Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:54 pm 
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I will again provide coverage of this Italian film event and review the films.

The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco +
New Italian Cinema Events (N.I.C.E) of Florence, Italy Present:
SERIES WEBSITE

New Italian Cinema
November 30-December 2, 2018
At the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco


(press release):
San Francisco, CA — The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco (Istituto Italiano di Cultura) and New Italian Cinema Events (N.I.C.E. of Florence, Italy present New Italian Cinema, November 30 – December 2, 2018. The festival opens on Friday, November 30 and continues Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2 at the Vogue Theatre, 3290 Sacramento Street in San Francisco. Celebrating its 22nd year in San Francisco, this annual presentation of dynamic cinema will bring Italy’s newest directors and the country’s veteran filmmakers to Bay Area audiences, who will have an opportunity to experience the richness of Italy’s cinematic treasures. Film tickets: $14 general; $13 seniors, students and persons with disabilities; $12 Italian Cultural Institute members. Passes: $60 for Italian Cultural Institute members and $70 for the general public. Box office info: (415) 552-5580 or go to the festival website.

Opening Night Film
Francesco Falaschi’s As Needed (Quanto basta)
A Comic Drama And Culinary Road Trip To Florence,
Starring Vinicio Marchioni As A Charming Veteran Chef, Valeria Solarino As A Social Worker, And Luigi Fedele As An Aspiring Young Chef With Asperger’s.

Special Screenings – Eventi Speciali:

Opening Night Film, Friday, November 30, 6:30pm at the Vogue Theatre
AS NEEDED (Quanto basta), 92 minutes
Francesco Falaschi’s delightful romp takes us on a culinary road trip to Florence, culminating in a contest for young cooks. Arturo (Vinicio Marchioni) is a veteran chef with minor anger management problems who, after a short stint in prison, performs community service at a school for teens with Asperger’s. His students are eager to learn, especially Guido (Luigi Fedele), a young man who remembers every ingredient in every recipe. Arturo delays his move to Milan to cook in a sleek restaurant when the opportunity arises to accompany Guido to a cooking competition in Tuscany’s capital. Complicating matters is the fact that the president of the jury, celebrity chef Daniel Marinari (Nicola Siri), is Arturo’s hated ex-business partner and Guido’s social worker, Anna (Valeria Solarino), is Arturo’s unexpected romantic love interest. As Arturo confronts his past and Guido faces the pressure of competition, their initially contentious relationship evolves into a friendship that make both question their values. The Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists awarded the Graziella Bonacchi Award to Luigi Fedele for his exceptional performance in this film that celebrates neurodiversity.
Director Francesco Falaschi will attend the screening.

Closing Night Films, Sunday, December 2, 7:15pm at the Vogue Theatre
THE CALL (La Convocazione) and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (Aperti al Pubblico),
Two award-winning documentaries from Festival dei Popoli
Tickets: General Public $14; Seniors, Students, Disabled: $13; Italian Cultural Institute members: $12.

The festival ends with two documentaries that won awards at Italy’s documentary film festival, Festival dei Popoli: THE CALL, directed by Enrico Maisto and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, directed by Silvia Bellotti. Director Silvia Bellotti will attend the Closing Night Screening. The Closing Night screening will also include the announcement of the festival’s City of Florence Award for the best feature film in competition.

THE CALL (La Convocazione), 56 minutes
Directed by Enrico Maisto
The police personally deliver notices to appear to jurors assigned to Milan’s Court of Assize, which tries the most notorious crimes and massacres in Italy. At 10 a.m., sixty tense Italians take their places in the court’s somber chamber, where the lead judge addresses them. THE CALL, a beautifully shot and scored cinema vérité film, observes with profound humanity these unknown jurors tasked with the highest civil responsibility. Enrico Maisto’s documentary is an exceptional chronicle of that special day when a citizen comes into direct contact with the administration of justice. The Call was awarded Best Mid-length Documentary at Hot Docs and the Premio MyMovies Audience Award at Festival dei Popoli.

Followed by (without an intermission):

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (Aperti al pubblico), 60 minutes
Directed by Silvia Bellotti; director in person on Closing Night
The social housing authority of Naples manages the 40,000 public housing units of the city and province. Its offices, open twice a week, become the stage of vigorous verbal arguments between the employees—whose task is to apply norms and regulations with impartiality—and the multitudes of applicants who need help with housing. The people who apply for assistance are a diverse and quirky group, often living in existential and personal conditions that defy classification, thus presenting cases that cannot be easily solved. The beleaguered but kind social workers, who are truly on the front lines dealing with Naples’ impoverished citizens, face the system’s deficiencies with creative solutions, open hearts, and occasionally fraying patience. Bellotti takes on the bureaucratic process with humor, pathos, and a keen sense of humanity. Open To The Public won the Premio del Pubblico (Audience Award) at the 2017 Festival dei Popoli.

City of Florence Award Competition films:

Boys Cry (La terra dell'abbastanza)
Directed by Fabio and Damiano D’Innocenzo, Sunday, December 2, 2:15pm, Vogue Theatre
Matteo Olivetti and Andrea Carpenzano turn in stellar performances as Mirko and Manolo, best friends who live with their single parents in a tough neighborhood of a Roman suburb. They are still in school, training to be caterers or barmen or something useful, and making minimum wage delivering pizzas. An accident sets off a chain of events, propelling them from good-natured, roughhousing buddies to thugs on the bottom rung of the local gang’s ladder, facing increasingly difficult choices.

Easy (Un viaggio facile)
Directed by Andrea Magnani, Saturday, December 2, 4:30 pm, Vogue Theatre
Isidoro, known as Easy, is lonely and depressed after an unexplained weight gain ends his career as a go-kart driver. When his brother Filo offers him a job so he can get out of the house and behind the steering wheel again, Easy accepts. The assignment seems simple, but the journey is epic: He has to ferry a coffin (containing the body of a worker) from Italy to a small village in the Carpathians, in Ukraine. Easy was nominated for Best Actor and Best New Director at the David di Donatello Awards and won the Jury Prize for Best Actor at the Monte Carlo Comedy Film Festival.

Here and Now (L’assoluto presente)
Directed by Fabio Martina, Friday, Saturday, December 1, 1:30 pm, Vogue Theatre
Three young friends drive through the dark streets of Milan in Cosimo’s new black SUV. Eager to live up to his aspired bravura, Cosimo suddenly stops the car near a park where he and his buddies attack a random passer-by—in a frenzy of blows and imagined power. The real protagonist of the film is the vague emptiness that crosses the faces and bodies of these young men. Here and Now, a modern-day I Vitelloni on steroids, is a compelling portrait of youth who roam the streets in search of meaning. See review by Giancarlo Zappoli in MYMovies.com.

Hotel Gagarin (Hotel Gagarin)
Directed by Simone Spada, Saturday, December 1, 8:15 pm, Vogue Theatre
A crooked producer dupes five hopeful Italians into traveling to Armenia to shoot a film. Nicola (Giuseppe Battiston), a rumpled history teacher, can’t believe his script will actually be produced, while flighty Patrizia (Silvia D’Amico) embraces her unexpected acting career. Their shooting location, the secluded, wintry Hotel Gagarin, becomes home when they are marooned in Armenia for months because of a military skirmish. There, this fine ensemble cast (including Luca Argentero, Barbora Bobulova and Claudio Amendola) find unexpected opportunities for creativity and happiness. Preceded by the short film THE WHOLE WORLD, ONE STEP AT A TIME.

The Last Italian Cowboys (Gli ultimi butteri)
Directed by Walter Bencini, Saturday, December 1, 3:45 pm, Vogue Theatre
Walter Bencini’s beautifully shot documentary, a love song to the Maremma region of Italy, profiles the butteri, or cowboys, who work on one of the last ranches that breeds cattle and horses in the wild. Shot over the changing seasons in an area that stretches between southern Tuscany and northern Lazio, the film chronicles the lives of these amiable weather-beaten wranglers, their synchronicity with the rhythms of the land, and their relationship with the animals they steward. For anyone who loves the Tuscan countryside, this film’s exquisite lensing provides a close-up of sweeping vistas of the Tyrrhenian Sea, bucolic shots of cows (and the cowboys reciting their names), and a unique perspective on how an organic, free-range ranch carries out Italy’s slow food traditions.

The Last Prosecco (Finché c'è prosecco c'è speranza)
Directed by Antonio Padovan, Saturday, December 1, 6:00 pm, Vogue Theatre
Antonio Padovan’s witty thriller unravels on the hills of Valdobbiadene, where Prosecco grapes grow. The film features Rade Serbedzija as a count fighting to protect his terroir and Giuseppe Battiston as a stubborn police inspector who has a murder to solve. The Last Prosecco has all of the elements of a good whodunit: politics, greed, multiple murders, and a cast of potential culprits, including the count’s mistress (Silvia D’Amico), his estranged South American daughter (Liz Solari), and his longtime housekeeper (Giselle Burinato). The Last Prosecco explores the lure of the vineyards, the effervescence of bubbles, and the conflict between those who are driven to exploit the environment and those who are called to protect it at all costs.
Documentary Presentations (in addition to the two Closing Night documentaries)

Manuel (Manuel)
Directed by Dario Albertini, Sunday, December 2 12:00 pm (noon), Vogue Theatre
At 18, after a five-year sojourn, Manuel leaves the education center where he was placed after his mother was jailed. He is unusually focused on his main objective: taking responsibility for his mother so that the two remaining years of her sentence will be commuted to house arrest. Shot in a neorealist style, Manuel features a stand out performance by Andrea Lattanzi as a sweet young man who desperately wants to do the right thing. MANUEL was a triple winner at the Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival (Best Film, Critics' Prize, and Student Jury Prize).

The Whole World, One Step At A Time (Tutto il mondo piano piano)
Directed by Gianmarco D’Agostino, Saturday, December 1, 8:15 pm, Vogue Theatre
Many years ago, Rudy left his wealthy life in Italy, choosing to live in Bangladesh and assist homeless children there. His friend, Alex, joined him and together they built schools where poor children could receive education and healthcare. D’Agostino’s short documentary profiles the lives of Bangladeshi children, who are eager to learn in a harsh environment where access even to something as basic as potable drinking water is not assured. Together with their Bangladeshi counterparts, Alex and Rudy challenge poverty, corruption, and violence with care and love. This is a story about how every man can change his life by trying to change the world. The whole world, one step at a time.
THE WHOLE WORLD, ONE STEP AT A TIME screens before HOTEL GAGARIN.

Documentary Presentations from Festival dei Popoli

THE CALL (La convocazione)
Directed by Enrico Maisto

Italian citizens can be called to serve on juries on short notice: on the day before appearing for jury selection, they’re randomly selected by a computer system. And so, one morning at 10 o’clock, 60 tense Italians take their place in the Court of Assizes in Milan, which tries the most well known massacres and crimes in Italy. THE CALL observes these unknown jurors in a riveting example of cinema vérité. Director Enrico Maisto ratchets up the inevitable sifting and waiting inherent in the courtroom process with a remarkable emotional tension, exploring the court and its unique set of rules. We are presented with a cross section of citizens tasked with the highest civil responsibility, and who experience anxiety and pathos while fulfilling their duty. An exceptional chronicle of that special day when a citizen comes into direct contact with the administration of justice, THE CALL was awarded Best Mid-length Documentary at Hot Docs and the Premio MyMovies Audience Award at Festival dei Popoli.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (Aperti al Pubblico)
Directed by Silvia Bellotti

The social housing authority of Naples manages the 40,000 public housing units of the city and
province. Its offices, open twice a week, become the stage of exhausting verbal combats between the employees, whose task is to apply norms and regulations with impartiality and the multitudes of applicants who need help with housing. The people who apply for housing assistance are a diverse and quirky group who often live—whether by destiny or inclination—in existential and personal conditions that defy classification, thus presenting cases that cannot easily be solved. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC screened in the 2017 Festival dei Popoli and won the Premio del Pubblico (Audience Award) at the Festival dei Popoli.

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VINICIO MARCHIONI AND LUIGI FEDELE IN AS NEEDED

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©Chris Knipp. Blog: http://chrisknipp.blogspot.com/.


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