San Francisco-Assisi, first 50 years as Sister's Cities
The 17th edition of New Italian Cinema wrapped up after an intense five days film series of talented emergent directors and acclaimed appearance by Paolo Sorrentino, obtaining great attendance from the public of the Bay Area.
Respecting a consolidate tradition, the annual film festival was presented by the San Francisco Film Society in collaboration with New Italian Cinema Events, the non-profit cultural organization founded in Florence in 1991, the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy.
In addition to the eight films presented in competition, this year’s festival featured a series of special events as the latest work of Silvio Soldini “Garibaldi’s Lovers” (Il Comandante e la Cicogna, 2012), in nomination for the Donatello Award and Nastri d’Argento, a special three-film spotlight on Neapolitan cinema, paying tribute to one of Italy’s most complex and historically rich cities, plus the premiere of Paolo Sorrentino’s last work “The Great Beauty” (La Grande Bellezza, 2013), Italy’s entry for next Academy Awards.
This year, the competing films included debut films, as “Steel” by Stefano Mordini who attended in person the festival, “The Ideal City” by famous actor new director Luigi Lo Cascio, and second features as “Cosimo and Nicole” by Francesco Amato, and “There Will Come a Day” by Giorgio Diritti, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.
During the Closing Night on Sunday, November 17th, the awaited screening of Sorrentino’s masterpiece was preceded by the announcement of City of Florence Award’s winner, decided only by audience ballot. The prestigious recognition went this year to “Out of The Blue” (Buongiorno Papà, 2013), the second feature film by Edoardo Leo, a brilliant comedy featuring a great cast of actors who impact one another in unexpected ways, with an entertaining and touching script that avoids predictable sentimentality.
Interviewed by L’Italo-Americano, Neapolitan director Paolo Sorrentino talked about the importance of New Italian Cinema for emergent filmmakers and cinematography:
“I competed in this festival many years ago with my first film “One Man Up” (L’uomo in più, 2001). Events such as New Italian Cinema are a contribution for Italian cinema, being a festival that brings several movies in the United States. It is important even if there are rules that might need to be modified, modernized, because otherwise the risk is to become repetitive. However, I am very fond of this festival, I came here many years ago when I was a young guy, I still have a positive memory and I’m really glad to be back today.
While visibility is important, the question for emergent filmmakers in Italy is not just a matter of budget but especially of channels, it is fundamental to connect with the right people”.
After New York, and Los Angeles, “The Great Beauty” will be on the screens of many cinemas in San Francisco, while director Sorrentino will continue his journey to Seattle and other main American cities. The dream, even if he doesn’t say it, it’s the Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards.
“The response from the American public seems really positive so far. The film has just been released in New York and it was all sold out at the Lincoln Plaza, always more people would like to attend the shows, so premises are very good. Let’s see how it goes in the future when the film will be on screen in all other cities. Even the reviews I received so far have been very optimistic”.
“I have no expectations for the future or concerning the Academy Awards, it is a game too complicated to create personal predictions. Right now I’m very busy with this American tour, which ends in December, then we’ll see what happens”.
Later on, engaging in Q&A with an enthusiastic public after the enchanting screening of “The Great Beauty”, Paolo Sorrentino said:
“I’ve been thinking about doing this movie for so many years, so there are really many aspects presented and at the same time there is nothing. Concerning my choreographic instinct and the music, they are a mix of sacred and profane, that in my opinion represents Rome very well”.
Finally, to all fans desiring to know how much of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita there is in this wonderful film, he answered:
“Of course I was conscious during the writing of my film of the influence of Fellini’s work, who is for me the greatest of all directors. By the way, the Great Beauty is intended as a pure emotional experience, so talking about it, is less interesting than watching it”.