3 items from 2011
Italian film director celebrated for his insightful short films
The film director Vittorio De Seta, who has died aged 88, was best known for his short films. A selection of these, made in Sicily and Sardinia in the 1950s, was presented by Martin Scorsese at the 2005 Tribeca film festival in New York. Scorsese described De Seta's style as that of "an anthropologist who speaks with the voice of a poet". The film historian Goffredo Fofi has hailed De Seta as an Italian director "to be remembered alongside the Rossellinis and De Sicas, the Antonionis and the Fellinis"; he also deserves to be remembered alongside the great poetic documentary makers, such as Robert Flaherty, Humphrey Jennings and Basil Wright.
De Seta was born in Palermo, Sicily, to an aristocratic landowning family from Calabria. He enrolled in the navy during the second world war and, after the armistice in 1943, refused to sign allegiance »
- John Francis Lane
La Stampa is among the Italian papers and other news sources reporting on yesterday's passing of director and screenwriter Vittorio De Seta. When MoMA presented a retrospective in 2006, the curators noted that De Seta "was born into a noble Calabrian family in Palermo," studied film in Rome in the 1940s and broke "from the official cinema in the 1950s with a series of acclaimed documentaries made in Sicily, Sardinia and Calabria. Characterized by beautiful color, keen observation, and ambient soundtracks without narration, these works depict the customs of rural Italian laborers and families."
Just last month, the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival presented a series of De Seta's work: "In 1953, he worked as an assistant to French director [Jean-Paul] Le Chanois. His first documentary, Easter in Sicily, was filmed the following year. As a documentarian, he has visited villages, sulfur mines, and the remote Sardinian mountains. The Time of the Swordfish received an award at Cannes, »
With 2010 only a week over, it already feels like best-of and top-ten lists have been pouring in for months, and we’re already tired of them: the ranking, the exclusions (and inclusions), the rules and the qualifiers. Some people got to see films at festivals, others only catch movies on video; and the ability for us, or any publication, to come up with a system to fairly determine who saw what when and what they thought was the best seems an impossible feat. That doesn’t stop most people from doing it, but we liked the fantasy double features we did last year and for our 3rd Writers Poll we thought we'd do it again.
I asked our contributors to pick a single new film they saw in 2010—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they saw in 2010 to create a unique double feature. »
3 items from 2011
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