Tag Archives: film

The Italianist 2018: Italian films, Peter Bondanella, Chris Wagstaff

The latest volume of The Italianist ( 2018, vol.38, no.2) is devoted to film. The first part opens with discussions of the relations – real, imagined, intended, inadvertent – between films and their audiences: the Fascist promotion of Italian fiction films in the US in the 1930s, and the creation of the once much-scorned but now revalued ‘casalinga di Voghera‘. A series of diverse analyses follows: the impact of the planned, begun but never completed films on the anni di piombo on the difficulties of representing 1970s Italy; the Dantean resonances in Pasolini’s Salò; Sorrentino’s aesthetic strategy in portraying Giulio Andreotti in Il Divo; and the interplay of aesthetics and politics in authorial interventions in recent documentaries. The second part is a celebration in many voices of the lives and works of Peter Bondanella and Chris Wagstaff, two leading scholars who have left large and enduring contributions to the analysis of Italian cinema.

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Vale Ettore Scola (1931-2016)

Gino Moliterno   ANU

220px-Ettore_ScolaAll Italianists and indeed film-lovers everywhere will have been saddened by the news of the recent death of Ettore Scola – ‘il poeta che amava la democrazia‘ – in Rome on 19 January 2016. Coming after the deaths of Mario Monicelli in 2010 and Carlo Lizzani in 2013, Scola’s passing marks the definitive end of the era of the great screenwriter-directors of the golden age of Italian post-war cinema.

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Leaves of the Tree

-1The award-winning film Leaves of the Tree will be screened in the Melbourne World International Film Festival at the Reading Cinemas in Dandenong Plaza on Friday 4 December at 5pm (bookings can be made here). The film, adapted by David Healey from his novel Kindness for the Damned: A Novella of Intrigue, Love and Redemption in Sicily, is set in Sicily (Segesta, Erice, Castellammare del Golfo) and tells the story of a sick man, a once-powerful lawyer sidelined by a life-threatening disease, who follows a doctor to a remote area in the island’s northwest in search of a mystical tree that supposedly has amazing healing powers. David Healey would be happy to be contacted by anyone interested in learning more about the film.

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Lavazza film festival: 15 Sept – 21 Oct

xliff15-banner-dark.jpg.pagespeed.ic.c2N02tg9C2The Lavazza Film Festival is showing Italian films around Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Byron Bay, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Hobart) between 15 Sept and 21 October. With the exception of Bertolucci’s Il conformista (1970), the films, covering drama and comedy, are all recent and include Edoardo Falcone’s Se dio vuole, Cristina Comencini’s Latin lover, Nanni Moretti’s Mia madre and the Taviani brothers’ Meraviglioso Boccaccio. Luca Zingaretti, here in Edoardo De Angelis’ Perez and Marco Pontecorvo’s Tempo instabile con probabili schiarite rather than as Inspector Montalbano, will be a visitor to the festival in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. All films are subtitled in English. Full details of the dates, cinemas and programme of the festival in each city and the chance to book seats can be found HERE.

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How do Italian film-makers see China?

Stefano Bona   Flinders University

Portrait of Marco Polo

16th century portrait of Marco Polo (1254 – 1324)

China has rapidly become the world’s second largest economy, and most of the clothes and shoes we wear, the mobile phones and computers we use, the bicycles we ride today are made there. However China’s cultures and peoples are still largely unknown or misunderstood in Western societies. Italy may be seen as a symbol both of the positive relations of China with the West (an embassy sent by Rome reached China as early as 166 AD, and the legacy of Marco Polo and Matteo Ricci is still thought highly of by the Chinese) and of the misunderstandings which have occurred in the relations between these cultures. Hence the way Italy and Italians identify China, its people and its culture, might be seen as a “litmus test” of their perception by Western countries.

If we add two further considerations, that film makers are intellectuals who interpret the feelings of society, and that, as David Bordwell argues, films are created to have an impact on audiences and speak to their imaginative needs, it then becomes particularly interesting to analyse how China has been represented by Italian directors who have shot films there since 1949 (the year the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed).

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