Italian Film

FAI BEI SOGNI (2016)

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A film by Marco Bellocchio

Cast: Bérénice Bejo, Valerio Mastandrea, Fabrizio Gifuni, Emmanuelle Devos

English title: Sweat Dreams. 

Here is the life of  journalist Massimo Gramellini’s autobiographic novel Sweet Dreams, Little One, made into a movie by Marco Bellocchio.

At the age of nine, Massimo’s mother (Barbara Ronchi) dies. This tragic event haunts Massimo from his childhood to his adult years. He becomes a journalist. 30 years later he discover this little secret about his family. You first see the life of Massimo with his mother and the love she had for him. You see sweet dreams are the words that little Massimo’s mother whispered into his ear while he was sleeping, before she took her last breath. Lost without his mother Massimo was forced to grow up under that dark cloud of anguish. Because he was shy he sank refuge to his own imagination. He is having a hard time letting go the death of his mother despise all the success a s a journalist. One day he meets Elisa (Bérénice Bejo), a young  doctor, this allows him to come to terms with that childhood secret.  Bejo here doe know how to speak Italian, Espagnol, she is Argentinian and  she is married the French director Academy award winner for the film L’artist Michel Hazanavicius one of those actress that I love . Fai Bei sogni is a human tragedy, a tender movie that open the Cannes Film festival in 2016. A beautiful film.

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sweet-dreams

 

BLOW UP (1966)

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A film by Michelangelo Antonioni

Cast: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles

Americans flew to “swinging London” in the 1960s; today’s Londoners pile onto the charter jets to Orlando. Yes you are going to get used to this film with the loopy psychedelic colors and no I do not recommend that you take LSD watching this film although there is smoking marijuana although out this film well it is the 60’s and back then that was in fashion sort of speak.

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The movie stars David Hemmings, who became a 1960s icon after this performance as Thomas, a hot young photographer with a Beatles haircut, a Rolls convertible with models wanting for him to get a chance to pose for him. Nice life right? He spends his days in tightly scheduled photo shoots the model Verushka plays herself like I said nice life. Thomas wanders into a park and sees, at a distance, a man and a woman. Are they struggling? Playing? Flirting? He snaps a lot of photos. The woman (Vanessa Redgrave) runs after him. She desperately wants the film back. He refuses her and takes off.

Why does she wants the pictures? Well Thomas decided to find out. He boos up the pictures and sees something but what is it? There are different interpretation here and you will see what I mean when you see the film. I have my own and I bet it is different from yours. Yes there is a menage à trois scene and today, the sex seems tame, and what makes the audience gasp is the hero’s contempt for women. I put this film on my category of great movie  Do not miss it.

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LEA (2015)

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A film by Marco Tullio Giordana

Cast: Vanessa Scalera, Linda Caridi, Alessio Praticò

Lea grew up in a mafia family in Calabria. The father of her daughter Denise is also a member of the Mafia. Lea however wants a different life for her daughter, free of violence, fear and lies. She decides to cooperate with the justice, to benefit of the witness protection scheme and thus try to escape …Inspired by the true story of Lea Garofalo, the struggle of a woman to escape the Mafia.

Although this film is just now showing in France on the big screen it is a TV movie in Italy.  The director Marco Tullio Giordana, whose work has always been marked by political events in Italy in the 1970s and by the fight against the Mafia, recounts the struggle of a woman to find peace and secure her daughter,  who always risk her life. A character who has been able to break the code of silence. Vanessa Scarera (Lea Garofalo) incarnates the character to a T. Always trying to get rid of her boyfriend who is the mafia she is unable to do so and tries different tactics. No it is not a life for a kid not for a mother either as Denise grows up Lea see one solution to the problem. Marco Tullio tells the story of this Contemporary lesson in courage à l’italienne.

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LIKE CRAZY (2016)

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A film by Paolo Virzì

Cast: Micaela Ramazzotti, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Valentina Carnelutti

Villa Biondi is the Tuscan nut house for women where we first see Beatrice (Bruni Tedeschi), who can’t stop talking  and  superficially masters every social situation thanks to her stunning ability to invent one convincing lie after another. She manages to hold it together with the help of her meds.Then a newcomer Donatella (Ramazzotti), a painfully thin, tattooed mess who arrives bruised inside and out. She is withdrawn and distrusting of everyone.She retreats even further after Beatrice does an impression of a psychiatrist. Later after much snooping around it is reveals that Donatella is heavily medicated and has a child she once tried to kill. One day Beatrice and Donatella has a pass to go outside and yes here goes a road trip like crazy.

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A terrific dramatic comedy about two women in a mental institution that avoids the pitfalls such a scenario could encounter and a bragging  delicious dialogue with a rare sense of balance. Beatrice’s cascades of words are practically nonstop (it’s amazing Bruni Tedeschi took breaths), her character was flowing out of her naturally, it is a joy to see a talented actress at her best. Ramazzotti, painfully thin for the role and looking like she has eat in day and being in a drug rehab transforms herself into a woman who is damage on the inside deep on the inside, here is an other terrific actress that has chemistry with Tedeschi. The two desert each other here with such a brilliant scenario that have a remarkable dialogue. Here is a different road trip with 2 female who are emotionally damaged. Summer light and heat inform the bright, saturated visuals capturing the beautiful Tuscany landscape. How not to love those two woman like crazy. Seriously a jewel of a movie that you must not miss.

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EL MERCENARIO (1968)

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A film by Sergio Corbucci

Cast: Franco Nero, Tony Musante, Franco Giacobini, Jack Palance

The year is 1915 and the story of The Mercenary takes place in the middle of the Mexican revolution. Paco (Tony Musante), is disguised as a clown as he performs for an audience, that is the opening shot soon to be narrated and to takes us back on how Paco got here. Jaco works at the mine where they are all miss treated and fed poorly. Soon after that Paco and his comrades wants to over town the government. Enters  a Polish gunfighter (Franco Nero) that Paco hires to help him in his quest.  Along the way Paco clashes with Ricciolo (Jack Palance), who wants his revenge against Paco.

Corbucci directed several Spaghetti Westerns, like The Great Silence, Compañeros and The Mercenary. Ennio Morricone would compose 7 Spaghetti Western scores for Corbucci. And yes there is gun fight, bar fight, machine gun fight, a airplane, and cars plus a lot of explosion the thing that would expect in a spaghetti western. Be sure that Tarantino was influence by this film. And to top it all off there is comedy and one liner plus the actors delivers their roles perfectly well. Have fun with this one.

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EL-MERCENARIO

 

CINEMA PARADISO (1988)

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A film by Giuseppe Tornatore

Cast: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili

Cinema Paradiso has won a multitude of awards and yes they have won at the oscar for best foreign film. Now there is two version of the film the theater’s cut and the director’s cut I recommend you to see the director’s cut because the theater’s cut it is missing 50 minutes of film. I know they do that, it is the best 100 film of all time. So if you missed this one I suggest to see it as soon as possible.

The film has two main characters: old Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), who rules the projection booth, and young Salvatore (Salvatore Cascio), who makes the booth his home away from  home.As the patrons line up faithfully, night after night, for their hunger for films without kisses, (well you will have to see the film) the boy watches in wonder as Alfredo wrestles with the balky machine that throws the image that the boy dreams of. You see the movie takes places in a little town in Sicily before television. At first Alfredo tries to chase Salvatore away, but eventually he accepts him in his booth and teaches him how to work the machine eventually although Salvator knows how as he was watching Alfredo doing it. Salvatore certainly considers the old man his father, and  the movies as his mother. Tornatore tells us in an autobiographical note that the theater in his hometown, when he was growing up has a variety of film. Although in the film they were watching all kind of film to foreign film even hollywood movies. We become to know the patrons of the theater who are rude and tough critics. Romances are taking place in the theater, wine is drunk, cigarettes smoked, babies nursed, well you get the point. and yet they were not allowed to watch kissing on screen.

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The film is told in flash back . to the beginning where Salvatore was a child then a teenager and a young man. we see him growing up and falling in love. Salvatore has lived a deprived life but the screen can compensate for that but Salvatore was an apprentice of film.Yes, it is tragic that the big screen has been replaced by the little one. But here in France anyway people goes to the movie theater actually they are building more The are called UGC and there are also Gaumont plus the little theater privately own. I have the UGC MK2 unlimited card to watch films for $24 a month. Yeah  I know lucky. I prefer the big theater than the privately own were there seat at least 70 people. This is a great film and if you are a film buff this one should be on your list. The ending is too dam good. This is the first time I saw this film and I am going to see it again soon.

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IL COMMISSARIO PEPE (1969)

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A film by Ettore Scola

Cast: Ugo Tognazzi, Silvia Dionisio, Tano Cimarosa

Here is a neat little film. A police commissioner in a little town in the Italian Venetian province investigates a prostitution ring run by two dudes; during his investigations he also learns that a former manicurist shacks up with ten students, the chief of police ’s daughter is a  prostitutes who has a  pimp, a famous doctor has sex with his young patients, a headmaster has his eyes on the students (well you know what I mean), a noblewoman organizes orgies in her villa, the local convent is run by a dyke and her actual girlfriend poses for a hardcore magazine. He wants everything to come out in the open but his superiors try to slowing him down.

Nice little town there would you say. This is well filmed and has humor in it but done in a nicest way possible. The commissaire is going a little nuts of what he is discovering. But his superiors do not want him to do anything about it it is fine the way it is for them. You se the commissaire gets letters from the guilty parties who tells them this is going on at that  house. He is trying to do a dossier about it and give it to his superior but he knows too well that nothing tis going to be done. I love this film the fact that it is done nicely with some great dialogue and smart remarks to go with it. The fact that is is film in italic back in the late 60’s with this cool music to go with it you will have a good time -watching it.

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