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Kicking off our coverage of the 25th anniversary of the perennially popular Italian classic, we catch up with Salvatore Cascio, who played the saucer-eyed Totò as a child
• Cinema Paradiso: watch the trailer for the 25th anniversary edition
• Hats off! The Observer's 2000 interview with Philippe Noiret
In 1988, during the first round of auditions to cast the lead boy in his next film, the director Giuseppe Tornatore asked eight-year-old Salvatore Cascio what cinema meant to him. The young Cascio thought for a moment. "For me," he said, "cinema is like an enormous television."
"He looked a bit taken aback, and then he laughed," says Cascio, now 34, and speaking from his home near the Sicilian town of Palazzo Adriano, where Tornatore shot much of Cinema Paradiso. "I'd never even been to the cinema before – I didn't really know what it was. So I think my answer amused him. Perhaps it's what got me the part. »
- Laura Barnett
Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games book series has often been compared with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels, primarily because both center on a young female protagonist and have become phenomenons for their shared young-adult demo. This is arguably an insult to the novel and the big-screen adaptations, since The Hunger Games is leagues above Twilight in artistic credibility. The sense of familiarity of The Hunger Games goes much further back, recalling everything from William Golding to Phillip K. Dick to even Stephen King. Here are 12 films that come highly recommended, and should be essential viewing for any fan of the Hunger Games franchise.
Written and directed by Kinji Fukasaku
The concept of The Hunger Games owes much to Koushun Takami’s cult novel Battle Royale, adapted for the cinema in 2000 by Kinji Fukasaku. The film is set in a dystopian alternate-universe, in Japan, with the nation utterly collapsed, »
- Ricky da Conceição
Regularly voted one of the greatest films of all time, Federico Fellini's peerless 8½ (1963) comes to Blu-ray for the first time this week thanks to European cinema preservationists Argent. Regarded by Fellini himself as his eight-and-a-halfth feature - hence the playful, self-referential title - 8½ would go on to be recognised as the Italian auteur's magnum opus, a remarkable work of autobiography that disguises itself exquisitely under layers and layers of rich theatricality. Both terrifically funny and brutally honest, Fellini lays himself bare for all to see in the guise of Marcello Mastroianni's frustrated filmmaker.
Read more » »
- CineVue UK
Directed by Federico Fellini.
Guido (Mastroianni), a tired movie director, begins to fantasize about past occurrences in his life.
8½ reaches its 50th birthday this year, celebrated with a splendid restored DVD and Blu-ray. In its golden year, there isn’t much to be said about Fellini’s classic that hasn’t already been said. One of the major dilemmas possibly hounding its new release, however, is whether it still holds up. With the aesthetic and style of the 60s rejuvenated thanks to the likes of Mad Men, 8½ now, perhaps more than ever, appears all kinds of cool. The fact that the film relies heavily on fantasy moments – psychologically timeless – also means the content defies aging. It comes to us again as immaculate and crisp as Guido’s suits.
The film is one deserving of multiple viewings (for those that »
- Gary Collinson
Chicago – 1961’s “La Notte” helped build Michelango Antonioni’s international reputation after the success of “L’avventura” and lifted stars Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau to an arthouse plateau. The film hasn’t aged as well as some of Antonioni’s best, in my opinion, although the 4K restoration on the new Criterion Blu-ray certainly helps one appreciate the visual compositions of its incredibly influential director. The release is a bit slight on supplemental material but fans of the filmmaker or star will simply be happy to have one of his more notable works in HD.
More of a moody examination of the disintegration of a relationship than the films of the recently-released Cassavetes set, “La Notte” is an atmospheric piece that captures a certain time and place and makes its human story feel universal at the same time. The supplements are thinner than usual here when it comes »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Could a film like "La Notte" ever exist today? What would it look like? Released in 1961, Michelangelo Antonioni's visually sleek modernist masterpiece features two international stars of considerable pedigree -- Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau -- who talk, and also don't talk, about the undetectable meanings of life and love. This side of "La Notte," the closest a film comes to such a surgically precise picture of marital breakdown is "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999) by Stanley Kubrick, who loved "La Notte." And like "Eyes Wide Shut," "La Notte" is a dreamy nighttime odyssey that drives apart a husband and wife as they hurtle toward something awful and inevitable, only to bring them together again in a closing moment of possible reconciliation. But when Giovanni (Mastroianni) and Lidia (Moreau) embrace like wild dogs at the end of "La Notte," there may be reconciliation, but no hope. While Giovanni, a novelist, is »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week:
What's It About? This prequel to the Disney-Pixar favorite "Monster's Inc." takes us back in time to when Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) weren't the best of friends. Before the two became big Scarers, they were freshman at Monster's University and quickly became competitive rivals.
Why We're In: Crystal's Mike and Goodman's Sully are undoubtedly one of the funniest and most beloved onscreen animated duos. Unlike most prequels, "Monster's University" is packed with fresh humor, fun and charming moments, and will keep the whole family entertained. The prequel was also ranked one of Moviefone's Best Movies of 2013 (So Far).
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week:
"La Notte" (Criterion Collection)
What's It About? Michelangelo Antonioni's 1961 classic, "La Notte," stars Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni as a deteriorating married couple. The two re-examine their relationship over the course of an evening, »
- Erin Whitney
(Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961; Eureka!, 12)
Cinematic trilogies have been all the rage since Pagnol's in the early 30s. But possibly the most influential was the trio that made Antonioni's beautiful, sceptical, ironic muse Monica Vitti the art house pin-up of the 1960s and created a new Italian cinema – cool, oblique, Marxist – to succeed neorealism. It began with L'Avventura, roundly booed at Cannes in 1960 by critics who thought it obscure, and concluded in 1962 with L'Eclisse, which some thought too explicit. Antonioni never made anything better than La Notte, the centrepiece of the trilogy, superbly shot in black and white by Gianni Di Venanzo, the key cinematographer of his time.
Set during a single day and night in a Milan where steel and glass skyscrapers are going up and old buildings being pulled down, it opens with a disillusioned novelist (Marcello Mastroianni) and his embittered wife (Jeanne Moreau) visiting their dying friend, a leftwing »
- Philip French
Carlo Lizzani, who has died aged 91, after falling from a balcony at his home, was a screenwriter and director of Italian neorealist cinema who made more than 40 feature films, as well as documentaries and television series.
His first professional experiences in the film world were as an actor, playing cameos in two powerful neorealist films: Il Sole Sorge Ancora (The Sun Still Rises, 1946), directed by Aldo Vergano; and Caccia Tragica (Tragic Hunt, 1947), Giuseppe De Santis's first feature film.
In 1947 Roberto Rossellini summoned Lizzani to Berlin where he was preparing to shoot Germania Anno Zero (Germany Year Zero). Lizzani did research with East German locals which Rossellini would find useful when the film was being made without a definitive shooting script. Lizzani said later: "Rossellini filmed the story of the boy [Edmund] as if growing up »
- John Francis Lane
Italian director, screenwriter, and critic Carlo Lizzani, who was Oscar-nominated in 1950 as co-writer of neo-realist classic “Bitter Rice,” went on to direct dozens of films, and in the late 1970s relaunched the Venice Film Festival as its artistic director, died in Rome on Saturday.
The cause is believed to be suicide. Lizzani, who was 91, died after jumping from the third-floor balcony of his central Rome apartment, according to Italian media who said he had left a suicide note.
Born in Rome, Lizzani became a neo-realist cinema protagonist during Italy’s early postwar period, initially as a critic, then as a scribe working with, among others, Roberto Rossellini on the gut-wrenching 1948 “Germany Year Zero,” a look at devasted Berlin through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy.
- Nick Vivarelli
European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award: Catherine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, Judi Dench are the only three female recipients to date (photo: European movies’ Lifetime Achievement Award-less actress Danielle Darrieux) (See previous post: "Catherine Deneuve: Only the Third Woman to Receive European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.") As mentioned in the previous post, French film icon Catherine Deneuve is only the third woman to receive the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award since the organization’s first awards ceremony in 1988. Deneuve’s predecessors are The Lovers‘ Jeanne Moreau (1997) and Notes on a Scandal‘s Judi Dench (2008). In that regard, the European Film Academy is as male-oriented as the Beverly Hills-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. More on that below. Male recipients of the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award are the following: Ingmar Bergman, Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini, Andrzej Wajda, Alexandre Trauner, Billy Wilder, »
- Andre Soares
Catherine Deneuve: 2013 European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Catherine Deneuve has been named the recipient of the the European Film Academy’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award for her "outstanding body of work." And outstanding it is. Yesterday, I posted an article about Dirk Bogarde (Victim, Death in Venice, Despair), one of the rare performers anywhere on the planet to have consistently worked with world-class international filmmakers. The Paris-born Catherine Deneuve, who turns 70 next October 22, is another one of those lucky actors. (Photo: Catherine Deneuve at the Potiche premiere at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.) Deneuve’s directors have included an eclectic and prestigious list of filmmakers from various countries. Those include Belle de Jour and Tristana‘s Luis Buñuel; Le Sauvage and La Vie de Château‘s Jean-Paul Rappenau; The Hunger‘s Tony Scott; Un Flic‘s Jean-Pierre Melville; The Mississippi Mermaid and The Last Metro‘s François Truffaut »
- Andre Soares
Now that the dust has settled and the behemoth Tiff is in our rear-view mirror, the Ioncinema.com team are comparing notes, grading films and looking back at our personal experiences, our rapport with the films we saw and the characters that vividly remain with us. Among our favorite fest recaps, our discerning fivesome (Eric Lavallee, Jordan M. Smith, Nicholas Bell, Leora Heilbronn, Caitlin Coder) have created a Top 20 List of New Faces from the 2013 of up-and-coming actors and actresses (of all age demos) that stole some thunder in lead or supporting player roles. Here they are:
Unlike the characters of Emily and Tasha in Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto and Aron Gaudet & Gita Pullapilly’s Beneath the Harvest Sky, Zoe Levin‘s future is a a bright one. Respectively playing a teens suffering from suburban and country-setting ennui, in Palo Alto »
- IONCINEMA.com Contributing Writers
The title doesn’t work in English, but Fellini lovers won’t care. “How Strange to Be Named Federico: Scola Narrates Fellini” is Ettore Scola’s affectionate tribute to his friend, a magical trip through history and memory consisting of re-creations and clips that recount, in impressionistic scenes, the decades shared by these two deities of cinema. Scola distills the inventiveness of his beloved colleague, laying metaphorical flowers at Fellini’s exalted position in the grand pantheon of directors and bringing tears to the eyes of audiences happily in thrall to his imagination. Fests and ancillary should jump.
Those not familiar with Fellini’s legacy won’t be quite so captivated, which makes “How Strange” a perfect incentive for (and a welcome adjunct to) Fellini retrospectives. Cineastes conversant with “Amarcord” will recognize the model for Scola’s narrator (Vittorio Viviani), who sets the stage for the various episodes beginning »
- Jay Weissberg
Perhaps no two actors of the great Italian film heyday spanning Neorealism and beyond have such inimitable range, class and style as Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. Together they costarred in 12 films and worked with the masters and the grandaddies -- Fellini, Antonioni, De Sica, Visconti, et al. I recently viewed Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell," spotlighted in my column last week, and in that film one of Mastroianni and Loren's most exquisite pairings is briefly referenced for its thematic similarities to Polley's documentary. From 1964, Vittorio De Sica's "Marriage, Italian Style" -- nominated for two Oscars -- deals with domesticity, parenthood and (as in "Stories We Tell") uncertain paternity, and whether pursuing the answer to that uncertainty will get you anywhere at all. This late effort from the "Bicycle Thieves" director is a visually impeccable comedy of manners and errors, and a swooning May-December romance between a philandering businessman and the cunning, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
There's nothing Claudia Cardinale hates more than staying still, but for the past two months she's had to do exactly that. She broke her foot on holiday in Tunisia and has since been holed up in her Paris flat. "It was stupid," she says, in her distinctive Mediterranean rasp. "I was playing volleyball. There was water on the edge of swimming pool, and I slipped. I like to be active, so when I have to sit for two months without going out, it's terrible. I had many places to go and I had to refuse: Venice, Kiev, Osaka. Now it's Ok. Yesterday I went out for the first time, but the weather is ugly."
Cardinale is a survivor from the era when movie giants walked the earth – most of them alongside her. »
- Steve Rose
Curzon Film World has nabbed UK rights to David Gordon Green’s Venice competition drama Joe from WestEnd Films.
Based on the novel by Larry Brown, Niocolas Cage and Tye Sheridan star in the story of an unlikely friendship between a 15-year-old boy from a troubled family and the eponymous hard-drinking, tough-living Joe.
The film won Sheridan Venice’s Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor.
Curzon Film World, the distribution umbrella of label Artificial Eye, plans to release in 2014.
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
Director Gianfranco Rossi’s new doc Sacro Gra has taken home the coveted Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival’s most prestigious award. It’s the first documentary feature ever to win, which might have something to do with documentaries being excluded from the Festival until this year, but hey, it’s still exciting dammit. It’s a lion! And it’s golden! What awards have you won?
Sacro Gra includes interviews with a diversity of people from different backgrounds who live and work on Rome’s ring road. Rossi spent two years in a mini-van filming the production (I spent two years in a mini van once, now I can never go back to Luxembourg). The interviews Rossi obtained showcase a wide cross-section of society that included a count, a paramedic and a botanist tending the thoroughfare’s palm trees.
The film also marks the first Italian-made picture to win highest honour in fifteen years. »
- James Byiers
While I struggle to keep up at Tiff (good lord what a learning curve) the Venice Film Festival wrapped up and announced its awards. We didn't share them in a timely fashion. My apologies. The winners were...
Golden Lion: Sacro Gra (Gianfranco Rosi)
This surprise winner is a documentary about a famous highway in Rome. Sometimes non-sexy subject matter translates into great films.
Grand Jury Prize: Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-liang)
From the sounds of twitter this was the sensation of the festival though it doesn't screen at Tiff until after I leave town. *snifffle*
I have a terrible habit of skipping films which then become winners at festivals. This is also playing Toronto but descriptions make it sound like a Greek version of The Virgin Suicides and I didn't bite. In hindsight and »
- NATHANIEL R
Golden Lion – Sacro Gra, directed by Gianfranco Rosi
Grand Jury Prize – Stray Dogs, directed by Tsai Ming-liang
Special Jury Prize – The Police Officer's Wife, directed by Philip Gröning
Volpi Cup for Best Actress – Elena Cotta, A Street in Palermo
Special Orizzonti Prize for Innovative Content – Fish & Cat, directed by Shahram Mokri
Lion of the Future Award
Competition Fipresci Prize – Tom at the Farm, directed by Xavier Dolan »
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