Lucio Fulci – I Maniaci aka The Maniacs (1964)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot Synopsis by Robert Firsching
A minor comedy from Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci (Zombi 2; L’Aldila), this anthology is of interest primarily to cult devotees for marking the notorious director’s only collaboration with legendary “scream queen” Barbara Steele (La Maschera del Demonio). Lushly photographed and filled with popular comedians of the era (including Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia, who made several of their “Franco and Ciccio” comedies with Fulci), the film’s sketches spotlight various manias. As might be expected, nymphomania gets an extended treatment, with all the requisite mugging, leering, and smarmy asides common to Italian comedies of the period, as well as a lengthy parade of songs, many scored by Ennio Morricone, and some international burlesque performers. Enrico Maria Salerno and Walter Chiari lead a cast which includes Lisa Gastoni, Gaia Germani, Umberto d’Orsi, and Raimondo Vianello. Continue reading

Federico Fellini – Giulietta degli spiriti AKA Juliet of the Spirits (1965)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Fellini lore has it that the master made “Juliet of the Spirits” as a gift for his wife. Like many husbands, he gave her the gift he really wanted for himself. The movie, starring a sad-eyed Giulietta Masina who fears her husband is cheating, suggests she’d be happier if she were more like her neighbor, a buxom temptress who entertains men in a tree house. Continue reading

Alfredo De Antoni – Il processo Clémenceau (1917)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
It is ironic that the very few references to this excellent film that I was able to find online all referred simply to the fact that this was Vittorio De Sica’s first film!? And, it is true of course that the young De Sica appears in the film briefly as the son of the Clemenceaus, but the film has so much more to offer… Based on Alexandre Dumas fils’ novel, the film stars Francesca Bertinini as Iza in this tragedy of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage. At 107 minutes, this was a lengthy film for 1917. It is divided into two parts, chronicling the life of Iza as a girl or young woman, and her life as an adult. The story is told through the pen of her husband, and this is in several ways important in appreciating the subtle weight of what could on the surface look like a “typical” Diva film of the era, but which does in fact carry more psychological weight, and was inspired by the more complex dramas that Asta Nielsen starred in during the early teens. Continue reading

Marco Righi – I giorni della vendemmia AKA Days of Harvest (2010)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
1984. In the sultry, still sunny September of that Emilian rural district most soaked with catholicism and home-grown socialism, Elia, a teenager grown out of these horizons, lives with his parents: William, his father, who has got a strong ideological tendency to marxism, Maddalena, his mother, very prayerful, and his grandmother; with the ghost of his older brother Samuele, whos not coming back home since a whole year. It is harvest time in the small vineyard next to home, so the days of harvest begin and in order to give some help in the field arrives also Emilia, the nearly grown-up granddaugther of an old couple living in Elias same small town. The young woman decides to go back to her grandparents country town for a short time, to write her degree thesis and, in the meanwhile, to earn some money for a wee trip shes been planning for a while. Conceited and nonchalant, Emilia is a true revolution in the ordinary every day life of the provincial teenager but, in spite of everything… Continue reading

Franco Piavoli – Il Pianeta Azzurro AKA The Blue Planet [+Extras] (1982)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis
The film follows the cycle of the seasons upon a rural landscape, from the reawakening of life following the Winter thaw to the blossoming of Spring, the heat of Summer working in the fields and the twilight of Autumn. Man is confronted by nature through the succession of seasons and in the essential moments of his existence: youth, love, food, work, pain. Continue reading

Guido Brignone – Maciste all’inferno AKA Maciste in Hell (1925)

http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/5104/bscap000qf9.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Scifilm wrote:
Maciste is tempted by the devil, and ends up trapped in hell when he elects to fight him.

Bartolomeo Pagano played Maciste in the 1914 movie CABIRIA; he must have liked the character; he ended up playing him repeatedly in a variety of movies over the next twenty years. I do wonder about the character’s position in time; CABIRIA took place in ancient Rome, but even if I’m not sure when this movie takes place, it’s certainly a much later period of time; Maciste wears a suit and tie through most of this, and at one point he is tempted with some shots of very modern cities indeed. Nonetheless, the fantasy element is very strong; the scenes in hell are great, with a huge cast of demons and fiends, including a couple of giant demons, a flying dragon, and some great special effects. It’s based at least partially on Dante’s “Inferno”, and it includes both Lucifer, Pluto and Proserpine as characters. I would love to have seen some of the other early Maciste movies just to see what the character’s story was, but this one and CABIRIA are the only ones I know exist for sure. It’s definitely worth a look for people interested in creative visions of hell; the movie apparently served as an inspiration both for Mario Bava and Federico Fellini. Continue reading

Liliana Cavani – Al di là del bene e del male aka Beyond Good and Evil (1977)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

About the movie
Beyond Good and Evil (Italian: Al di là del bene e del male, UK title: Beyond Evil) is a 1977 drama film directed by Liliana Cavani. It stars Dominique Sanda, Erland Josephson and Robert Powell. The film follows the intense relationship formed in the 1880s between Friedrich Nietzsche, Lou Salome and Paul Rée. This is the second part of “The German Trilogy” directed by Liliana Cavani. In The Night Porter she described connection between perversion and fascism. This time she describes life of Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher who wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil. Virna Lisi won Nastro d’Argento Best supporting Actress award Nastro d’Argento (Silver Ribbon) from the ‘Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists’. Continue reading