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The Forgotten: Spies Like U.S.

Luigi Comencini's oeuvre is just bulging with goodies, a cinematic Santa-sack encompassing multiple genres and tones, in a career running from the late forties to the early nineties. I recently sang the praises of his desperate gambling comedy The Scientific Card Player, but he also made films about Casanova's boyhood, virtual reality and, in Italian Secret Service (1968), the then-resurgent espionage genre, Italian and world politics, and the decline of Italian idealism since the war.Just as Pietro Germi's Divorce: Italian Style was about murder, and De Sica's Marriage: Italian Style took in adultery, betrayal and uncertain parentage, so Comencini's title contains a bitter joke: we know this intelligence service is going to be sordid, stupid and utterly lacking in the accustomed James Bond lifestyle.But we first meet our hero, dashing Nino Manfredi, in the happier times of WWII, saving an English commando (Clive Revill) from a fascist
See full article at MUBI »

The Executioner (El Verdugo)

Now for something truly remarkable from the neglected Spanish cinema. Luis García Berlanga's wicked satire is a humanistic black comedy, free of cynicism. The borderline Kafkaesque situation of an everyman forced into a profession that horrifies him is funny and warm hearted - but with a ruthless logic that points to universal issues beyond Franco Fascism. The Executioner Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 840 1963 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 92 min. / El Verdugo / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date October 25, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Nino Manfredi, Emma Penella, José Isbert . Cinematography Tonino Delli Colli Film Editor Afonso Santacana Original Music Miguel Asins Arbó Written by Luis García Berlanga, Rafael Azcona, Ennio Flaiano Produced by Nazario Belmar Directed by Luis García Berlanga

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Criterion brings us 1963's The Executioner (El Verdugo), a major discovery for film fans that thought Spanish cinema began and ended with Luis Buñuel. I've seen politically-charged Spanish films from
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Joshua Reviews Luis Garcia Berlanga’s The Executioner [Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review]

We here at The CriterionCast wear our admiration for The Criterion Collection squarely on our sleeves. Not only is it in the very title of this website and the podcast from which it spawned, but it is in the very DNA of what we strive to do through both ventures. At their very best, The Criterion Collection doesn’t so much bring to light gloriously dense home video releases of beloved, crystal clear classics from the history of film, but instead highlights lesser known masterpieces from throughout the world and spanning the entirety of film’s history as an artform. Be it esoteric experimental works like that of director Jean Painleve to baroque world cinema classics like La Cienaga, Criterion’s greatest achievement is giving the world a new glimpse at world history through the lens of those directors commenting on it through their films.

And few films quite hit
See full article at CriterionCast »

I Knew Her Well (Io la conoscevo bene)

She's beautiful, desired and enjoys a social mobility in the improving Italian economy... but she's also a pawn of cruel materialist values. Stefania Sandrelli personifies a liberated spirit who lives for the moment, but who can't form the relationships we call 'living.' Antonio Pietrangeli and Ettore Scola slip an insightful drama into the young Sandrelli's lineup of comedy roles. I Knew Her Well Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 801 1965 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 115 min. / Io la conoscevo bene / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date February 23, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Stefania Sandrelli, Mario Adorf, Jean-Claude Brialy, Joachim Fuchsberger, Nino Manfredi, Enrico Maria Salerno, Ugo Tognazzi, Karin Dor, Franco Nero. Cinematography Armando Nannuzzi Production design Maurizio Chiari Film Editor Franco Fraticelli Original Music Piero Picconi Written by Antonio Pietrangeli, Ruggero Maccari, Etore Scola Produced by Turi Vasile Directed by Antonio Pietrangeli

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Did a new kind of woman emerge in the 1960s?
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Ettore Scola obituary

Film director who found international success with We All Loved Each Other So Much and A Special Day, starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni

Ettore Scola, who has died aged 84, was the last in the direct line of great Italian film directors who descended from the neo-realists of the 1940s. “The inequalities and corruption of Italian society have always been a rich source of inspiration for my cinema, which I inherited from the neo-realists,” remarked Scola, who generally used satire and farce to pour scorn on the Italian social-democratic regimes from the 1960s onwards. Many of his “Italian style” films, the majority of which had ambivalent main characters played by Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio Gassman and Nino Manfredi, take place against a background of historic events.

Typical was Scola’s first international success, We All Loved Each Other So Much (C’eravamo Tanto Amati, 1975), in which three men from different backgrounds
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Venice Classics line-up revealed

  • ScreenDaily
The Venice Film Festival has unveiled the 21 restored films – 18 features and 3 shorts - that will screen in its Classics section of restored films.

The section, introduced in 2012, features a selection of classic film restorations completed over the past year by film libraries, cultural institutions or production companies around the world.

Director Giuliano Montaldo will chair the jury of film students which will award the Venice Classics Award for Best Restored Film and for Best Documentary on Cinema.

The 2014 Venice Classics line up:

Features

Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses), dir François Truffaut (France, 1968, Colour) restored by : Mk2

Bez końca (No End), dir Krzysztof Kieślowski (Poland, 1984, 108’, Colour) restored by: Studio Filmowe Tor with the support of the National Audiovisual Institute (the Multiannual Government Programme Culture +) and the Polish Film Institute

Gelin (Bride), dir Omer Lütfi Akad (Turkey, 1973, 92’, Colour) restored by: Erman Film

Guys and Dolls, dir Joseph L. Mankiewicz (USA, 1955, 150’, Colour) restored by: Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Imaging and [link
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Three Movies Selected in Efa's 2013 Animated Feature Category

The Congress,’ ‘Jasmine,’ ‘Pinocchio’: 2013 European Film Awards’ Best Animated Feature Film nominations (Robin Wright in ‘The Congress’) The European Film Academy has announced the three nominees in the 2013 European Film Awards’ Best Animated Feature Film category. They are the following: The Congress (Israel / Germany / Poland / Luxembourg / France / Belgium), written and directed by Ari Folman, from a novel by Stanislaw Lem. Animation by Yoni Goodman. Jasmine (France), directed by Alain Ughetto, from a screenplay by Ughetto — who also provided the animation — and Jacques Reboud, with the collaboration of Chloé Inguenaud. Pinocchio (Italy / Luxembourg / France / Belgium), directed by Enzo D’Alò, from a screenplay by D’Alò and Umberto Marino. Animation by Marco Zanoni. Best European Animated Feature Film nominees: ‘The Congress,’ ‘Jasmine,’ ‘Pinocchio’ Featuring Robin Wright (as herself), Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Paul Giamatti, Danny Huston, Michael Stahl-David, and Michael Landers, The Congress shows how actress Robin Wright,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Alberto Bevilacqua obituary

Italian writer, poet and film-maker who adapted and directed his own novels for the screen

The distinguished Italian novelist, poet and film-maker Alberto Bevilacqua has died aged 79. Bevilacqua was one of the most respected new Italian writers of the 1960s and won fame with two novels, both of which he adapted and directed successfully for the screen: La Califfa (The Lady Caliph), published in 1964 and filmed in 1970, and Questa Specie d'Amore (This Kind of Love), published in 1966 and filmed in 1972.

Bevilacqua was born in Parma and raised in a poor family. In his youth he wrote the novel Una Città in Amore (City of Love), which was reworked and published much later, about his adolescence in Parma and how he and his family took part in the Resistance movement. In 1955 he wrote a book of stories about local life in Parma, La Polvere sull'Erba (Dust in the grass), which was
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

'The Voice Of Rome' Dies At 95

'The Voice Of Rome' Dies At 95
Rome — Armando Trovajoli, an Italian who composed music for some 300 films and whose lush and playful serenade to Rome is a much-requested romantic standby for tourists, has died at age 95.

The city's mayor, Gianni Alemanno, mourned Trovajoli's passing, saying in a statement that `'the voice of Rome has been extinguished." The Italian news agency Ansa said widow Maria Paola Trovajoli announced the death Saturday, saying her husband had died a few days before in Rome but declining to give the exact date.

Roman by birth, Trovajoli began his musical career as a pianist, playing jazz and dance music. He appeared with many jazz stars, among them Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong, Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt.

In the 1950s, his prolific relationship with the film world took flight. Travojoli composed for many of Italy's hit movies of the next decades, especially comedies.

He wrote the music for
See full article at Huffington Post »

Alfredo Bini obituary

Producer of Pier Paolo Pasolini's early films

Though an enterprising film producer, often ahead of his times, Alfredo Bini, who has died aged 83, is best remembered for having given the poet Pier Paolo Pasolini the chance to make his debut as a film-maker with Accattone (1960), when no other film company was prepared to back it. Bini produced more than 40 films, including all the features made by Pasolini up until 1967, including Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to St Matthew, 1964). Among his other films were many starring his wife, Rosanna Schiaffino.

Bini was born in Livorno, Tuscany, and, during the second world war, ran away from home to join the army. He was wounded and got a medal, but went back to finish his studies in biology. He soon gave up the idea of a scientific career and in 1945 moved to Rome, where, after taking on various jobs, he managed a theatre group.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Venice Film Festival: John Exshaw's Report #3

  • CinemaRetro
Monday night, watched a 1959 movie called Venezia, la luna e tu (‘Venice, the Moon and You’), in which Alberto Sordi played a gondolier who – you’ve guessed it – gets involved with two silly foreign girls. With only Tonino Delli Colli’s colour photography to recommend it, the main surprise of the film was in seeing Sordi, Nino Manfredi, and director Dino Risi – all of whom, a year or so later, became leading figures in the commedia all’italiana movement which cast a critical eye on contemporary mores in a changing Italy – caught up in such an inconsequential piece of fluff.

Tuesday morning: As there was nothing kicking off on the Lido till the evening, I caught a vaporetto over to Dorsoduro and made my way to the church of San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, which Donald Sutherland worked so hard to restore in Don’t Look Now. Obviously, whoever took over
See full article at CinemaRetro »

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