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Days and Clouds-DVD Review 04/04/2015

Posted by Films to consider in David di Donatello Awards, Drama, Emotional Drama, Italian language film, Moscow International Film Festival, Movies, Rome Film Fest.
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Days and Clouds (Italian) 2007

From Film Movement
Directed by Silvio Soldini
Starring Margherita Buy, Antonio Albanese, Alba Rohrwacher, and Paolo Sassanelli

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Actress (Buy); Best Supporting Actress (Rohrwacher); NOMINATED, Best Director, David Di Donatello Awards
WINNER, Best Actress, Moscow International Film Festival
WINNER, Premiere Prize-Special Mention (Soldini), Rome Film Fest

Elsa (Buy) and Michele (Albanese), a middle-aged couple in Genoa, face financial hardship when Michele loses his job. Their formerly well-to-do lifestyle must change, and as it does, their relationship changes as well.

Soldini, director of Agata and the Storm (2004), and Bread and Tulips (2000) presents a thought-provoking and engaging look at a relationship in crisis, this time from an economic impact that affects the couple’s individual identities as well.

115 min. Unrated. Adult themes.

For more info:
Days and Clouds

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Il Divo-DVD Review 12/16/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Based on true events, British Independent Film Awards, Cannes Film Festival, David di Donatello Awards, European Film Awards, Golden Globes, Italian language film, Italy, Movies, Paolo Sorrentino.
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Il Divo (Italian) 2008
Il Divo: La spettacolare vita di Giulio Andreotti
Based on true events

Written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Starring Toni Servillo, Anna Bonaiuto, and Giulio Bosetti

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Achievement in Makeup, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Film, British Independent Film Awards
WINNER, Jury Prize (Sorrentino), NOMINATED, Palme D’Or (Sorrentino), Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, David Award, Best Actor (Servillo); Best Cinematography; and five other awards; NOMINATED, Best Director; Best Film; Best Screenplay; and five others, David di Donatello Awards
WINNER, Best Actor (Servillo); NOMINATED, Best Cinematographer; Best Director; Best Film; Best Screenwriter, European Film Awards
WINNER, Best Screenplay; NOMINATED, Best Director, Golden Globes, Italy

Please note that this is not a music DVD!

Among other government posts, Giulio Andreotti (Servillo) served as Prime Minister of Italy for several terms during the 1970s and early 90s. Il Divo (the star) was one of the many nicknames associated with him.

Via a compelling performance by actor Toni Servillo, director Sorrentino delivers a sense of the personality behind the man, keeping the controversies that surrounded him as a series of montages in the background.

In 2003, Andreotti was in the news when he was cleared of a murder charge.

110 min. Not rated. Violence.

For more info:
Il Divo

Agata and the Storm-DVD Review 04/15/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Comedy, David di Donatello Awards, European Film Awards, Film Movement, Italian language film, Romance.
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Agata and the Storm (Italian) 2004

From Film Movement
Directed by Silvio Soldini
Starring Licia Maglietta, Guiseppe Battiston, Emilio Solfrizzi, Marina Massironi, Giselda Volodi, and Claudio Santamaria

NOMINATED, Best Actor (Battiston); Best Actress (Maglietta); Best Supporting Actor (Solfrizzi); Best Supporting Actress (Volodi), and several other categories, David di Donatello Awards
NOMINATED, Audience Award-Best Actress (Maglietta), European Film Awards

A light romantic comedy combined with a story about redefining one’s identity, all done in the Italian way.

Agata (Maglietta), who owns a bookstore and is given to flights of fancy, is being pursued by a younger man. She is also experiencing some sort of psychic phenomenon: she causes light bulbs to go out and other electrical appliances to go haywire. When her serious, hardworking brother Gustavo (Solfrizzi) finds out that he was adopted as a baby, Agata tries to help him adjust to the idea of having a brother, the fun-loving and aptly-named Romeo (Battiston).

While not overly remarkable, this is a pleasant enough movie. I’m looking forward to watching Pane e Tulipan (Bread and Tulips), an earlier (2000) film by the same director that features some of the same actors. Pane e Tulipan was more critically acclaimed.

118 min. Not rated. Adult themes.

For more info:
Agata and the Storm

Vincere-DVD Review 07/06/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true events, Emotional Drama, Italian language film, Movies.
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Vincere (Italian) 2009
“Win”

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Director; Best Actress (Mezzogiorno); Best Actor (Timi); Best Cinematography (Daniele Cipri), Chicago International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Palme d’Or (Bellocchio), Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Best Actress (Mezzogiorno); Best Cinematography (Cipri); Special Award ‘Stampa Estera’ (Bellocchio), Golden Globes, Italy

Directed by Marco Bellocchio
Starring Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi

Based on true events, a haunting film about dictator Benito Mussolini (Timi) and his relationship with Ida Dalser (Mezzogiorno), a woman who loved him with great passion and claimed to have had a child by him.

As Mussolini rises to prominence with the help of money Ida loaned him, he refuses to acknowledge her as the mother of his first-born son. The young Ida remains feisty and sure of her love, but she is eventually put into a mental institution. She tries to fight back but must face the fact that her son’s existence is also being denied by his father. She gradually declines into madness. The son, too, eventually loses touch with reality.

While some actual footage of Mussolini is included, overall the film has a feeling of the operatic about it, with lush music and backgrounds. Filippo Timi plays both father Benito and then son (also named Benito) in his young adult years. Giovanna Mezzogiorno, who was in Love in the Time of Cholera, gives another strong performance as a woman who must come to terms with love.

124 min. Rated R. Adult themes and sexual content.

For more info:
Vincere

The Keys to the House-DVD Review 05/07/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, Emotional Drama, Italian language film, Movies.
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The Keys to the House (Italian) 2004
La Chiavi di Casa

Among other awards and nominations:
Winner, Pasinetti Award, Best Film (Amelio); Best Actor (Stuart), Venice Film Festival
Nominated, Young Artist Award, Best Leading Young Performance (Rossi); Best International Feature Film (Italy), Young Artist Awards
Winner, Best Foreign Film, Turia Awards
Nominated, Best Actor (Stuart); Best Director (Amelio); Best Editing (Simona Paggi); Best Film (Amelio; Enzo Porcelli); Best Music; Best Screenplay, David di Donatello Awards

Directed by Gianni Amelio
Starring Kim Rossi Stuart, Charlotte Rampling, and Andrea Rossi

For the first time, Gianni (Stuart) meets Paolo (Rossi), the disabled son he abandoned fifteen years earlier when the boy’s mother died in childbirth. Not knowing what he himself expects or understanding what his obligations are, Gianni tries to forge a relationship with Paolo. He finds that it’s not an easy task, considering the physical, mental, and emotional challenges the boy is faced with.

A touching film that never loses sight of the day-to-day realities of living in such a situation and never gets overly sentimental or didactic. Three outstanding performances by Stuart, Rossi, and Charlotte Rampling, who plays Nicole, a mother raising a severely disabled daughter largely on her own.

105 min. Rated PG.

For more info:
The Keys to the House

The Wedding Director-DVD Review 05/01/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Dark Comedy, Italian language film, Light Drama, Movies, Romance.
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The Wedding Director (Italian) 2006


Nominated, Critics Award (Bellocchio); David Award – Best Actress (Finocchiaro); Best Director (Bellocchio); Best Editing (Francesca Calvelli)
Winner, Best Breakthrough Actress (Donatella Finocchiaro); Best Cinematography (Pasquale Mari); Best Film, Golden Globes-Italy

Written and directed by Marco Bellocchio
Starring Sergio Castellito, Donatella Finocchiaro and Sami Frey

A tongue-in-cheek tale about Franco Elica (Castellito), a movie director who flees to Sicily to escape accusations about sexual misconduct from the women who audition for him. Under pressure from a fan of his, Elica ends up agreeing to film the wedding of the daughter of a prince.

As noted in the above awards, the cinematography and film editing deserve special mention. Reflecting Elica’s detached directorial view of the events surrounding him, they contribute to the satirical nature of the film.

100 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Wedding Director, The

Il Postino (The Postman)-DVD Review *** 01/27/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Comedy, Italian language film, Light Drama, Romance.
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Il Postino The Postman (Italian) 1994

Winner of numerous awards for best foreign language film and best score, and nominated for others, including:
Winner, Best Music, Original Dramatic Score (Luis Bacalov), Academy Awards
Nominated, Best Actor (Troisi-posthumously); Best Director; Best Picture; Best Screenplay Adaptation, Academy Awards

Directed by Michael Radford
Starring Massimo Troisi, Phillipe Noiret, and Maria Grazia Cucinotta

This film is usually classified as a comedy, and certainly there are many comedic elements to it. More than that, it is the heartwarming story of Mario (Troisi), a gentle and simple postman who falls for Beatrice (Cucinotta), a beautiful woman from his village, but is too shy to speak to her. He meets the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Noiret), and, as their friendship develops, the postman’s own inner poet awakens. Soon he is able to win the love of Beatrice and even stand up for and express his own beliefs.

Troisi, a famous Italian comic actor, was suffering from heart failure during the filming, and he died on the last day of production. His portrayal of the postman is so natural and unassuming that it’s easy to forget he is acting a part.

Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. There is a CD compilation of Neruda’s poems read by a group of actors and singers, but I was unable to find further information about it.

The beautiful award-winning score was composed for the film by Luis Bacalov.

108 min. Rated PG.

For info about the music:
The Postman (Il Postino): Music From The Miramax Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994 Film)

For more info about the DVD:
Il Postino

Respiro-DVD Review 12/22/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Italian language film, Light Drama, Movies.
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Respiro (Italian) 2002
Breath

Among other awards and nominations:
Winner, Critics Week Grand Prize; Young Critics Award, Cannes Film Festival
Nominated, Best European Union Film, César Awards

Written and directed by Emanuele Crialese
Starring Valeria Golino and Vincenzo Amato

On a rocky island in the Mediterranean, grownups are busy eking out a living, while kids are busy fighting off bullies. Grazia (Golino), wife of Pietro (Amato) and mother of three children, doesn’t fit into the local community too well. Sometimes her carefree and fun-loving behavior borders on mania, while at other times she’s in a depressive state. Her husband is finally convinced that she should be sent to a psychiatric hospital. When Grazia disappears instead, the community comes together to find her.

Underwater photography, used at several points of the story, brings a lyrical and magical touch to what could be a depressing story. Grazia’s children also deserve mention, especially older son Pasquale (Francesco Casisa), who looks out for his mother in such a caring way, and younger son Filippo (Filippo Pucillo), whose bossy personality provides some comic relief.

95 min. Rated PG-13.

For more info:
Respiro

Profumo di Donna (Scent of a Woman)-DVD Review 12/09/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Based on a novel, Dark Comedy, Drama, Italian language film, Movies.
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Profumo di donna (Italian) 1974
The original Scent of a Woman
Based on the novel, Il buio e il miele (Darkness and Honey) by Giovanni Arpino

Among other awards and nominations:
Winner, Best Actor (Gassman); Best Director, David di Donatello (Italian equivalent of Academy Awards)
Winner, César Award for Best Foreign Film
Winner, Best Actor Award (Gassman), Cannes Film Festival
Nominated, Best Foreign Film; Best Adapted Screenplay, Academy Awards

Directed by Dino Risi
Starring Vittorio Gassman, Alessandro Momo, Agostina Belli

I came across the original version of this film and was curious to see how it compared to Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino. Although I liked both versions very much, I’m glad I saw the other one first (see below for info about the 1992 version).

Fausto Consolo (Gassman), a tyrannical former army captain who was blinded and maimed by mishandled explosives, has a plan that requires a journey through Italy. He needs assistance on the trip, and Giovanni Bertazzi (Momo), a young and inexperienced army private, is assigned to be his companion for one week.

The captain’s demanding personality and physical disabilities provide many opportunities for dark humor as the pair make their way through seedy sections of the cities they visit. As Fausto follows the scents of women, indulging his carnal desires, Giovanni (whom Fausto calls Ciccio) provides just the right touch of naiveté and suspicion. Some visits to family and friends are also on the agenda, and finally it is up to Sarah (Belli), a beautiful young woman, to convince Fausto that life is still worthwhile.

A sad side note is that the young Alessandro Momo died in a motorcycle accident shortly after the filming of Profumo. His short career included the Salvatore Samperi films Malizia (Malicious) and Peccato Veniale (Venial Sin).

103 min. Rated R

For more about Italian film star Vittorio Gassman

For more info about the DVD:
Profumo Di Donna (Scent of a Woman)

The 1992 version of Scent of a Woman was directed by Martin Brest and stars Al Pacino as retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade. It contains much more of a subplot concerning Charles (Chris O’Donnell), a prep school student who accompanies Slade on a Thanksgiving weekend visit to New York.

This movie is about one hour longer than the original, allowing time for a bond to develop between Slade and Charles. There is also time for tango dancing and a harrowing Ferrari ride through conveniently deserted NYC streets. Al Pacino’s performance, like that of his predecessor, was extraordinary; it won him an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

157 min. Rated R.

For more about the DVD:
Scent of a Woman