Cinema Italian Style 2019: Lina Wertmüller and Brand New Films

by Elisa Leonelli November 15, 2019
Pierfrancesco Favino-Il traditore by Marco Bellocchio

Pierfrancesco Favino in a scene from The Traitor (Il traditore) by Marco Bellocchio.

Lia Pasqualino

Cinema Italian Style is the annual showcase of new movies from Italy presented by the American Cinematheque and Luce Cinecittà. This year the festival is dedicated to Lina Wertmüller. The 91-year-old Italian filmmaker and trailblazer received an honorary Academy Award last month as the first woman to be nominated as Best Director in 1977 for her movie Seven Beauties (Pasqualino Settebellezze). The film was also nominated for the Best Foreign Film Golden Globe. At the Governors Awards on October 27, Jane Campion and Greta Gerwig, two other Oscar-nominated directors, presented Wertmüller with the Oscar statuette, Italian actresses Sophia Loren and Isabella Rossellini flanked her at the podium. A restoration of Seven Beauties was screened at the Aero on October 25.

Marco Bellocchio’s The Traitor (Il Traditore), the Italian entry for the  Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, will be co-presented by Cinema Italian Style and Sony Classics on November 16 at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.  The historical drama tells the true story of Tommaso Buscetta (Pier Francesco Favino) a mafia boss who became the most famous informer on the Sicilian mafia by revealing information to judge Giuseppe Falcone and testifying at a lengthily trial (1986-1992) that landed many feared mafia bosses in jail. Falcone paid for this daring with his life when he was assassinated by the Corleonesi Mafia.

Bellocchio, the acclaimed director of Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca 1965), China is Near (La Cina è vicina 1967), Victory March (Marcia trionfale 1976), A Leap in the Dark (Salto nel vuoto, 1980), Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte 2003), Dormant Beauty (Bella addormentata, 2012), said “This maxi trial was a milestone, a victory of the state over the mafia. Buscetta had to do this to save his family, but he showed courage, he was not afraid to die, just preferred to die in his bed, not murdered by his enemies. Falcone was an unassuming hero, he wanted to uphold respect for the law.”

Cinema Italian Style will showcase 9 more films at the Aero in Santa Monica from November 21 to 24.  In the program are the latest films by established directors. Gabriele Salvatores (Mediterraneo, Puerto Escondido, I’m Not Scared) will present Volare (Tutto il mio folle amore), the story of an estranged father who reconnects with his autistic teenage son. Francesca Archibugi (Mignon Has Come to Stay, Towards Evening, The Great Pumpkin, Flying Lessons, Like Crazy) is featured with Vivere, the story of a modern Roman family.

Daniele Luchetti, who had directed (The Yes Man, My Brother is an Only Child, Those Happy Years) returns with Ordinary Happiness (Momenti di trascurabile felicità) which chronicles the last 90 minutes of a man’s life.

Scenes from "Vivere" and "Martin Eden", 2019

Scenes from Vivere, dir. Francesca Archibigi, and Martin Eden, dir. Luca Marinelli.

Pietro Marcello/Andrea Miconi

 

Also in the program are emerging directors like Pietro Marcello, at his second feature after Lost and Beautiful (Bella e perduta 2015). His Martin Eden is adapted from the 1909 novel of the same title by Jack London but is set in post-war Naples. The film stars Luca Marinelli who won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival, and is also acting in Ricordi? by Valerio Mieli, that director’s second feature, after Ten Winters (Dieci inverni, 2010).

Other excellent Italian actors are featured in other movies: Riccardo Scamarcio and Fabrizio Bentivoglio in The Invisible Witness (Il testimony invisible), Toni Servillo and Valeria Golino in 5 is the Perfect Number (5 è il numero perfetto).

Romulus and Remo-The First King (Il primo re), a historical drama that revisits the legend of the founders of Rome, with a notable soundtrack by Andrea Farri.