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New York’s Museum of Modern Art celebrates Antonioni

  Today kicks off the first complete retrospective in New York in more than a decade dedicated to the work of filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni. Presented with Luce Cinecittà, Rome, and featuring nearly 40 35mm prints and digital preservations, the lineup includes the renowned trilogy of “L’Avventura,” “L’Eclisse,” and “La Notte,” starring Monica Vitti as well as a diverse collection of films spanning his varied four-decade career. Antonioni made a career out of mesmerizing audiences with his films of complicated relationships that raise questions but leave many of the answers to the viewer. In a 1969 interview with American film critic ...

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Basilicata filmmakers make environmental statement

  In our ongoing series “Basilicata: Terra di Cinema,” we are focusing today on a new film by two of Basilicata’s most prolific filmmakers: Antonio Andrisani and Pascal Zullino. Since our series began in 2015, this issue of oil drilling has been present among the region’s contemporary filmmakers. So much so, that it would be disrespectful to the filmmakers to overlook it. Through their work, the directors express their concerns over the oil drilling, which began in the region in 1996. Nicknamed “Little Texas,” the drilling site in Basilicata produces a staggering 80,000 barrels a day. This production has led ...

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Director Andrea Pallaoro discusses his latest film at the Chicago International Film Festival

  Director Andrea Pallaoro’s second feature film has been described as “the intimate portrait of a woman going through an identity crisis.” “Hannah,” starring British actress Charlotte Rampling, premiered in September at the 74th Venice Film Festival, earning a Best Actress prize for Rampling, and is now headed to the Chicago Film Festival. Pallaoro made his debut in the Orizzonti section of the 2013 Venice Film Festival with “Medeas,” an emotionally heavy drama, which follows members of a family with deep-rooted problems struggling to coexist together under the same roof. It’s a deeply personal film for the spectator because it ...

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Chicago Film Fest spotlights Italy’s Oscar entry

  It was just announced that Italy’s entry for the Oscar race will be a small, independent film made in the south. “A Ciambra,” directed by Jonas Carpignano with Martin Scorsese as one of the executive producers, takes place within a small community in Calabria. 14-year-old Pio Amato is in a hurry to grow up and follows his older brother Cosimo everywhere. Through him, he learns how to navigate the streets of their hometown. One night, Pio sets out to prove to his brother that he is as good or better than him but when things go wrong, a series ...

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Basilicata in the Spotlight at the Giffoni Film Festival

  The 47th edition of the Giffoni Film Festival is now in the record books. Over the last week, the signature Blue Carpet has been graced with filmmakers who have come from all over the world to celebrate cinema dedicated to children and teens. The first edition of the Giffoni Film Festival took place in 1971 in its namesake city of Giffoni Valle Piana, which is located in the region of Campania. The festival has served not only as an event to watch films, but also as a place for youngsters to learn about the filmmaking process. The French master François Truffaut is ...

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Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival to feature Italian titles

The 2017 edition of Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival is keeping with tradition in featuring a number of contemporary Italian films. The very first edition of the festival took place on August 23, 1946, with a screening of Giacomo Gentiloma’s “’O sole mio” on the lawn of the Grande Hotel. In the years that followed, programmers embraced the great movement of Italian Neo-Realism and today, the cinema of Italy continues to be a leading protagonist of the festival. This year’s Italian selections include Andrea Magnani’s “Easy,” the story of a depressed race car driver missing his days of glory; Marco Tullio Giordana’s ...

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Actor/Director Pif explores grave impact of Allied forces in Sicily during WW II

  Another successful edition of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema is underway in New York City. Now in its 17th year, the annual series is going strong with numerous award-winners along with some unique independent films. The series, which runs until June 7, is a group effort by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Istituto Luce Cinecittà, the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Cultural Institute New York; Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò—NYU not to mention the tireless champions of Italian cinema who have been with this festival since the beginning- Antonio Monda, Griselda Guerrasio and Monique Catalina. One of the highlights of the 17th edition is ...

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Gomorrah series Director Claudio Cupellini talks about filmmaking in Naples

  Another record season of the popular Italian television series “Gomorrah” is underway on the Sundance Channel. Based on Roberto Saviano’s best-selling book about the Neapolitan mafia, the series centers on three main characters: Ciro di Marzio (Marco D’Amore), Genny Sevastano (Salvatore Esposito) and Pietro Savastano (Fortunato Cerlino) entrenched in the world of organized crime. Set in Naples, the show has come under criticism for depicting the city as a dangerous, crime-infested town. Those criticisms have not hampered the show’s popularity. The action-packed compelling episodes are watched and praised all over the world. Last year, I sat down with one ...

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Cannes 2017: Interview with Director Emanuela Mascherini

  The 2017 Cannes Film Festival is underway in the south of France. Although no Italian films were chosen to compete in the main competition, there is a strong Italian presence across the board. From Claudia Cardinale gracing the official poster to Monica Bellucci acting as Mistress of Ceremonies to Paolo Sorrentino’s jury post to a restored version of Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow Up” and the selection of films in other categories, there is no shortage of Italian films for festival-goers to enjoy. One film in particular that has caught my eye is a short film made by Emanuela Mascherini. “Offline” ...

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Yuri Ancarini’s falconry documentary soars

  Dating back some 4,000 years, the sport of falconry is still widely practiced today. With origins in the Middle East, falconry is a highly-regarded pastime, which, in some cultures, also serves as a male rite of passage. Italian filmmaker Yuri Ancarini explores an annual falconry competition that takes place in the vast desert of Qatar in his visual masterpiece, The Challenge. Ancarini combines the spectacular desert landscape of the Arabian Peninsula with a dramatic soundtrack and candid moments to give an intimate look into the world of the falconers. Several types of predators from the raptor species of birds are ...

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