11 June, 2008

Open Roads To Italian Cinema In New York

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

Tuesday, June 10-----The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York welcomes some of Italy ’s finest directorial talents to New York for the eighth annual Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, at the Walter Reade Theater, June 6–12. The series highlights 13 new features, a special retrospective screening of Franco Piavoli’s Blue Planet, and a selection of popular short films. Directors Gianni Zanasi, Ferzan Ozpetek, Andrea Porporati, Salvatore Maira, Wilma Labate, and actors Jasmine Trinca and Valerio Mastandrea are among the filmmakers expected to attend screenings during series.

The 2008 edition of Open Roads opened on Friday, June 6, with Silvio Soldini’s Days and Clouds, a brilliantly rendered domestic drama by the NYU-educated director of Bread and Tulips (Open Roads 2001). Starring Margherita Buy, the film follows a woman as she struggles to keep her family afloat after her husband (Antonio Albanese) is edged out of the company he co-founded. Buy won this year’s David di Donatello Award for Best Actress for her performance.

Also featured in the program are Riccardo Milani’s Piano Solo, a biographical exploration of the troubled personal life of legendary Italian jazz musician Luca Flores; Andrea Molaioli’s The Girl by the Lake, starring Toni Servillo, winner of the Pasinetti Award for Best Actor at the 2007 Venice Film Festival; and Andrea Porporati’s The Sweet and the Bitter, the story of a young man’s seduction by the Mafia, starring Luigi Lo Cascio (The Best of Youth).

Also featured in this year’s unique mix of cinematic road trips is In the Factory, a documentary celebration of the vibrant and influential world of the Italian factory, a vital heart of postwar Italy; Night Bus, debut filmmaker Davide Marengo espionage film noir with a young woman enlisting the help of a bus driver (Valerio Mastandrea) to evade the vicious gangsters trying to track her down.; and Don´t Think About It, also starring Mastandrea as an aging punk rock guitarist.

Open Roads hosted the New York premiere of filmmaker Franco Piavoli’s Blue Planet for a 25th anniversary, one-night-only screening on Tuesday night. The 1982 film, by one of Italy ’s most important experimental filmmakers, is built on rhythms that present the harmony and the contrasts between human activity and the physical world surrounding it. Legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky subsequently labeled it a “poem, concert, journey into the universe, nature and life. Not a documentary…Truly a different vision.” Godfrey Reggio, director of Koyaanisqatsi and a great admirer of Piavoli introduced the screening of Blue Planet. Anthology Film Archives will host a retrospective of four of Piavoli’s feature films from June 12-15, and Blue Planet will have a weeklong theatrical run at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater beginning June 13.

The 2008 edition of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema has been organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center together with the Ministero per i Beni e le Attivitá Culturali (Direzione Generale per il Cinema), Filmitalia, Cinecittá Holding in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of New York and SNGC.

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