Thursday, June 3, 2010

Open Roads 2010


Open Roads: New Italian Cinema

June 3-10, 2010

Alice Tully Hall, West 65th Street and Broadway

Walter Reade Theater, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza

(West 65th St between Broadway and Amsterdam)

The Film Society of Lincoln Center spotlights several national cinemas, beginning with France in February and ending with Spain in December. Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, the annual June entry, celebrates its 10th anniversary without any brilliant entries from longtime masters on the level of Ermanno Olmi's The Profession of Arms or Mario Monicelli’s Desert Rose. Still, a good mix of veterans and newcomers makes for another intriguing week of new films from Italy.

The series gets off to a roaring start with The Man Who Will Come, Giorgio Diritti's powerful sophomore feature about a little-discussed aspect of the Second World War: after Italy surrendered, the Germans occupied the country, further ruining the lives of simple farm folk trying to return to normal following years of fascism under Mussolini. Filled with simple but striking imagery, The Man Who Will Come heralds a strong new voice in Italian cinema.

Baaria, from vet Giuseppe Tornatore, is everything Diritti's film isn’t: this epic about several generations of a Sicilian family is old-fashioned and unblinkingly sentimental in every way. Cinema Paradiso, Tornatore's breakthrough movie, was all that too, but at least had the presence of that great French actor Philippe Noiret to hold it together. Baaria instead relies on such gimmickry as a blink-and-you'll-miss-her cameo by Monica Bellucci, cloyingly cute children and so much contrivance that interest soon dissipates. And to think barren Baaria was chosen as Italy's Academy Award selection instead of Marco Bellocchio's vastly superior Vincere!

Speaking of Vincere, that astonishing actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno—whose galvanizing performance made Bellocchio's already masterly film unforgettable—returns to Open Roads in Rocco Papaleo’s amiable road movie, Basilicata Coast to Coast, in which she plays an initially skeptical reporter journeying with four middle-aged musicians to a music festival. Papaleo gently pokes fun at the southern region which he comes from, and spices up his movie with a sprightly musical score.

A special sidebar at this year’s Open Roads fetes Bruno Bozzetto, the impish animator whose 1976 classic Allegro non trooppo—a mischievous send-up of Disney’s Fantasia—will be shown along with a few of his witty shorts.

originally posted on

No comments: