Following his passionate involvement in the 1968 demonstrations (Maselli was one of the supporters of the protest at the 1969 Venice Biennial), he made two explicitly “political” films, Lettera aperta ad un giornale della sera (1970) and Il sospetto di Francesco Maselli (1975). In Lettera ad un giornale della sera, which prompted fierce discussion about the idea of “political commitment” amongst left-wing intellectuals, Maselli played one of the characters, thereby openly involving himself in the debate, together with Nanni Loy and other politically active colleagues and friends.
For this film, Maselli used a style which in many ways was similar to certain paradigms of “cinema-verité”: the film was shot in 16 mm with heavy use of the zoom, the hand-held camera and out-of-sync sound.
Maselli returned to a more relaxed cinematic language and a more concise structure with Il sospetto. Dubbed “one of the best political films of all time”, it was set in the year of the “turning-point” (1934), one of the most important moments in the evolution of the Communist party.
Gian Maria Volonté gave a splendid performance in the role of Emilio, the protagonist, a militant Communist who has emigrated to France, embroiled in an affair so fraught that it turns into a thriller. Continue reading
The Hawks and the Sparrows (Italian: Uccellacci e uccellini, literally Bad Birds and Little Birds) is a 1966 Italian film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It was entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.
The movie is a post-neorealist story about Totò, the beloved stone-faced clown of Italian folk-stories.
Originally Uccellacci e Uccellini, The Hawks and the Sparrows was adapted by director Pier Paolo Pasolini from his own novel. Italian comedian Toto plays a dual role, as “himself” and 12th century monk Brother Ciccillo. In modern times, Toto and his son Ninetto Davoli come across a talking crow who insists upon asking them where they’re going. The answer, it turns out, is eight centuries into the past, where Toto and Davoli become monks, employed by Francis of Assisi to convert the birds of the world to Christianity. Unfortunately, every sparrow that they win over to God is devoured by a hawk. Back in the present, Toto and Davoli face a similar situation when their landlord threatens them with eviction. After various and sundry misadventures, the two human protagonists, growing weary of the philosophical crow’s loquaciousness, eat the bird and move on, prepared to face whatever life brings them without the “help” of their feathered friend. The symbolism in The Hawks and the Sparrows is so obvious as to be funny, which was Pasolini’s intention all along.
Hal Erickson Continue reading
Cleaners, emigrants from all over the world, work in night shift at studio sound stages where Italian soap operas are filmed. Once they find unlocked one of the doors to rooms where cameras and shooting equipment is stored. And Hindu Dilip stumbles on a great idea: to film his friend’s wedding ceremony as a gift to him. Quite soon this idea becomes the second source of income for the whole shift team of cleaners and changes their lives forever. After many ceremonies and guest nights they decide to use the empty sound stages at night to film the real stories of real people. The TV «soap» during the day and the real life stories at night… A small screw in the huge television machine. But how long will it last?
Review from the Criterion website :
This was Roberto Rossellini’s revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it. Though told with more melodramatic flair than the other films that would form this trilogy and starring some well-known actors—Aldo Fabrizi as a priest helping the partisan cause and Anna Magnani in her breakthrough role as the fiancée of a resistance member—Rome Open City (Roma città aperta) is a shockingly authentic experience, conceived and directed amid the ruin of World War II, with immediacy in every frame. Marking a watershed moment in Italian cinema, this galvanic work garnered awards around the globe and left the beginnings of a new film movement in its wake. Continue reading
The story of an aging writer who bitterly recollects his passionate, lost youth. A portrait of today’s Rome.
Rome in all its splendor and superficiality, artifice and significance, becomes an enormous banquet too rich to digest in one sitting in Paolo Sorrentino’s densely packed, often astonishing “The Great Beauty.” A tribute to, and castigation of, the city whose magnificence has famously entrapped its residents in existential crises, the pic follows a stalled author gradually awakening from the slumber of intellectual paralysis. Very much Sorrentino’s modern take on the themes of Fellini’s “La dolce vita,” emphasizing the emptiness of society amusements, “Great Beauty” will surprise, perplex and bewitch highbrow audiences yearning for big cinematic feasts…
Jay Weissberg, Variety
A group of rogues steal a scroll granting its bearer the property of the land of Aurocastro in Apulia (south of Italy). They elect a shaggy knight, Brancaleone from Norcia, as their leader, and decide to get possession of this supposedly wealthy land. Many adventures will occurr during the journey. Continue reading
Michele Grassadonia is a fervent environmentalist. A long time ago, he moved from Palermo to Siena, its ideal city. He has carried out an experiment in his flat for longer than one year: living in full self-sufficiency, without running water or electricity. On a rainy night, Michele gets caught up in a series of confusing and mysterious events. From this moment on, his joyful experience in the ideal city starts to waver. Continue reading