il resto di niente Closing Night
dir. Antonietta de Lillo

Pulp Fiction star Maria de Medeiros gives a heartrendingly understated performance in this dense portrait of Naples on the verge of revolution. The time is 1799, the city is under the rule of the French and various politically minded citizens are discussing the overthrow of their leaders. Medeiros plays Portuguese-born journalist and poet Eleonora Fonseca whose class consciousness is informed by her ill treatment at the hands of the Italian nobility, leading her to spearhead the dialogue for rebellion. Her rich story is told with grace and intelligence, incorporating flashbacks and playful animation to illustrate a little-known period of Italian history. (103 min, 2004)

9:00 Award Ceremony

9:30 Closing Party


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