Thursday, June 10, 2010
BLUE EYES AT THE BRAZILIAN FILM FESTIVAL
I enjoyed Blue Eyes (Olhos Azuis) at the Brazilian Film Festival.
It features a terrific performance by David Rasche, a seasoned American actor, brilliantly portraying a very complex and multi-faceted character, and a lovely performance by a charming Brazilian newcomer, Cristine Lado. The film is mostly in English, which Lado manages with appropriately accented conviction.
The script has an interesting structure: a melodramatic confrontation in the custom's holding area at JFK, intercut with a fairy-tale road trip in Brazil some time later.
Blue Eyes feels like it was written in retribution for some particularly unpleasant experience getting through customs into NY. The behaviour of the customs officers is unbelievably shocking and unprofessional. Unfortunately, the script is literally "unbelievable," so the over-the-top melodrama must be taken with a liberal dose of "suspension of disbelief."
Similarly, the young prostitute played by Lado, who guides the (now) ex-customs officer played by Rasche through Brasil has a "heart of gold," the soul and morals of an angel the detective skills of an efficient genius, and the face and figure to make "Pretty Woman" look dumpy. Nasty, sick, drunk, dirty old men don't usually get this lucky.
The film is slightly compromised by the blurb for it in the program and on IMDB which gives away too much and is confusing besides. On the other hand, the credits for the Brazilian actors on IMDB would benefit from more pictures and better bios.
Despite the lack of realism, melodrama can be fun, and fairy tales with beautiful women are even better. The outstanding acting also makes this a winner.
After the film, I stopped in at the Brazilian Film Festival lounge. Nice music, not too loud; full house but not crowded; and the actors were there, being friendly to all who wanted to talk. It was a great scene.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
WINTER'S BONE AT MOMA
THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MOMA) consistently, over the years, has been the repository and dependable exhibition venue for interesting films of all types -- from artistic studio films to curious, independant, experimental art films, and everything in between.
On Wed, June 9, they have a special event: they'll be presenting the premiere of the Sundance winning film, Winter's Bone, together with an appearance by the director, Debra Granik.
Directed by Debra Granik
Courtesy Roadside Attractions
Winter's Bone takes place in the mountains of Missouri amidst metamphetamine dealing. It was filmed on location and uses local residents together with professional actors. Jennifer Lawrence, a young beauty, plays a powerful role as a young woman searching for her missing father.
(NOTE: The film is the cover story in the Spring 2010 issue of Filmmaker Magazine, which includes interviews with Debra Granik and Jennifer Lawrence.)
MOMA is one of the most interesting venues for special films in New York. (Some others are listed at the end of this post.)
It is -- however -- not that easy to navigate the MOMA web site for information about films, so we've given below some direct links to help in navigating the MOMA site.
One way to keep informed is to subscribe to the MOMA film e-mail newsletter:
(Note: Consistent with the nature of the home institution as a museum -- rather than a theater or film society -- film presentations are called "exhibitions.")
MOMA has three comfortable theaters available for screenings. (But never on Tuesday, when the museum is closed.)
A calendar (you have to enter the date for future details) can be found at:
A description of films in June, July & August can be found in the links below. However, some mistakes seem to creep into these PDF files, so it is best to double check items of interest with a "second source" such as a call to the museum, or a check on the calendar above.
MoMA also supports film festivals, including
NEW DIRECTORS / NEW FILMS and
They have an important circulating film and video library:
Here is a description of current exhibitions:
Here is a list of some upcoming exhibitions:
June 9 - MoMA Premiere: Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone
June 9 - The Art and Technique of the American Commercial: The AICP Show at MoMA
June 13 - MoMA Presents: Neil Diamond’s Reel Injun
June 14–20 - Lisandro Alonso
June 25–28 - Sally Potter
July 7–21 - Ida Lupino: Mother Directs
July 14–September 8 - Premiere Brazil 2010
August 26–September 20 - Lillian Gish
November 26–December 13 - French Comedy, Gaumont Style
Note: Here's a brief list of places to find independant, foreign, historical, artistic, and other kinds of interesting films in New York City, including MOMA and some additional, important venues...
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER -
ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES -
MILLENNIUM FILM WORKSHOP -
IFC CENTER -
FILM FORUM -
QUAD CINEMA -
CINEMA VILLAGE -
ANGELIKA FILM CENTER -
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY IMAX -
ASTORIA FILM CENTER - MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE -
PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA -
SYMPHONY SPACE LEONARD NIMOY THALIA -
LANDMARK SUNSHINE CINEMA -
TRIBECA CINEMAS -
BMCC TRIBECA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER -
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY FILM COLLECTION -
The following institutions often have screenings of films from the region they represent:
FRENCH INSTITUTE ALLIANCE FRANCAISE -
JAPAN SOCIETY -
ASIA SOCIETY -
INSTITUTO CERVANTES -
BRECHT FORUM -
GOETHE INSTITUT -
CZECH CENTER -
Monday, June 07, 2010
The Apple conference, at which Steve Jobs is expected to reveal the next version of the iPhone, is scheduled to start in a few minutes... at 1:00 New York time.
Engadget is blogging live every few minutes from the event:
(Click on "LIVEBLOG" there for other events.)
Thursday, June 03, 2010
OPEN ROADS: NEW ITALIAN CINEMA
New Italian Cinema
June 3-10, 2010
The highly anticipated series returns for its 10th Anniversary
Showcasing the latest in Italian Cinema!
Acclaimed Directors Carlo Verdone, Paolo Virzì, and more in person!
With this series, The Film Society of Lincoln Center continues its important programming of major Italian films. (A very interesting cover story on Italian cinema in the May 2010 issue of Sight & Sound includes an interview with Tilda Swinton from I Am Love, an article, Maetros and Mobsters that features Vincere, and Gomorrah, and other movies, all films that have played recently at Lincoln Center.)
Among the fine actors in the Opening Night Film. The Man Who Will Come, is Alba Rohrwacher. (Note: I'll not review this film here, because the less you know about this powerful film going in, the more interesting it will be: It has its own deliberate -- and deliberately somewhat murky -- story-telling style.) Alba was one of last year's "Shooting Stars" honored at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival, and then in the US at the Hamptons International Film Festival, where I met her. She is a charming, not-imposing, friendly young woman. On screen, she is profoundly normal, until she reacts with formidable, but completely natural, ferocity. Her credits are impressive, having appeared in I Am Love with Tilda Swinton, Due Partite (The Ladies Get Their Say) which was shown at the Hamptons, and The Man Who Will Come, here in Open Roads. She will soon be seen with Isabella Rosselini in Saverio Costanzo's The Solitude of Prime Numbers.
At the Hamptons International Film Festival
Photo by Eric Roffman
Here's the Film Society description of the series:
The Film Society of Lincoln Center will showcase the best in contemporary Italian film with the tenth edition of its annual fan-favorite, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema series, screening at the Walter Reade Theater from June 3rd through June 10th, 2010.
One of the tentpoles of The Film Society's calendar, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema has shepherded in the Summer film going season since 2001 as well as brought new Italian cinema to the forefront of international film - and this year's sterling selection is no exception.
The 2010 edition of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema offers an especially strong slate-another powerful indication of the growing vitality of recent Italian cinema in a year that has seen the release of Vincere, Mid-August Lunch, and soon I Am Love (New Directors/New Films 2010). This new generation of filmmakers continues to open up and explore areas of Italian life and culture, telling fresh stories in surprising ways.
Oscar-winning director, Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) returns with Baaria. Set in his hometown of Bagheria, Tornatore's saga spans decades in the lives of a multitude of characters, yet remains one of his most personal films to date.
Another alum of the series, Giorgio Diritti, offers the moving wartime drama The Man Who Will Come, his follow-up to The Wind Blows Round (Open Roads 2006).
The series also features the work of first time directors Susanna Nicchiarelli (Cosmonauta) and Valerio Mieli (Ten Winters), as well as celebrated actor John Turturro's Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy (co-directed with Roman Paska).
Many of the films in this year's selection come to New York audiences after having won awards and accolades at festivals around the world, including Francesca Comencini's The White Space (Best Actress, Venice), Alessandro Angelini's Raise Your Head (Best Actor, Rome), and Pietro Marcello's The Mouth of the Wolf (Best Film, Turin/Caligari Film Prize, Berlin).
Directors in attendance this year include Diritti, Nicchiarelli, Mieli, Comencini, Angelini, as well as Alessandro Aronadio (One Life Maybe Two), Carlo Verdone (Me, Them and Lara) Paolo Virzì (The First Beautiful Thing) with more confirming.
On Wednesday, June 9, The World According to...Bruno Bozzetto! offers a special program of works by the acclaimed animation artist, including his critically beloved Allegro non troppo and a collection of shorts.
Five Film Pass: $50 General Public/ $35 Students & Seniors/ $30 Members
Tickets: $12 General Public/ $8 Seniors & Students/ $7 Members
Weekday Matinee Prices: $10 General Public/ $7 Students & Seniors/ $6 Members [only valid for screenings Mon-Fri before 6pm]
In Person: Walter Reade Theater box office; Hours: Mon-Fri opens at 12:30pm, Sat/Sun opens 1/2 hr before first public screening; closes 15 minutes after last public screening, at 6pm when there are no public screenings.
For more information visit
or call 212 875 5601.
All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. All showings are subject to change. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of the management.
All films are screened at:
Walter Reade Theater at The Film Society of Lincoln Center
165 West 65th Street, upper level
(between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.)
Subways: 1 train to 66th Street Lincoln Center
Buses: M5 M7 M104
More options available at nearby Columbus Circle
Giuseppe Tornatore, 2009, Italy; 150m
After La Sconosciuta (The Unknown Woman), the Oscar-winning director of Cinema Paradiso returns to Open Roads with his most personal film, set in his hometown Bagheria, just outside of Palermo. This Sicilian saga spans several decades with a multitude of characters, and involves politics, sex, poverty, dreams, and, of course, cinema. With newcomers Francesco Scianna and Margareth Madè, who recently played the role of Sophia Loren in a TV movie.
Mon Jun 7: 8:00
Basilicata Coast to Coast
Rocco Papaleo, Italy, 2009; 105m
Four musicians (Paolo Briguglia, Alessandro Gassman, Max Gazze and Rocco Papaleo) set out on foot to the Theatre-Song Festival of Scanzano Jonico, traversing the Basilicata Region from the Tyrrhenian to the Ionian Sea. Giovanna Mezzogiorno (Vincere) shines as the reluctant journalist assigned to chronicle their back-to-basics journey. Actor Rocco Papaleo's directorial debut is a gently comic slice-of-life glimpse into the southern Italian region from which he hails. Papaleo also wrote most of the music, a delightful mix of jazz, swing and funny spoken word. Fri Jun 4: 4:30
Tue Jun 8: 6:15
Susanna Nicchiarelli, 2010, Italy; 85m
Refusing her first Communion, nine-year-old Luciana declares she's a Communist and atheist-an announcement cheered only by her older brother and fellow Communist Arturo. The two like nothing more than following the progress of Soviet cosmonauts, but as Luciana grows older, she starts to change-while Arturo decidedly doesn't. A lovely, impressive first film about learning to leave the past behind.
Sat Jun 5: 2:15
Mon Jun 7: 4:30
The Double Hour (La doppia ora)
Giuseppe Capotondi, 2009, Italy; 95m
Filippo Timi (star of Vincere) and Ksenia Rappoport both won acting awards for their work in this remarkable, ever-changing thriller. She's a maid, he's an ex-cop; they meet via a speed-dating service, and for a while their relationship has real promise. But then a murder happens, and nothing is ever again what it seemed to be.
Fri Jun 4: 6:45
Wed Jun 8: 8:20
The First Beautiful Thing (La prima cosa bella)
Paolo Virzì, 2010, Italy; 122m
Nine-year-old Bruno cringes when his mother is crowned beauty queen in a seedy Livorno bath house. Years later Bruno (Valerio Mastandrea) has as little contact with his family as possible-until he gets a message that his mother wants to see him one last time. Director Paolo Virzì (Caterina in the City) finds just the right tone, perching his story between family tragedy and wry, almost absurdist comedy.
Sun Jun 6: 5:45
Wed Jun 9: 1:30
Gabriele Salvatores, 2010, Italy; 90m
A blocked screenwriter, Ezio (Fabio De Luigi), is trying to finish a story about two off-kilter families thrown together when their teenage children announce they're getting married. So Ezio writes himself into the story-a development his characters welcome, as they've got some ideas of their own. Echoes of Pirandello, Wes Anderson, and Woody Allen run through this delightful, provocative comedy, a welcome return to the genre for Salvatores (Mediterraneo, Marrakech Express).
Fri Jun 4: 9:10
Mon Jun 7: 2:30
Kiss Me Again (Baciami ancora)
Gabriele Muccino, 2010, Italy; 139m
Almost ten years after One Last Kiss (2001), the thirty-somethings from that movie are now in their forties, married but no more mature-and growing restless. Director Gabriele Muccino carefully brings together an amazing number of stories and characters, charting their love lives, family relations, friendships and betrayals, creating no less than a beautifully detailed mosaic of a generation. Featuring many of Italy's finest actors: Stefano Accorsi, Pierfrancesco Favino, Vittoria Puccini, Claudio Santamaria, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.
Sun Jun 6: 8:30
The Man Who Will Come (L'Uomo che verrà)
Giorgio Diritti, 2009, Italy; 115m
Italy, 1944. For eight-year-old Martina, after her newborn brother passes away, death can never be far from her family and the farming community in which they live. But it arrives in an unexpected form: German troops, occupying Italy after Mussolini's demise. Based on actual historical events, the second film by Giorgio Diritti (The Wind Blows Round, Open Roads 2006) reveals a chapter of wartime history until now rarely discussed or depicted on screen. One of the most powerful films of the year.
Thu Jun 3: 7:00
Fri Jun 4: 2:00
Me, Them and Lara (Io, loro e Lara)
Carlo Verdone, 2010, Italy; 115m
In his hilarious and extremely successful new comedy, Carlo Verdone plays a missionary priest in Africa who faces a spiritual crisis and decides to return to Italy. However, there he discovers that all those to whom he had dedicated his work and affection, including his family, live in a disastrous situation. And he meets a mysterious woman (Laura Chiatti) who will change his life forever.
Sat Jun 5: 9:10
Wed Jun 9: 4:00
The Mouth of the Wolf (La bocca del lupo)
Pietro Marcello, 2009, Italy; 76m
After a lengthy prison stretch, Enzo returns to Genoa, and waiting for him there is Mary, the woman he left behind who has had her own struggles. Winner of the Best Film Prize at the Turin Film Festival and the Caligari Film Prize at Berlin, this work of haunting beauty is both a celebration of romantic love that transcends time and place, and a perceptive portrait of the harbor district of Genoa, formerly one of Europe's biggest but now fast disappearing.
Mon Jun 7: 6:20
One Life, Maybe Two (Due vite per caso)
Alessandro Aronadio, 2010, Italy; 88m
Beaten up after crashing into a police car, Matteo is advised against pressing charges. As his rage against the police grows, he falls in with some shady characters. But what if Matteo had never crashed his car...? Taking a page from Kieslowski's Blind Chance, Aronadio imagines different fates for characters whose lives crossed one rainy night on a lonely road.
Sat Jun 5: 12:00
Tue Jun 8: 2:15
Raise Your Head (Alza la testa)
Alessandro Angelini, 2009, Italy; 87m
"Raise your head!" shouts Lorenzo's father and trainer, Mero (Sergio Castellitto) when his son is in the ring. A single father, Mero has built his life around his son's boxing success-but the unexpected return of his son's mother, and Lorenzo's growing romantic interests, threaten the world he's created. Castellitto won Best Actor at the 2009 Rome Film Festival for his work in the film.
Sat Jun 5: 6:45
Tue Jun 8: 4:15
Photo Credit: Esperia Film
Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy
Roman Paska & John Turturro, 2009, Italy; 75m
Actor/director John Turturro returns with his daughter to his ancestors' Sicily, taking the audience on a personal tour of traditions, his family's origins, and of course the local cuisine. But the real object of his journey is Mimmo Cuticchio, one of the island's last classical puppeteers, who teaches Turturro some of the techniques of his art. A delightful and revealing portrait of a Sicily little-known to outsiders.
Sun Jun 6: 3:30
Wed Jun 9: 6:30
Ten Winters (Dieci inverni)
Valerio Mieli, 2009, Italy; 99m
Camilla and Silvestro (Michele Riondino, an actor who is one of the 2010 "Shootong Stars") meet cute on a ferry; she's starting university studies, he's not sure of his direction in life. Over the next ten years, they will be enemies, lovers, friends, and acquaintances, sometimes living together, other times separated by great distances. First-time director Valerio Mieli creates a warm, touching, and very contemporary love story that serves as well as an emotional portrait of a new generation.
Sat Jun 5: 4:20
Thu Jun 10: 4:00
The White Space (Lo spazio bianco)
Francesca Comencini, 2009, Italy; 98m
Margherita Buy, winner of the Best Actress prize at Venice, gives a towering performance as a middle-aged teacher who unexpectedly gets pregnant after a brief affair. When the child arrives prematurely, she moves into a hospital's special-care unit, introducing her to a world of women in similar situations. This brilliant adaptation of Valeria Parrella's much-praised novel offers a sensitive portrait of a complex woman attempting to take back control of her own life-no matter what the price.
Sun June 6: 1:15
Thu Jun 10: 2:00
The World According to... Bruno Bozzetto!
Bruno Bozzetto; TOTAL 103m
Allegro non troppo, Bozzetto's hilarious but affectionate send-up of Fantasia, is a critically praised animation masterpiece. Bozzetto's erotic, satiric, and delirious vision of the world earned him a special David Di Donatello award. This special program honoring one of the world's most acclaimed animation artists includes three of Bozzetto's best-loved shorts. A must-see for animation fans!
Allegro non troppo
1976 Italy 85m
1988 Italy 3m
1990 Italy 9m
Europe & Italy
1999 Italy 6m
Wed Jun 9: 8:30
Thursday, June 3
7:00 The Man Who Will Come
Friday, June 4
2:00 The Man Who Will Come
4:30 Basilicata Coast to Coast
6:45 The Double Hour
9:10 Happy Family
Saturday, June 5
12:00 One Life, Maybe Two
4:20 Ten Winters
6:45 Raise Your Head
9:10 Me, Them and Lara
Sunday, June 6
1:15 The White Space
3:30 Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy
5:45 The First Beautiful Thing
8:30 Kiss Me Again
Monday, June 7
2:30 Happy Family
6:20 The Mouth of the Wolf
Tuesday, June 8
2:15 One Life, Maybe Two
4:15 Raise Your Head
6:15 Basilicata Coast to Coast
8:20 The Double Hour
Wednesday, June 9
1:30 The First Beautiful Thing
4:00 Me, Them and Lara
6:30 Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy
8:30 The World According to...Bruno Bozzetto!
Thursday, June 10
2:00 The White Space
4:00 Ten Winters
The Film Society of Lincoln Center 165 West 65th Street near Amsterdam Avenue New York NY 10023
Labels: Alba Rohrwacher, Filippo Timi, Giorgio Diritti, Giuseppe Tornatore, Italian Cinema, John Turturro, Margherita Buy, Open Roads, Paolo Virzì, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Man Who Will Come