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Italy

Lucio Fulci – Non si sevizia un paperino AKA Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

SYNOPSIS
An often overlooked but accomplished giallo (Italian detective story) from the macabre mind of Italian director Fulci. After several small boys are found murdered in a small town, a journalist goes in search of the killer. Even in a town steeped in ancient superstitions and suspicion, the twisted motives of the murderer are more shocking than anyone could have ever imagined. (Rotten Tomatoes)

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Amleto Palermi – Cavalleria rusticana (1939)

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PLOT & Review:
(Contains some spoilers)

Quote:
This film was not based on the famous one-act opera of Pietro Mascagni but rather on the original story by the Sicilian writer Giovanni Verga. It’s the story of Santuzza, her love Turiddu, and his passion for the married Lola that leads to his death in a duel when Lola’s husband Alfio exacts satisfaction. Santuzza’s curse leveled at unfaithful Turiddu, “A te la mala Pasqua!” (“Hope you have a bad Easter!”) is a memorable moment… as it was in Mascagni’s opera.

All Sicilian passion and emotion, the film is shot against authentic Sicilian backgrounds. There are wonderful colorful sequences of villagers riding in decorated traditionally decorated carts. Those scenes are so vivid you almost don’t notice the absence of color in this black and white film. Mount Etna looms in the background, suggestive of the smoking volcanic passions of some of the characters we see living near it. Read More »

Joris Ivens, Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani – L’Italia non è un paese povero (1960)

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According to Carlos Böker’s thesis, Joris Ivens, Film-Maker: Facing Reality (“Studies in Photography and Cinematography, No. 1”, UMI Research Press, 1978):

Quote:
…… Ivens was approached by Enrico Mattei, head of ENI, the Italian State Natural Gas Monopoly. Mattei, who died mysteriously in an air crash in 1962, and was the subject of a later film by Francesco Rosi (Il caso Mattei, The Mattei Affair, 1972), had been put in charge of ENI on the understanding that he would wind it up. However, he expanded its activities and investment programme against much internal political opposition and external opposition from the US-controlled multinational oil firms. Ivens’s films, collectively entitled Italia non è un Paese povero, were to be shown on television. The first part, Fuochi della Val Padana (Fire in the Po Valley), deals with the extraction and distribution of methane in the Po Valley. The second part is divided in two: Due città (Two Cities), devoted to Venice (Porto Maghera) and Ravenna, is a treatment of the production of agipgaz and its by-products; and La storia di due alberi (The Story of Two Trees), set in Lucania, which contrasts the impoverishment of peasant life in a southern village, where seven families are dependent on one olive tree, with the future benefits to come through the newly exploited natural resource (mechanisms for controlling the gas outlets, lit up at night, are called “Christmas trees”). Read More »

Renato Castellani – Due soldi di speranza AKA Two Cents Worth of Hope (1952)

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Synopsis:
The story concerns the romance between Carmela and Antonio. Faced with the hostility of their parents, they symbolically shed themselves of all responsibilities to others in a climactic act of stark-naked bravado.
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Alessandro Blasetti – Retroscena (1939)

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Review (amazon.com)
Un celebre baritono incontra sul piroscafo che lo conduce dall’America in Italia, una non meno celebre pianista. Costei è ricchissima e superba. Il baritono se ne innamora ma soffre per l’alterigia di lei. Poiché la ragazza ha beffato alcuni cantanti che si sono esibiti durante un concerto a bordo, il baritono si rifiuta di cantare, ed anzi, se la ragazza non promette di starsene rinchiusa nel camerino della Scala, egli è deciso a non partecipare alle recite liriche per cui è stato scritturato a Milano. Per quanto altezzosa la ragazza, che ricambia segretamente i sentimenti dell’uomo, si reca durante il suo debutto nel camerino di lui. Intanto un famoso critico nega qualunque valore al nuovo cantante, anche perché è geloso dell’interessamento che la ricca ereditiera dimostra per lui. Il cantante, d’accordo con la direzione del teatro, si presenta in una nuova opera sotto il nome di un suo collega polacco, di cui il critico è entusiasta. Durante l’intervallo egli, alla presenza di tutti, svela la propria identità al critico stesso che aveva tessuto pubblicamente le lodi dell’interprete straniero. Dopo questa vittoria egli ha modo di conoscere i veri sentimenti della ragazza di cui è innamorato. I due concluderanno l’avventura con il matrimonio. Read More »

Mario Camerini – Rotaie aka Rails (1929)

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A young honeymooning couple are lured away to a seaside resort by a high-society sleazeball, who has plans to seduce the girl, while at the same time her hubby in desperation stakes all his money on the roulette wheels. Read More »

Roberto Roberti – Napoli che canta AKA When Naples sings (1926)

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From il cinema muto italiano 1923-1931:
Si tratta di una antologia di canzoni napoletane, interprete dai maggiori cantanti dell’epoca, i quali seguirono alcune prime visioni, cantando direttamente sotto lo schermo.

Translation:
This is an anthology of Neapolitan songs, singers from the major interpreter of the time, which followed some premieres, singing directly below the screen. Read More »