Benvenuto Novembre! New Italian Cinema starts Wednesday, November 13, with a line-up of 14 new films and a spotlight on Neapolitan cinema, through Sunday, at San Francisco’s Landmark Clay Theatre
Celebrating its 17th year, New Italian Cinema (NIC) is the much-loved annual festival of newly-released Italian films which comes to San Francisco every November. NIC opens tomorrow, November 13, at San Francisco’s Landmark Clay Theatre with Garibaldi’s Lovers, the latest film from Silvio Soldini (Days and Clouds, 2007), and will feature a Closing Night tribute to Paolo Sorrentino (This Must Be the Place, 2011) that includes a screening of his new film The Great Beauty. NIC 2013 will screen a total of 14 new films, including a three-film spotlight of recent Neapolitan cinema and eight terrific features by up-and-coming directors entered in the City of Florence Award competition. Decided by audience ballot, this annual award is announced at Closing Night on Sunday, November 17. There is also a fabulous Closing Night Party at 1300 On Fillmore, known for Chef David Lawrence’s inspired soul food and its smooth jazz. The program eases into weekend by offering two films on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings starting and four films on both Saturday and Sunday.
NIC provides the opportunity not only to see these films before they are widely available (and some will always be difficult to find outside Italy) but also to experience them presented by directors, actors, producers and other involved parties, and to participate in lively Q&A’s about the films. Attending this year: Silvio Soldini, director, Garibaldi’s Lovers (Opening Night film); Paolo Sorrentino, director, The Great Beauty (Closing Night film); Stefano Mordini, director, Steel; and actor Luigi Maria Burruano who appears in The Ideal City. Thematically, this year’s NIC delves into issues of economic instability, cultural and familial conflict and metropolitan living.
NIC is organized by the San Francisco Film Society, in collaboration with New Italian Cinema Events (nicefestival.org) and Italian Cultural Institute, San Francisco, under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy. NIC is one of more than 200 participating events taking place in more than 50 American cities this year in recognition of 2013 The Year of Italian Culture in the United States.
The charming venue, Clay Theatre, situated on the busting Fillmore Street, was built in 1910 and is one of the oldest theatres in San Francisco (refurbished with comfortable new seats).
Thursday 6:45 pm: There Will Come a Day (Un giorno devi andare) (Georgio Diritti, Italy/France 2013)
Having suffered the double whammy of losing her baby and then being abandoned by her husband for her inability to have children, soulful Augusta (Jasmine Trinca) flees Italy for the Brazilian Amazon to restore some meaning to her life. There, hoping to do aid work, she joins up with Franca, a hard-line Catholic whose conversion tactics clash with her own spiritual values. As the two women float down the river in a houseboat ministering to indigenous peoples, Augusta grows increasingly frustrated and leaves. She ultimately ends up in the favelas in the port city of Manaus doing work that seems authentic and right for her. Depicting Augusta’s journey with compassion and complexity and an often astonishing visual magnificence, director Giorgio Diritti’s second feature film is a work of great beauty about finding one’s place in this world, something all of us grapple with. Diritti (The Man Who Will Come, SFIFF 2010) also address important issues like the surge in World Evangelism, the displacement of poor Brazilians (in preparation for the World Cup and Olympics), the Amazon’s fragile ecology, and the widening disparity between rich and poor. Augusta’s story is delicately interwoven with that of her mother and new adoptive sister whose set-backs and own emotional wounding make for a compelling story of suffering, growth, and spiritual healing. Features aerial shots of the grandeur of the Amazon. 110 minutes.
Sunday 6:00 pm Closing Night Film: The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza, Paolo Sorrentino, Italy/France 2013)
(Sunday 6:00 pm Closing Night Film) The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza, Paolo Sorrentino, Italy/France 2013) In Italian, “grande bellezza,” like “grande tristezza,” can relate to love, sex, art, or death. In Paolo Sorrentino’s swooning epic, it refers to Rome, and Sorrentino evokes the eternal city with exacting panache, melancholy, and knowing. It’s also been hailed as a very timely reflection on the excesses and stagnation of Italy in the era of prime minister Berlusconi. The film premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it was a contender for the Palme d’Or and has been selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. It reunites Sorrentino with his favorite leading man, Toni Servillo, Italy’s leading stage and screen actor, who has starred in three of his previous films— films One Man Up (2001), The Consequences of Love (2004), and Il Divo (2008). Servillo plays aging Roman playboy Jep Gambardella, a man who wrote one promising novel in his youth and, since then, has lived on its fumes. A cultivated gentleman by day; at night, Jep chases away death and introspection by hosting wild parties to the stylish elite at night. Following his 65th birthday and a shocking news about a long lost love, Jep looks beyond his shallow and amusing world to find a timeless Roman landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty—a classic in the high Italian style of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and Antonioni’s La Notte. (142 mins.)
New Italian Cinema 2013 line up:
12:15pm We Believed (Mario Martone, 2010) Neapolitan Retrospective*
4:15pm Ali Blue Eyes (Claudio Giovannesi, 2012)
6:30pm Out of the Blue (Edorado Leo, 2013)
9:00pm The Interval (Leonardo di Costanzo, 2012)
1:00pm Gorbaciof (Stefano Incerti, 2010) Neapolitan Retrospective*
3:00pm The Ideal City (Luigi Lo Cascio, 2012) Luigi Maria Burruano, actor, attending*
6:00pm Closing Night Film: The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013) filmmaker attending*
9:15pm Closing Night Reception at 1300 on Fillmore
9:30pm One Man Up (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
Details: New Italian Cinema is November 13-17, 2013 at San Francisco’s Landmark Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore Street, San Francisco. (Please click here for a map of the location.) Film tickets $12 for SFFS members, $14 general, $13 seniors, students and persons with disabilities, $10 children (12 and under); Closing Night film and party tickets $20 for SFFS members, $25 general; Fall Season CineVoucher 10-Packs $110 for SFFS members, $130 general. Purchase tickets online here.
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