Sicilian Ghost Story
Sicilian Ghost Story

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Istituto Luce Cinecittà announced the complete lineup of contemporary Italian films for the 18th edition of Open Roads: New Italian CinemaMay 31 to June 6, 2018.

The Opening Night selection is Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s second feature, Sicilian Ghost Story, a transfixing blend of realism and mythology based on the true events of a missing young boy, which won the David di Donatello award for Best Adapted Screenplay. This year’s edition showcases 16 additional titles, including the premiere of Boys Cry, a gritty gangster genre debut by the D’Innocenzo brothers; Roberto De Paolis’s feature debut about youthful self-discovery, Pure Hearts; Sergio Castellitto’s emotionally raw Fortunata, featuring legendary Rainer Werner Fassbinder leading lady Hanna Schygulla and Jasmine Trinca, who won the Un Certain Regard Best Actress prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival; and three works by returning Open Roads filmmakers: Marco Tullio Giordana’s Nome di donna, Ferzan Ozpetek’s Naples in Veils, and Vincenzo Marra’s Equilibrium.

Open Roads will also present Rainbow: A Private Affair, the latest and final film by legendary filmmakers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (Vittorio sadly passed away this April at age 88), paired with a special screening of their classic Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner, The Night of the Shooting Stars; as well as the new digital restoration of iconoclast Marco Ferrari’s The Ape Woman, screening with Anselma Dell’Olio’s new documentary about the provocateur, Marco Ferreri: Dangerous but Necessary.

All screenings take place at the Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street) in New York City.

2018Open Roads: New Italian Cinema

Opening Night
Sicilian Ghost Story
Fabio Grassadonia & Antonio Piazza, Italy, 2017, 120m
Italian with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Winner of the David di Donatello award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s spellbinding follow-up to their acclaimed 2013 drama Salvo is by turns fantastic and ripped-from-the-headlines. One day after school, 12-year-old Luna (Julia Jedlikowska) follows her classmate crush Giuseppe (Gaetano Fernandez) into a possibly enchanted forest—and, just like that, he vanishes. Was he kidnapped by the Mafia, for whom his father used to work as an assassin before he turned informant? Grassadonia and Piazza’s film, based on true events, renders Luna’s quest for the truth as a transfixing blend of realism and mythology.

The Ape Woman / La donna scimmia
Marco Ferreri, Italy/France, 1964, 100m
Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
“One of Marco Ferreri’s earliest and most beloved films, The Ape Woman is inspired by the true story of 19th-century carnival performer Julia Pastrana. Annie Girardot gives a signature performance as “Marie the Ape Woman,” an ex-nun whose body is completely covered in black hair. She is discovered at a convent by sleazy entrepreneur Focaccia (Ugo Tognazzi), who marries her and swiftly gets her on the freak show circuit to cash in on her distinctive appearance. A freewheeling satire both hilarious and grotesque, The Ape Woman is distinguished by the irreverent wit and anarchic energy of Ferreri’s greatest work. New digital restoration!

Beautiful Things
Giorgio Ferrero & Federico Biasin, Italy/Switzerland/USA, 2017, 94m
North American Premiere
This wildly ambitious documentary follows four men who work in isolation at remote scientific and industrial sites around the world. Like monks, they carry out their daily tasks in silence and solitude, creating products soon to enter the capitalist cycle of production, consumption, and destruction. A ravishingly beautiful audiovisual experience, Giorgio Ferrero and Federico Biasin’s debut feature is a transfixing work about the origins of consumer society imbued with a musical sense of rhythm (Ferrero is also a composer and sound editor) and a wealth of aesthetic ideas about the way we live now.

Boys Cry / La terra dell’abbastanza
Damiano & Fabio D’Innocenzo, Italy, 2018, 96m
Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
The D’Innocenzo brothers reinvigorate the gangster genre with their gritty, surprising debut feature, set on the outskirts of Rome. Best friends and aspiring restaurateurs Manolo (Andrea Carpenzano) and Mirko (Matteo Olivetti) kill a pedestrian in a car accident, kicking off a series of events that enmesh them with the local crime syndicate and push their mutual allegiance to the breaking point. Smart, stylish, and muscular, this critical hit at the 2018 Berlinale announces the D’Innocenzos as formidable and film-savvy new voices in Italian cinema.

Crater / Il cratere
Silvia Luzi & Luca Bellino, Italy, 2017, 93m Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Documentarians Luzi and Bellino’s fiction debut stars Rosario and Sharon Caroccia (playing versions of themselves) as a carnival worker and his ostensibly unambitious daughter. He dreams she’ll hit it big as a pop singer, but when Sharon loses interest in pursuing this potentially lucrative profession, tensions build between the two. Luzi and Bellino summon their nonfiction filmmaking background to lend naturalism and spontaneity to this tale of helicopter-parenting that consciously recalls Luchino Visconti’s Bellissima. Crater is a moving parable about the gulf that exists between our desires and those of the people closest to us.

Diva!
Francesco Patierno, Italy, 2017, 75m
Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Valentina Cortese starred in films by such masters as Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, and François Truffaut (she was nominated for an Oscar for her turn as an over-the-hill, hard-drinking thespian in the latter’s Day for Night). In this inventive work of cinematic biography, eight actresses play Cortese at various stages of her career, amidst a kaleidoscopic wealth of film clips and archival footage. In a work that is by turns glamorous, celebratory, and soberly confessional, “Cortese” often addresses the viewer directly, yielding a direct and engaging portrait of an actress whose offscreen complexity often exceeded the roles she memorably incarnated.

Equilibrium / L’equilibrio
Vincenzo Marra, Italy, 2017, 90m
Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
The director of Vento di terra returns to Open Roads with this realist parable about faith and crime in Campania. After Roman priest Don Giuseppe (Mimmo Borrelli) begins developing an attraction to an employee of the refugee center where he works, he requests a transfer, settling just north of Naples. There, he finds himself in conflict with the Camorra when he tries to intervene in the local industrial-waste crisis, their nefarious tactics putting the priest’s spiritual resolve to the test. Working with a mix of professionals and non-actors, Marra renders a scrappy, moving drama about the antagonism between religious belief and the modern world.

Look Up / Guarda in alto
Fulvio Risuleo, Italy/France, 2017, 90m
Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
While taking a cigarette break on a rooftop in Rome, a young baker (Giacomo Ferrara) notices a curious fowl plummeting from the sky. He crosses from one rooftop to the next to get a closer look, and what he discovers is the beginning of a journey down an urban rabbit hole of incredible situations and bizarre characters (including one played by a delightfully off-kilter Lou Castel). Documentary filmmaker Fulvio Risuleo’s fiction debut is an odd bird indeed, an unpredictable and imaginative twist on the road movie that evokes Alice in Wonderland and recalls the early work of Michel Gondry.

Fortunata
Sergio Castellitto, Italy, 2017, 103m
Italian with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Jasmine Trinca plays the ironically named Fortunata, a young mother and hairdresser living in Rome whose ambitions are constantly thwarted by inept, needy friends and family baggage. Awaiting a divorce from her soon-to-be-ex-husband and dealing with the resultant issues her 8-year-old daughter has developed, Fortunata begins taking her daughter to a handsome child therapist (Stefano Accorsi), with whom she has immediate chemistry. Also featuring legendary German actress Hanna Schygulla, Fortunata is an emotionally raw melodrama anchored by Trinca’s powerhouse performance, which earned her the Best Actress prize in the Un Certain Regard section at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Marco Ferreri: Dangerous but Necessary / La lucida follia di Marco Ferreri
Anselma Dell’Olio, Italy, 2017, 77m
Italian and French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Marco Ferreri: Dangerous but Necessary is a complex, multilayered portrait that seeks to give an underappreciated iconoclast his due. Directed by journalist-critic (and former Ferreri collaborator) Anselma Dell’Olio, the film draws upon interviews with such performers as Isabelle Huppert, Roberto Benigni, Hanna Schygulla, and Ornella Muti, as well as cinematic luminaries like Philippe Sarde and Dante Ferretti, to make the case for Ferreri as a figure who belongs on the same historical wavelength as such artistic revolutionaries as Godard, Fassbinder, and Buñuel. This fast-paced documentary’s enthusiasm for its legendarily provocative subject is positively infectious.

Nome di donna
Marco Tullio Giordana, Italy, 2018, 90m
Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
A woman courageously tries to break the silence in a culture of complicity surrounding sexual harassment in this all-too-timely film from Open Roads veteran Marco Tullio Giordana. Nina (Cristiana Capotondi) is a single mother who takes a job at a home for the elderly in Lombardy, where the inappropriate verbal treatment of her new manager (Bebo Storti) turns into outright assault. Nina’s quest to seek justice brings her face to face with the cultural and institutional mechanisms that allowed for the harassment in the first place. Ultimately, Nina is one of the most multidimensional and inspiring protagonists in recent Italian cinema.

Naples in Veils / Napoli velata
Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy, 2017, 113m
Italian with English subtitles
New York Premiere
In this moody, baroque thriller from Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek, Giovanna Mezzogiorno stars as Adriana, a medical examiner who meets cute with younger man Andrea (Alessandro Borghi) during a party at her eccentric aunt’s garish apartment. They hit it off immediately, though their romance is curtailed when Andrea later stands her up. While inspecting a corpse at work, Adriana notices a distinctive tattoo that reminds her of Andrea’s—at least as she remembers it. So begins a gripping metaphysical murder mystery, in which Naples becomes a shadowy, mysterious labyrinth of desire and memory.

The Night of the Shooting Stars / La Notte di San Lorenzo
Paolo & Vittorio Taviani, Italy, 1982, 35mm, 105m
Italian with English subtitles
The Taviani brothers’ crowning achievement and winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, The Night of the Shooting Stars remains one of world cinema’s great war films. The story of a group of Italians in Tuscany fleeing the Nazis, who intend to bomb their small town before it can be liberated by the Americans, this is an enthralling chronicle of everyday people refusing to sit back and wait for history to redeem them, instead seeking their own salvation. This tonally eclectic, humanistic masterwork affectingly melds comedy, tragedy, and melodrama to convey the resilience of the Italian people during the war’s darkest hours.

The Place
Paolo Genovese, Italy, 2017, 105m
Italian with English subtitles
New York Premiere
An enigmatic, nameless man (Valerio Mastandrea) sits in the corner of a bar, receiving visitor after visitor. They tell him of their profoundest wishes and desires, and he assures them they can have exactly what they want . . . but there will be a price, and the extreme deeds they must perform will lead them to question who they are and to what lengths they will go. An elegant reworking of the American television series The Booth at the End, this gripping, minimalist moral thriller boasts an all-star cast that includes Alba Rohrwacher, Silvio Muccino, and Rocco Papaleo.

Pure Hearts / Cuori puri
Roberto De Paolis, Italy, 2017, 114m
Italian with English subtitles
New York Premiere
An impeccably acted drama about youthful self-discovery, De Paolis’s feature debut is a fresh take on the “opposites attract” tale, set on the outskirts of Rome. Seventeen-year-old Agnese (Barbora Bobulova) plans to take a vow of chastity to appease her intensely devout mother, but then she encounters 25-year-old parking lot attendant Stefano (Simone Liberati) while shoplifting a cell phone. Stefano represents for Agnese an alternative way of being in the world beyond the strictures of the church, from which she feels increasingly alienated. Partly improvised and deftly filmed by DP Claudio Cofrancesco, Pure Hearts marks an auspicious debut for De Paolis.

Rainbow: A Private Affair / Una questione privata
Paolo & Vittorio Taviani, Italy, 2017, 85m
Italian with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Few filmmakers have better embodied Italian cinema over the past 50 years than the Taviani brothers. Their latest and final film together (Vittorio died in April) is an elegant tale of young love caught in the whirlwind of war, loosely adapted from a book by Beppe Fenoglio. Set near Turin in 1944, Rainbow follows student Milton (Luca Marinelli) and his friend Giorgio (Lorenzo Richelmy), who both love the same woman (Valentina Belle). Their friendship is put to the ultimate test against a backdrop of violent struggle after the two men are swept up in the anti-fascist movement. A sensitive, atmospheric film about the connection between the personal and the global, this is an essential capstone to the Tavianis’ vital oeuvre.

Stories of Love That Cannot Belong to This World / Amori che non sanno stare al mondo
Francesca Comencini, Italy, 2017, 92m
Italian with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Francesca Comencini adapts her own novel for this intelligent, intensely felt romantic comedy. Academics Claudia (Lucia Mascino) and Flavio (Thomas Trabacchi) have been a couple for seven years, but their physically and intellectually passionate relationship seems to have reached an impasse, and neither of them understands why. As a result, Claudia begins a process of reflection and self-exploration to come to terms with Flavio’s love in light of her own insecurities and neuroses. This funny, charming movie reveals the inner work we must do in order to move on with our lives.

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