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Articles by: Azzurra Giorgi

  • Events: Reports

    Open Roads New Italian Cinema at Lincoln Center

    Once upon a time there was Italian film. Back in the day when Italy was tackling a period of reconstruction and economic boom, film offered another way to dream and imagine a life paved with success. The 1950s and ‘60s marked a period of excellence in Italian cinema. Not only did Italian film enchant the world with its masterpieces, but it also reflected the hopes, dreams, and new prosperity perfectly embodied in La Dolce Vita and Cinecittà’s Hollywood on the Tiber.

    Sixty years have passed, and the memory of these films seems to have faded, particularly considering that today’s films tend to be less concerned about quality. Fortunately, some directors still have a sound and passionate love for film, and despite the difficulties, they want to try to enhance the quality of Italian films. This is why “Open Roads: New Italian Cinemawas born.

    Being the most important North American showcase of contemporary Italian cinema, Open Roads has one main mission: introducing to the American public a new generation of actors and filmmakers. “We tried to build up a various and articulate overview, not focusing on the possible themes but on the movies that we thought were interesting,” says Antonio Monda, who co-founded the festival along with Richard Peña back in 2001. Indeed, the itinerary is quite diverse.

    The showcase will open with Every Blessed Day, a comedy about intimacy, love, a child’s desires and the accompanying difficulties, directed by Paolo Virzì, who already participated in Open Roads back in 2010. The festival will also examine controversial topics, such as euthanasia, which Marco Bellocchio addresses in Sleeping Beauty, and the terrorist attacks during Italy’s “Years of Lead” with Marco Tullio Giordana’s Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy. Giordana’s film reconstructs the explosions at the National Bank of Agriculture’s headquarters in 1969, which marked the beginning of a decade of terrorism and are still today surrounded by mystery.

    The showcase has always promoted new filmmakers in its past seasons, and this year will not be an exception. Salvatore Mereu, after having participated in the Venice Film Festival, will present Pretty Butterflies, a film about two Sardinian teenagers’ journey of self-discovery, and Maria Sole Tognazzi will present I Travel Alone, a film reflecting upon the thin line between loneliness and freedom.

    This year’s Open Roads festival also features the presence of female directors who are becoming more prominent in today’s cinema. “We are happy to see many more women directors,” Antonio Monda tells us, “because they made movies of definite quality. We did not go looking for women directors, but they made beautiful movies, so we gladly decided to have them at the showcase.”

    The other three women, apart from Maria Sole Tognazzi, are Elisa Fuksas, Giovanna Taviani, and Susanna Nicchiarelli. In Nina, Fuksas explored the doubts and the uncertainty of many young people today who cannot find a stable job and establish long-lasting relationships. Giovanna Taviani, instead, follows in the footsteps of the Taviani brothers, her father and uncle, and investigates in The Rescue the life and rebirth of Salvatore Striano, the ex-prisoner of Rebibbia prison who played the role of Brutus in Taviani brothers’ Caesar Must Die.

    The documentary follows the stages of his tough life from the heart of Naples to Tuscany, Taviani’s homeland, continuing through the years he spent in jail. Nicchiarelli also travels back in time with The Discovery at Dawn, which explains what may happen when destiny gives you a life-changing second chance.

    Although presenting new films, Open Roads also wants to stress the beauty of handmade cinema, which is often overwhelm