Paolo Sorrentino.Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution — Author:Pietro Luca Cassarino - CC/BY:

The 2013 edition of Cinema Italian Style is one for the ages. Two years ago Luce Cinecittà in collaboration with American Cinematheque added to the program a series of tributes to the greats of Italian Cinema, starting with Dino De Laurentiis and continuing with Carlo Ponti.

This year the festival is dedicated to Federico Fellini, a celebration of the work that made Italian Cinema beloved all over the world. The festival not only presents the best Italian films of the year, including the Oscar hopeful The Great Beauty by Paolo Sorrentino, but it also pays an homage to Bernando Bertolucci, presenting the restored 3D version of The Last Emperor, winner of nine Oscars.

It’s on a hot sunny day in mid November that the Italian delegation reunites for a press conference. The weather is nothing new for Angelenos but it’s welcomed as a big surprise by the Italian talent who spent the morning in Venice beach before arriving at the Sunset Towers, a place usually used for big Oscar parties. In fact the Oscars is what’s on everybody’s mind, many the questions about the chances of Paolo Sorrentino’s film to land the nomination in the best foreign film category. The director plays it cool, “I’m not able to answer any questions about the Oscars ‘cause I don’t exactly know what it is. This is a question better addressed to Bernardo Bertolucci, who won. I don’t know what can change in matter of my career”.

Maestro Bertolucci raved about the screening of his film at the Chinese Theatre. “Fantastic for the eyes and ears”, he said and continued remembering his first time in Los Angeles when he met James Cagney and Charlton Heston, two icons of the old Hollywood. “I told Cagney, are you still looking for Shangai Lil?” A question, Bertolucci would later explain, only a cinefile could get.

Claudia Gerini (A perfect family), is the veteran of the group, having come to Los Angeles many times in the past, representing Sergio Castellitto’s Don’t Move and later her husband Federico Zampaglione’s directorial debut Nero bifamiliare. “We, Europeans, see Hollywood as a big dream. Years ago I was thinking about working here, but my career is going strong back home. And I have a young daughter, it would be difficult to move”, she said.

Jasmine Trinca (Honey) doesn’t think there’s a big difference between American and European movies, “I had the chance to work with Hollywood stars, it’s the same game, just bigger”. Maria Sole Tognazzi, director of Five Star Life, had a lot of support from the United States during the production of her film, “It was born here, in America. It’s set in luxury hotels, The Leading Hotels. They were the first to show interest and they allowed me to shoot on their premises. Later I had screenings in New York City which led to the possibility of an American remake”.

On the sold out night of The Great Beauty at the Egyptian Theatre we asked the stars walking the red carpet what qualities they think Italian Cinema should have to break through the hearts of Academy members. Is it a nostalgic factor or the peculiarity of the picture? Sorrentino believes American audiences are looking for credible stories with a unique point of view, while Trinca believes that even though there’s always a little bit of nostalgia in play, originality is what matters, “Paolo’s film has the great quality of portraying us in a new and very personal way”.

Andy Garcia, who’s a member of the Academy and was at the premiere to watch the film said, “Personally I come with an open mind and I look for being affected by the film”.

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