Set in the 1920s in the palace of a noble Bengali whose passion is music and whose arch-enemy is a wealthy upstart, The Music Room reflects the conflict between the dying aristocracy and new money. Director Satyajit Ray is one of the greatest auteurs of international cinema. His film about those who dwell in the past and those who embrace the future is a magnificent tour de force. Introduced by Professor Scott Watson, head of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, UBC.
Even art-house aficionados were unprepared for the dramatic sophistication and depth on display in this blistering domestic drama from Iran’s Asghar Farhadi (About Elly; The Past). It was as if Ingmar Bergman had been reborn in Tehran, to dissect the dissolution of a middle class marriage. Dense, riveting and complex, this is masterly filmmaking that repays repeat viewing.
"A Separation serves as a quiet reminder of how good it’s possible for movies to be." Dana Stevens, Slate
"A Separation is totally foreign and achingly familiar. It’s a thrilling domestic drama that offers acute insights into human motivations and behavior as well as a compelling look at what goes on behind a particular curtain that almost never gets raised." Kenneth Turan, LA Times
ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT GALA
The opening night gala for the inaugura Vancouverl Italian Film Festival includes an exhibition of drawings by Federico Fellini inspired by his love of food; live music by Roy & Rosemary; catered reception with Italian wine and food, and the Canadian premiere of the documentary short Federico of the Spirits, plus a special screening of one Fellini’s most beloved masterpieces, Amarcord, in 35mm.
Fellini exhibition: Live music (Roy & Rosemary). Wine, hors d’oeuvres
6.00, 6.30 FEDERICO OF THE SPIRITS (20 min)
7.00 Introductory remarks + film screening: AMARCORD
9.15 Catered reception. Live music.
Shortly after turning 50 and at the height of his career, Federico Fellini returned to the seaside town of Rimini, where he grew up, to make Amarcord (a neologism that suggests "mi ricordo" in the Emiliano-Romagnolo dialect: I remember).
Set in the 1930s, the film has the free-wheeling form that became one of Fellini’s hallmarks. It allows him to swing back and forth between ribald comedy, fantasy and melancholy.
"Amarcord is the least grandiose and most immediate of the maestro’s later films and deserves to be rated among the finest screen memoirs of the 20th century. It offers an extraordinarily lyrical and vivid succession of vignettes, inside the most subtly rigorous narrative structure of Fellini’s career. […] Although the figure of the boy Titta is obviously his alter ego, Fellini builds a generously fractured mosaic that belongs to no one central character or even the on-screen narrator… Like many autobiographical tales written or filmed, this one weaves the innocent, limited viewpoint of children into its wider social context, which here heralds the reign of fascism in Italy in the 30s. Poignant indeed is the gap, gradually revealed to the viewer, between the hints of violence and social exclusion to come (especially in relation to the Jewish population), and the life-affirming antics of youth. […] Fellini’s comedy, refreshingly, goes to the outer limits of vulgarity in a number of hilarious scenes. His style is streamlined here into a pure, exalted poetry of mist, flowing camera movements, pastel colours, and lightly artificial set design. A triumph of artistic form, its emotions are direct and affecting." Adrian Martin
A sparklingly original comedy that casts Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren in three different stories set throughout Italy. In Naples, they are poor but resourceful, selling black market cigarettes on the streets. In Milan, Loren is costumed in Christian Dior and debates her preference for a Rolls Royce or her husband. And in Rome, Mastroianni is an industry scion who helps Loren’s prostitute set a wavering priest back onto the spiritual plane. Witty and unforgettable, this gem from master filmmaker Vittorio de Sica (Two Women, Marriage Italian Style) is picture-postcard beautiful and effortlessly hilarious.
When an elderly Sicilian fisherman rescues a boatload of African immigrants, he must decide whether to do what the law demands or what he knows to be right. A political powder keg sparks intense drama in Emanuele Crialese’s compelling and relevant piece of humanist filmmaking.
"Crialese is a sentimentalist at heart, but a fine one, and his compassion for the wretched of the earth is thrillingly amped by the movie’s ecstatic imagery. Like his neo-realist forebears before him, the director turns everyday activities and furtive acts — tending to a rotting boat, beating desperate refugees away from a tiny vessel, the tender ablutions of those same refugees on the shore — into a theater of danger, cruelty and sensual delight." Ella Taylor, NPR
"A stirring commentary on our better angels." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
Set in Venice and Verona on the verge of Garibaldi’s expulsion of the Austrians in the 1860s, this has Valli as a countess seduced by feckless charmer Lt. Franz Mahler (Granger) into betraying everything she believes in. This classy, operatic melodrama enacts a ferociously unstable, masochistic relationship, a recurring pattern in Visconti’s work (see also The Damned and Death in Venice). Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles are among six credited screenwriters.
When Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope Francis last year, it was an expression of the humility and love he admired in Saint Francis of Assisi - which also happens to be the subject of this beautiful, sweetly spiritual and unexpectedly whimsical film written by Federico Fellini along with the pioneer of neo-realism, Roberto Rossellini, who also directed.
“I’ve never seen the life of a saint treated on film with so little solemnity and so much warmth.” Martin Scorsese
In this quirky ensemble comedy a wealthy but lonely man (Castellitto) creates his own family Christmas by writing a script and hiring professional actors to play it out. It’s the ultimate game of charades, a play for an audience of one.
Domenico Modugno (played by Giuseppe Fiorello) charmed the world with his serenading voice, his songs becoming the symbol of the Italian grandeur in the 60s. Modugno had a multi-faceted and prolific career. From a very young age he was driven to perform. Together with Johnny Dorelli, Modugno launched his career with the timeless song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (better known as “Volare”), a song that received two Grammy Awards with sales above 22 million copies, and represented Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest. Other songs “Piove” (also known as “Ciao, ciao bambina”), and “Dio, come ti amo” followed, while his hit song “Io” was sung by Elvis Presley in English under the title “Ask Me.” This tribute to the late, great Domenico Modugno charts the incredible artistic and human journey of a boy from the south of Italy who produced some of the world’s most recognisable songs.
Equal parts drama, comedy and thriller, The Landlords is a riveting film from actor-turneddirector, Edoardo Gabbriellini with a sensational cast including legendary real-life singer Gianni Morandi making a return to the big screen after 40 years. Cosimo (Valerio Mastandrea) and Elia (Elio Germano) are two young brothers dreaming of success in the construction business. They travel from Rome to a remote Apennines mountain village where they have been contracted to rebuild a villa for the retired singer Fausto Mieli, a divisive local figure who is planning a comeback concert.
The provocative Italian filmmaker Elio Petri’s most internationally acclaimed work is this remarkable, visceral, Oscar-winning thriller. It’s the Kafkaesque tale of a Roman police inspector (a commanding Gian Maria Volonté) investigating a heinous crime—which he himself committed. .
"A provocative political thriller that is as troubling today as when it came out in the 1970s." Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"The movie survives beautifully both as an elegant thriller and as a study of the twisted infantilism that shapes the fanatic heart." Ella Taylor, LA Weekly
"Its portrait of a loner and his lusts comes up frighteningly fresh, and the whole conceit would collapse without the muscular, rousing presence of Gian Maria Volonté in the central role. He, as much as Petri, hauls the movie into the realms of Kafka." Antony Lane, New Yorker
Maestro Federico Fellini died just over 20 years ago, 31 October 1993. His passing - and the star-studded funeral that followed three days later - inspired one of the first great media events of the new electronic age, a circus of celebrity, culture, imagery and emotion that Fellini probably enjoyed from on high. This new documentary brings those moments back to life again with the help of Fellini’s friends, colleagues and admirers.
Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor, Last Tango In Paris, The Conformist) returns to his native Italy for what may be his swansong, an intimate yet refreshingly innocent chamber piece about a teenage boy who ducks out of a school field trip and hides out in a disused basement. But his plans for a perfect getaway are thrown when his older half sister discovers his whereabouts…
"Bertolucci’s witty, potent little film showed Cannes that he is still a force to be reckoned with."—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"A masterclass in small-scale filmmaking."—Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film