Once again, San Francisco celebrated the great success of Cinema Italia with the all-celluloid "Anna Magnani - A Film Series" at the iconic Castro Theatre on Saturday, September 24.
The series began with a long line for the legendary first film at 1pm, with Roberto Rossellini's "Roma Città Aperta", with a excited crowd wrapping around the block down Castro Street.
The house warmly welcomed Program Director Amelia Antonucci and continued to attend the other three movies of the day.
Luchino Visconti's "Bellissima", set at Cinecittà Studios followed. The main evening film was "The Rose Tattoo" from American director Daniel Mann, which Magnani starred alongside Burt Lancaster and which garnered her the Academy Award for Best Actress. Special introductions were given by San Francisco's new Consul General of Italy, the Honorable Lorenzo Ortona - who was in attendance with his wife Sheila - and by the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, Paolo Barlera. Prior to the film's screening, each lady in the audience was treated to a fresh long-stem red rose in honor of Nannarella and in remembrance of the homage that Tennessee Williams sent her when she passed away in 1973. The audience was moved by the words of Consul General Ortona, as he remembered his “concittadina” Anna and recalled the importance of her presence in postwar Italy.
Following the film, a Roman-style party in the mezzanine was abuzz with an delicious Roman foods: pizza romana, cacio e pepe, amatriciana pasta, porchetta made by Rudy Duran of C'era Una Volta restaurant in Alameda; Italfood cheeses & prosciutto, desserts by Antonella Della Muta. Wines by Il Gattopardo and coffee by Mr. Espresso complimented the party that was enlightened by the live music of Cecilia Capanna and Giorgia Ghizzoni.
200 people crowded the party space, from the likes of Italian authorities, American journalists and the enthusiastic public. Cheers to Amelia Antonucci, Sophoan Sorn, Daniela Cilia, Colpa Press, Sabrina Longega and the Cinema Italia SF Team, who put together once again this cinematic event, with the financial support of Istituto Luce Cinecittà, the Italian Cultural Institute, and for the second year the Italian fashion boutique Centro 39.