EDITORIAL In celebration of MbM’s twelfth issue and coinciding with London’s 5 day film festival Cinema – Made in Italy, we salute Italian Cinema, a country which has contributed some of the best films ever made and enriched us all with its talented filmmakers and stars. Just look at these names: Michelangelo Antonioni, Roberto Benigni, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Corbucci, Claudia Cardinale, Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Davide Ferrario, Sergio Leone, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani, Nanni Moretti, Giulietta Masina, Marcello Mastroianni, Ennio Morricone, Maurizio Nichetti, Ermanno Olmi, Pier Pasolini, Giorgio Pasotti, Franco Piavoli, Gillo Pontecorvo, Roberto Rossellini, Ettore Scola, Toni Servillo, Paolo Sorrentino, Vittorio & Paolo Taviani, Giuseppe Tornatore, Toto, Fabio Troiano, Massimo Troisi, Luchino Visconti, Monica Vitti, Marina Vlady, Cesare Zavattini. Cinema – Made in Italy highlighted eleven new films which were previewed in a five day film festival which was screened at the Cine Lumiere, South Kensington, London; three of these films are reviewed in this issue. Our joyous cover shows the charismatic Toni Servillo in a scene from Viva La Liberta, which is our main review. The first of two interviews which were held at the Domenica House Hotel in Chelsea, is with Viva La Liberto’s director Roberto Ando. The second interview is with Giovanni Veronese director of The Fifth Wheel, which is fully reviewed. There are Close-ups on Toni Servillo and Elio Germano and of course homage to Federico Fellini on the anniversary of his death. The documentary/drama How Strange to be Named Federico! is discussed in detail. A list of MbM’s Top 25 Italian Films and the regular features of Filmfest Follower which looks at the forthcoming Tribeca Film Festival, and Extras spotlighting a DVD of the Month, plus lavish illustrations throughout the magazine. It is with sincere thanks and appreciation to Clare Leach of Premier Comms, Image.net, Roberto Ando and Giovanni Veronese, and as always to MbM’s magazine designer Paul Ridler for his patience and dexterity. Finally to you the readers who have taken the time to comment and share my passion for movies.
Enjoy the read.
VIVA LA LIBERTA *Spoiler Alert
Andrea peeped through the door to see his leader dancing, but uncertain as to which twin had returned. The political campaign by the main opposition party is in crisis. Enrico Olivieri (Toni Servillo) is failing miserably in trying to win voters in the forthcoming elections and the opinion polls unanimously show he is losing. Enrico’s lacklustre speeches are filled with yawning gaps and nervous hesitancy, causing anxious concern from his colleagues and supporters. Then suddenly without warning Enrico disappears leaving a note suggesting that he is unwell and will be back when he is better. Andrea and his wife Anna try to discover the real reason behind Enrico’s excuse for vanishing from the public gaze. Desperate to find a solution to the problem, Anna suggests that they contact Enrico’s twin brother Giovanni Emani (Toni Servillo) an ingenious philosopher who suffers from bipolar depression and has been institutionalised. A meeting is arranged with him and Andrea fascinated and inspired and is willing to on the idea that they could sell Giovanni replacement for his own brother as leader opposition.
is gamble as a of the
Giovanni accepts the challenge with enthusiasm. So it is that one day Giovanni shows up in the guise of his brother to lead the party. His first speech is overwhelmingly successful, poetic and verbally embracing. He effortlessly quotes Brecht to inspire and lead. His supporters look on in 4
amazement thinking that the rest he has had has totally rejuvenated him into a ‘new’ man. The opinion polls reflect the party’s surge in popularity. Giovanni’s speeches are being quoted and he is winning new admirers every day. His success is unprecedented in the party’s history. But his brother is watching and waiting...to return. When will he return? And when he does...will his supporters know the difference? This is a brilliantly made film based on Roberto Ando’s own novel; the premise that a madman can lead a political party and win voters because of the power of speech. It hearkens back to history when there were great orators who could captivate an audience by words. Giovanni’s adroitness is matched by a personality that is both charismatic and charming – you cannot help but love this man. In contrast with his brother who lacks confidence and bravado and really has nothing to say, Giovanni is lovingly loquacious and instantly quotable which is what a great politician should be. Today it is a universal problem facing politicians: that they are poor speakers and generally sound alike. The great politicians like Churchill were awe inspiring speakers and shame the politicians today into silence. To cast the part of the contrasting twins Ando chose one of Italy’s greatest actors Toni Servillo. His mesmerising performance is worthy of an Academy Award. Most of the time the camera holds him in close-up and you can see how he can convey a thought by just the slightest change in expression. Critically acclaimed for his performance in last year’s The Great Beauty which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Viva La Liberta is certain to receive an armful of accolades come the next awards’ season. At the time of writing, no UK release date has been announced. 5
Q & A ROBERTO ANDO DIRECTOR OF VIVA LA LIBERTO BM: It seems the Italian film industry is having a renaissance? The Great Beauty has won Best Foreign film Oscar, so it seems to be very healthy and from what I understand of Italy, it is a country filled with film lovers, because it has more cinemas than any other country in Europe. So what are your feelings about the industry do you think it is healthy or that it is still unstable? RA: I don’t think you can say that the Italian film industry is healthy. The general feeling is that culture has been badly treated especially by politics and politicians, so film has become a sort of target for them. It has been said that Italy has a desire to ruin the beauty and that is true. I think what is important is that Italian cinema has been able to resist and renew itself. I think there is this sort of dialogue between different generations. I don’t know if we can talk about renaissance as you said, but we can say that we are returning to some sort of ambition in Italian Cinema. I think that in general we can acknowledge this new act of new gaze that connects different films like Sorrentino’s who wants to provide a normality of reality. Italian Cinema has been able to so far express a clear voice, a clear concept because it did not have clear in mind, but I think this new attitude can help us. 8
BM: Viva la Liberta is based on your own novel. How did you manage to adapt your own book to the screen, which is a totally different medium? Did you find that difficult to do and was there anything you regretted that you had to leave out from the book that you couldn’t have in the film? RA: Well of course it is you decide to adapt your of many examples but the who adapted his own book out as Accatone. So in a act.
a risk, a hazard when own novel. I can think main one is Pasolini Exposure of Life came way it is an acrobatic
It happened just by chance. At first I really wanted to make a novel. I needed an internal monologue to express and get inside the mind of a politician and express what this politician thinks. Then arrived the screenplay and about this adaptation is that we had the main point was that we had two people who looked exactly the same. You can express it in a more subtle advanced way in literature but in cinema it is different because it shows. So we had these two people who looked exactly the same but a different way of looking at life and work. I did it also because I found enthusiasm in Toni Sevillo as an actor who I immediately thought was the only one who could play this role. I also in making a film would give me the chance of betraying myself in the sense that in the movie I can go beyond myself and my novel and think about the balancing of film, which entails the meaning of the film. In the novel everything is a bit clearer, while in the film you don’t really know who you have in front of you. Making this film for me was a chance of discovery to elaborate better on the material and maybe the final idea is that every man of power holds inside of him a stranger, someone he doesn’t know and decide whether he wants to meet this person or not. So in my film at the end there is ambiguity, you don’t know who you have in front of you. You are confronted between false and truth. It 9
is the same with politics. There is this equilibrium between enthusiasm and disillusionment. Politics nowadays is just fiction. BM: What I love about the film is the message that came across to me was that sanity doesnâ€™t rule at all and is dull but when madness takes over it seems to totally make sense because although he is totally mad, he is so joyful and likeable. Was that your intention? RA: The point of this madman is that he has a language whereas politicians today have no language. If you watch politicians on TV and you turn the sound off you can understand what they are saying. This madman brings a new energy. It is like the wind that when it gets into a room that has been closed for long. It is a new language different to politics nowadays and it can have empathy with people because it brings back the power of words. He recites poetry lines and Brecht in his speeches. So it brings the word back to politics. The power of the word has been in politics since the ancient Greeks. So in a way he tried to get back to the origins of politics, which has been betrayed and invaluably lost. I am not very optimistic about the future in politics. The madman gives people something that makes them enthusiasts. And these enthusiasts have been lost. And Toni Servillo has been great in his role because he acts this madman and gives him possibility. He is not someone who is totally out of reality; he is out of existence but with the possibility of existence. The most beautiful thing that happened around the movie is that at some point on a wall in Rome out in the city I found this writing saying: Vote for Toni Servillo â€“ Long Live Freedom and this is the best review I could have had. 10
CLOSE UP TONI SERVILLO From a background in theatre and founder of Teatro Studio in Caserta, where he has directed many successful plays, Toni Servillo is finally being recognised as the great actor he is by the world acknowledging him at the Academy Awards when THE GREAT BEAUTY won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. It was his fourth film under the direction of Paolo Sorrentino and he played the role of Jep Gambardella, a man re-evaluating his past and discovering a landscape of absurd, yet exquisite beauty. His first feature was in 1992 in the drama DEATH OF A NEOPOLITAN MATHEMATICIAN, directed by Sorrentino. It was nine years later that he collaborated with the director again, starring as Antonio Pisapia, a Pop singer whose career is suddenly ended by a sex scandal, in ONE MAN UP. THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE, Sorrentino again, Servillo was an introverted character whose life is suddenly changed when he falls in love with a barmaid. The film was critically acclaimed. He starred as Sanzio a detective looking forward to retirement but called to investigate the murder of a young girl whose body is discovered in THE GIRL BY THE LAKE. Sanzioâ€™s questioning of people who knew her is hampered by their reluctance to talk or help him. Back with Sorrentino again and playing Italyâ€™s Prime Minister Gulio Andreotti in IL DIVO, saw the amazing transformation that Servillo brought to the performance in a chameleon-like characterisation of a real person. The film won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Yet another metamorphosis was the role of a man nicknamed GORBACIOF because of a similar birthmark on his forehead. He played a cashier at a prison in Naples. The film was unique in that it had practically no dialogue. A QUIET LIFE told the story of a murderer who disappears because he is scared that so many people want to kill him. 2010 and he was starring opposite Jean DuJardin A VIEW OF LOVE. In his impressive filmography only one film was a total disaster where he was totally miscast and that was in IT WAS THE SUN. But in the same year he starred in DORMANT BEAUTY, as Uliano Beffardi in a film of intertwined stories. 11
THE FIFTH WHEEL Ernesto started to laugh as he lay amongst the town’s rubbish, even the flies no longer bothered him. You are the fifth wheel, his father had told him. The only way for a fifth wheel to get ahead in life is to move around constantly and Ernesto Marchetti (Elio Germani) had done just that – he was a mover. Ernesto accepted his fate that he would never be anything else but an unskilled labourer. He travelled around Italy in his beloved truck with his friend Giacinto (Ricky Memphis) loading and unloading furniture...until Gia left for a better job. He would show up again of course offering Ernesto another deal that would bring him riches. They still remained friends no matter what, but Ernesto never liked the way Gia lived a life full of corruption, cheating and lying. Ernesto struggled to survive, but he was honest, sensitive, loyal and happy. Anna (Alessandra Mastronardi) was his happiness. He pestered her to go out with him and be his girlfriend until she finally agreed. Now they were happily married and had a son. Il Maestro (Alexandro Haber) was a successful artist who painted huge canvases. To Ernesto he was more than just a friend he was like a surrogate father. Ernesto delivered Il Maestro’s canvases to wealthy buyers and the artist wanted Ernesto to work for him. The main problem which faced Ernesto was that he was too accommodating to his friend Giacento and went and did things to please him rather than himself. Giacento persuaded him to take a job as a school cook even though he had no qualifications but Giacento told him not to worry it would be all taken care of, in other words it had been arranged for him to pass the test in cooking even though he didn’t even have to cook anything. There was the introduction to a very shady character named Fabrizio Del Monte (Sergio Rubini) who promised everything but delivered little. Beautiful young women 13
fell for his charm and the chance that he would make them a star in his films. Like Giacento he was a wheeler-dealer and a criminal who forged papers and business contracts for his own ends. And Ernesto finds himself being his chauffeur, and when he tells him that he knows Il Maestro, Del Monte tells him that he will buy a painting but offer half of what it is worth. There was Donna...who seemed to control everything from her opulent mansion. She had the confidence of a rich person and in a way was a little scary to Ernesto though he was always polite to her. Giacento was only scared of the wild cat she kept as a pet. So, yes for Ernesto it was an ordinary life but one that often allowed him to be with extraordinary people. The Fifth Wheel paints a broad canvas with a colourful set of players led by Elio Germani as Ernesto, certainly one of Italy’s most talented actors. He has an enormous repertoire of skills unlike the character he plays in this film. Alessandra Mastronardi, who was in Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, is a very gifted actress whose future projects will be watched very carefully as she is destined for greatness both in her native country and internationally. Ricky Memphis impresses as Ernesto’s friend and though we know that he is out for his own ends and rich rewards, he is somehow still a lovable rogue. Veteran actor Alexandro Haber who plays the gifted painter Il Maestro is quietly magnificent yet as a colourful as his palette and his presence cannot be ignored. His studio is messy, untidy, chaotic, but out of that chaos comes his creativity and his reason to live. Sergio Rubini as Fabrizio Del Monte is really the villain of the piece, stifling under his own arrogance. He is like a sordid sheet that no matter how much one tried you could never remove the stains. There is nothing redeemable about his character. So really Ernesto Marchetti has few players on his side that he loves dearly: Anna, his son, and Il Maestro. On the opposing side there is Fabrizio, Donna Giulia (Francesca d’ Aloja) Cocco (Luis Molteni). But there is a wonderful and telling scene when near the end of the film, Ernesto who has received very bad news shouts to everyone who is looking sad, to form a team and asks who will be on his side and it is lovely to see who joins him. L’Ultima Riota Del Carro is a wonderfully warm-hearted film that is not to be missed. 14
Q & A GIOVANNI VERONESI BM: Why did you want to make this film? GV: I had the opportunity to tell in simple ways about a character that despite all the corruption passed through all this corruption and remained honest in a way and he managed to pass through this social and ethical hell in the past and hide behind it to tell the story. BM: And this purity and honesty really comes across, He is very honest and sometimes naive because he is taken advantage of...How you can you relate to that in your own life? GV: Because Iâ€™m corrupted. Because inside this mechanism of the film industry because to make a film through a business market. I am aware of this I am not naive. I have a very different relationship with the era and have been aware that I have been corrupted by the era. I think before Italy was a Republic under labour whereas today it is a monarchy based on taxes... BM: How did you go about casting the role of the lead character Ernesto? You have a brilliant actor, Elio Germani, playing the part? Was he your first choice? GV: Yes, he was my first choice. I think that without him I wouldnâ€™t do this film. Germani is the greatest actor we have in Italy nowadays since Marcello Mastroianni. It is not something that I say but something that is recognized all 17
over Europe. I always want to make films with people like that because in this way because then I become happy. BM: There is an amazing pivotal scene near the end of the movie when Ernesto loses his temper with his wife when she tells him that she has thrown away their winning lottery ticket. How did you shoot that? Was it done in one take or was it improvised? GV: To be honest I had many takes of that scene because it is scripted and there is no room for improvisation. I invented that scene as a more or less long take. To be honest there are two close-ups but I think of it as a long take because what I wanted to do was put the two characters in relationship and particularly focusing on her and to show how she was amazed that he was so angry about a lost ticket. BM: The question of football is very important to the story and to Italy itself as a part of life. I love the way the film is â€˜bookendedâ€™ â€“ it starts with Ernesto on the refuse dump holding a deflated football and reflecting on his childhood playing football, and returns to that scene again at the end. But what was the purpose of showing the boy never, despite shouting to his fellow players, never got the ball passed to him? GV: Well, there can be many readings to that scene, but perhaps the most profound which is possibly just my reading is that you pass through many events in your life and the way you are behaving but that is your character and you stick to that and the friend was opposite to that, contrary to him. On one hand one was generous and positive and the other was selfish and negative, just thinking about himself and not the other person. You always have your same character and maybe we should be more attentive to how people grow up and I wonder how Berlusconi was as a child and maybe we should become more attentive to how Berlusconi grew up. 18
TOP ITALIAN FILMS In no particular order
CINEMA PARADISO LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL LA DOLCE VITA LA STRADA AL PRIMO SOFFIO DI VENTO EX VOLERE VOLARE AFTER MIDNIGHT 8½ IL GRANDE SILENZIO THE GREAT BEAUTY L’AVVENTURA THE CONFORMIST SPLENDOR ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA BICYCLE THIEVES ROME, OPEN CITY ACCATONE SALVO JOHNNY STECCHINO THE VOICE OF THE MOON VIVA LA LIBERTA STEFANO QUANTESTORIE LA NOTTE 19
CLOSE UP ELIO GERMANO Roman born Elio Germano has been in over 30 feature films and has gained the reputation of being one of Italy’s most popular actors. He was named as one of European films’ shooting stars by the European Film Promotion Board. In 2010 he tied for Best Actor Award at Cannes with Javier Bardem for his performance in La Nostra Vita. His first feature film was the comedy CI HAI ROTTA PAPA. His biggest opportunity came when he appeared in UNFAIR COMPETITION directed by the great Ettore Scola. It was about a group of Jewish people during Italian fascism and the enforcement of racial laws in 1938. In the drama RESPIRO, he played Pier Luigi in a story about a free spirited woman accused of madness by townspeople fed up with her antics. In SANGUE: LA MORTE NON ESISTE, he played a character named Yuri in the gripping drama that has since become an Italian cult movie. But it was in Danielle Luchetti’s MY BROTHER IS AN ONLY CHILD which cemented his feet in the word ‘arrival’. He played Accio Banassi one of two brothers who come of age in a small Italian town. A totally different role offered itself to him in TUTTA LA VITA DAVANTI, a fast paced world of an international call centre and its employees. His second milestone was LA NOSTRA VITA, directed again by Luchetti. Elio played a construction worker who finds the remains of an illegal immigrant and doesn’t report it, fearing that he will be out of a job if he does. It was a scary ghost story that gave him another excellent part as Pietro in A MAGNIFICENT HAUNTING. He dreams of becoming a famous actor and tries everything to fulfil his ambition, but when he rents a house he soon realises that he is sharing it with ghosts and his life begins to change. Elio’s role as Ernesto in THE FIFTH WHEEL is his crowning achievement because it embraces the gamut of emotions which he delivers effortlessly. A keen eye will also have spotted him in the musical remake of Fellini’s 8½ NINE as the character Pierpaolo. His has just finished filming IL GIOVANO FAVOLOSO, which is now in post production. Will he be lured by Hollywood? Perhaps, but if he does I am sure that like many European stars he will not totally desert his homeland. 20
HOW STRANGE TO BE NAMED FEDERICO! This absorbing drama/ documentary about the legendary film director Federico Fellini is a homage directed by his friend Emilio Scola who came out of retirement to make the film. Fellini and Scola met in Rome when they were aspiring journalists writing and drawing cartoons and caricatures for the newspaper Marcus Aurelius. Later they were creating stories and eventually screenplays for they both shared a love for cinema. The documentary captures their passion for life but most of all Felliniâ€™s childlike exuberance which he never lost. We see him riding on a carousel having fun; a circus child living out a fantasy â€“ always under the big top, celebrating...celebrating... The younger Scola and Fellini are superbly played by Giocomo Lazotti and Tommaso Lazotti and the elders by Gulia Forges Davanzati and Maurizio De Santis. It is excellent casting as they really embody the roles with heart and soul. A film guaranteed to appeal to aficionados as well as students of film and those discovering Fellini for the first time. Fellini enjoyed vaudeville and it was there that he met and became friends with the comedian Aldo Fabrizi who in turn introduced him to Roberto Rosselini who cast him in Open City which led to Fellini writing the screenplay for Paisan It was during post production on this film that he wandered into the editing room, an inspiring moment that determined his career as a filmmaker. His characters and ideas came from roaming the streets at night in a car with Scola and picking up people that interested them. An elbow nudging scene is when they stop and watch a pavement artist at work and then invite him to join them, for Fellini 22
it was not just as a passenger but to travel in his mind with all the other people that would later form players that he would drop off into one of his films. He recorded his dreams in notebooks and they formed the raw material of his films. Giulietta Masina, star of La Strada and Nights of Cabiria, he met when she was an acting student and appeared in one of his early radio shows. They were married for over fifty years until his death. No documentary would do justice to the man without highlighting the importance of the great actor Marcello Mastroianni who featured in both Fellini and Scola’s films. It was Fellini who first starred Mastroianni in the classic La Dolce Vita. It was to be the defining film for both the director and actor. It encapsulated Fellini’s *philosophy to living and enjoying ‘the sweet life’. Three years later in 1963 he had Mastroianni as a filmmaker in one of the most influential films to come out of Italy – 8½. City of Women and Ginger & Fred, which had Marcello imitating Fred Astaire and Giulietta Masina as Ginger Rogers reprising their old act for television, was a delightfully tender and romantic movie, unlike anything that Fellini had ever done. Scola directed Mastroianni in nine films from 1970 to 1989; A Special Day and Splendor, MbM’s particular favourites. So much material at hand for Scola to make his homage to his friend and impossible to include it all, but for the cinephiles that this film was made for, they will be able to fill in the gaps of any clips of Fellini’s films that did not make the final cut and they will not be disappointed. How Strange to be Named Federico! was not surprisingly one of the hottest tickets at this year’s Cinema – Made in Italy film festival. *”Put yourself into life and never lose your openness, your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that is life, and things will come your way”.
Federico Fellini 23
CLOSE UP FEDERICO FELLINI Il Maestro, as Fellini was fittingly called, became the inspiration for so many filmmakers during the sixties when he made a film that set the fashion styles and the behavioural patterns of millions of people by popularising the street cafes that are now commonplace in Europe and around the world as well adding a new word to our vocabulary: paparazzi, meaning the photographers edging each other out of the way to get the best shots of a celebrity, and named after the lead character played by Marcello Mastroianni, a roving sleazy reporter. The film LA DOLCE VITA reverberated its apt meaning of the times that citizens were or hoped to be living: “the sweet life”. Fellini was my first introduction to Italian cinema when I saw I VITELLONI (The Layabouts) in 1954. It is about a group of young men lazing around in a small seaside town and chasing women, while living off family members. Only one of them ever questions the life they lead, but they find no inspiration from their elders whom they find unimaginative, dull and stagnantly stuck in tradition. It was Fellini’s first serious film and summed up his attitude to storytelling: Our duty as story-tellers is to bring people to the station. There each person will choose his or her own train...But we must at least take them to the station...to the point of departure. Like Woody Allen, who admired Fellini, his attitude was that the end of a film was a kind of death, a departure until he was ready to make another...and live again. Film was his true happiness. LA STRADA is Fellini’s most spiritual film with its three main characters symbolically representing mind, body, soul. The Fool (Richard Basehart), is Mind, Zampano (Anthony Quinn) the strong man, is Body and the innocent sad waif, Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina) is Soul. The setting is the circus, Fellini’s beloved playground. The film is realistic and its settings emphasizing the mood of the moment. The audience’s empathy is from the outset with Zampano’s naive assistant, played superbly by Giulietta Masina. When he leaves her behind the scenes of nature change and become ugly and wasted as though it is making a statement about his callous action of the one he has deserted. For a moment we can imagine hearing the mournful notes of her trumpet. 26
Masina magnificently plays her character as a comedienne’s version of Chaplin, Stan Laurel, and Harry Langdon, all wrapped into one. JULIET OF THE SPIRITS was Fellini’s first coloured film and he was like a child with a pot of paints that could not wait to paint the canvas with them. He plays with the colours as if in a dream, vivid reds and greens contrasting with white. For Giulietta he created her greatest role as a woman in an unstable marriage who strays into a world of mediums, whores and people of affluence, while always seeking fulfilment and contentment. She looks at life with a childlike wonder like discovering a fallen leaf and the insects that crawl out beneath it. No other actress has ever been able to convey so many moods in one expression by just staring at us, wide-eyed, innocent, apologetic, bewildered, bemused, comical, lonely, lost, abandoned, dependent, and fragile: a face waiting to be stroked by a painter’s brush. Interspersed with these films was IL BIDONE starring American actor Broderick Crawford as an aging conman who swindles peasants and only begins to have a conscience when he meets his daughter but then it is a little too late. Basehart and Masina again starred. But the next memorable milestone was THE NIGHTS OF CABIRIA, on which the American musical SWEET CHARITY was based. In this Masina played a prostitute searching for a rich man to take her away from her life on the streets. It is a beautifully stylised film and won Masina an Academy Award for Best Actress. Fellini continued to direct some interesting films such as AMARCORD and INTERVISTA but no one could have predicted that his last film THE VOICE OF THE MOON would be the most underrated and in retrospect one of his very best. Its star, Roberto Benigni, prior to hisfunny roles in Johnny Stecchino, plays Ivo Salvini on a spiritual journey through his dreams and memories, which were of course Fellini’s, reciting the romantic poems of Leopardi. The film is a hypnotic, trance-like masterpiece that will gain more and more devotees in time. As for the maestro, he has left us with a luminous legacy of films rich in the fun and excitement of a circus which he loved and appeared in many of his films. La Strada (1956), The Nights of Cabiria (1957), 8½ (1963) Amarcord (1974) won Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film. I don’t consider myself exceptional, but simply a story -teller, each of my stories is really a period of my life. 27
FILMFEST FOLLOWER MbM RECOMMENDS April 16th to 27th
Tribeca Film Festival 5 to 7
Directed by Victor Levin Starring: Anton Yelchin. Bérénice Marlohe. A cosmopolitan comedy of manners when an aspiring novelist meets the sophisticated wife of a French diplomat.
(Formerly Can a Song Save your Life?) Directed by John Carney Starring: Mark Ruffalo. Keira Knightley. A chance meeting brings two lost souls together resulting in them making beautiful music.
BRIGHT DAYS AHEAD
Directed by Marion Verneaux. Starring: Fanny Ardant Laurent Lafitte. A newly retired woman in her sixties finds herself falling in love with a much younger man.
Directed by Jon Favreau. Starring: Sofia Vergara. Robert Downey Jnr. Scarlett Johansson. Dustin Hoffman. After a social media-fueled meltdown, chef Carl Casper hits the road with his son and his sous chef to launch a food truck business.
Directed Tristan Patterson. Starring: Jim Sturgess. Chloe Sevigny. The real-life story of Eddie Dodson, the notorious “Gentleman Bank Robber”.
GOODBYE TO ALL THAT
Directed by Angus MacLachlan Starring: Paul Schneider. Melanie Lynskey. When his wife suddenly asks for a divorce, Otto re-enters the dating pool.
Documentary Harry Dean Stanton narrates a tale that looks into the lives of the cowboys of Montana’s Fishtail Basin Ranch as they survive another calving season. 29
Directed by Lou Howe Starring: Rory Culkin. Convinced that reuniting with his old girl friend will bring his dreams to fruition, Gabriel risks it all in a desperate and incredibly obsessive pursuit.
Directed by Paulo Virsi Starring: Valeria Golino. Valeria Bruni Tedeshi. A three chapter tale: a snowy night viewed from three vastly different perspectives.
IN YOUR EYES
Directed by Brin Hill Starring: Zoe Kazan. Michael Stahl-David. Two polar opposites realize they are strangely connected and a unique metaphysical romance begins. The film is aptly described by Kazan as “Joss Whedon meets Nicholas Sparks.”
LOITERING WITH INTENT
Directed by Adam Rapp Starring: Michael Godere. Ivan Martin. Marisa Tomei. Sam Rockwell. Two aspiring writers need to come up with a script when they meet a film producer.
Directed by Megan Griffiths. Starring: Toni Collette. Thomas Haden Church. A veteran journalist has one last chance to prove her value to her editor: a search to discover what really happened to long lost rock god and her ex-boyfriend, Matt Smith.
Directed by Gia Coppola Starring: Emma Roberts. James Franco. A level-headed, intelligent and spirited young woman finds herself attracted to an introspective artist, whose buddy’s destructive nihilism brings him down.
Directed by Paul Haggis Starring: James Franco. Milas Kunis. Liam Neeson. Olivia Wilde. Aaron Brody. Maria Bello. Three stories set in cities known for romance: New York, Rome and Paris, take raw and personal twists as characters grapple with the difficulties of modern relationships. 30
EXTRAS DVD OF THE MONTH
AMERICAN HUSTLE Directed by David O Russell Starring: Christian Bale. Amy Adams. Jennifer Lawrence. Bradley Cooper.
FILM *** The film totally captures the mood of the seventies. Russell is known for testing his actors and offering challenging parts, but with a cast like this they easily meet the challenge and more. We see Bale balding and bloated, Adams calling the shots, Lawrence belting out a song like she was a natural, and Cooper comical and a little crazy. It is a fun-filled film about confidence tricksters that turns a good trick and entertains all the way. And there is a running joke about hairstyles from start to finish.
Movies by Mills is an independent production for the promotion of Art House Movies around the world.
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