Tag Archives: Alberto Barbera

Japanese films fail to make mark at ‘Big 3’ festivals

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Misuzu Sato

Japanese films failed to make the Golden Lion shortlist at the 73rd Venice Film Festival that wrapped up in September. A question was posed at the Venice Film Festival Press Conference on why Japan is missing out on challenging in the top competition for the second consecutive year.

Also in Cannes and Berlin this year, no Japanese films were shown in competition, meaning they were not in the running for the top prizes at the “Big Three” film festivals.

While experts say Asian films have been losing their foothold in the increasingly competitive film festival circuit, they urge Japanese filmmakers to pursue their ingenuity and attempt a more international perspective.

The Venice festival has given the Golden Lion prize to Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon and Takeshi Kitano’s Hana-bi, and also showcased films by Kitano, Hayao Miyazaki, Shinya Tsukamoto and other Japanese filmmakers in competition for 13 consecutive years until 2014. Although three of the 21 films showcased in competition in 2008 were from Japan, no Japanese movies have made it to the main competition for the past two years.

“With the number of films produced having increased, the margin for not only Japanese films but also for other Asian movies to be featured at international film festivals has shrunk in recent years,” said Tokyo International Film Festival programming director Yoshihiko Yatabe. “As it stands, it is less of the quality of the works than the fact that organizers can’t get around to reviewing Asian films as South American and North European films are also doing great.”

However, Filipino director Lav Diaz won the Golden Lion for Best Film for his The Woman Who Left at Venice this year.

A forum focusing on the rapidly growing Chinese market was also held on the sidelines.

But Venice festival director Alberto Barbera said the festival had picked up a powerful and beautiful Japanese work in the Orizzonti section for cutting-edge films: Kei Ishikawa’s first feature film Gukoroku–Traces of Sin.

While Ishikawa was presented in Orizzonti, Yasushi Kawamura’s full-CG film Gantz: O–also his first full-length feature–was screened out of the competition at Venice.

At Cannes, Koji Fukada’s Harmonium received the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section.

“In Japan, it is difficult for filmmakers to make auteuristic art films, but it shouldn’t be impossible if they are determined,” said film journalist Atsuko Tatsuta, as to how Japanese films could break into the competition lineup. “They need to gain a more international perspective by collaborating with other countries and making other efforts.”

Jean-Michel Frodon, former editorial director of film magazine Cahiers du Cinema, said that although Japanese filmmakers are making good films, they have yet to earn recognition abroad. He also stressed the importance of showing their presence at other film festivals and promoting their works to overseas audiences.

*Featured photo: The red carpet at the Venice Film Festival in Lido Island, Italy, where all the films want to be competing (The Asahi Shimbun)

(Source: www.asahi.com)

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FILM REVIEW: La La Land (Chazelle, 2016): USA

Viewed by Larry Gleeson at Venice Film Festival.

Film Director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land comes on the heels of his Oscar nominated screenplay adaptation for 2015’s Whiplash, where a highly intense music teacher molds a young, dedicated student. J.K. Simmons performance as the teacher garnered him an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Chazelle, an avid music lover, had wanted to do a musical spectacle in the manner of Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort and The Umbrellas of Chambourg  while mixing in a splash of Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s Singing in the Rain. Moreover, Chazelle wanted a realism mixed into the story. Having resided in Los Angeles for the last ten years and having had a love affair with the city, Chazelle chose the City of Angels to set his Hollywood success-seeker film.

The film opens without much fanfare in a typical Los Angeles morning traffic jam. A young woman, Mia, played by Emma Stone, in a white Prius, is having an issue with her phone and misses an opportunity to move forward as the traffic jam has freed up somewhat. The young man behind her in a late 1980’s maroon-colored, Buick Riviera convertible, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, lets her know with a blare of his horn and a not-so-friendly “good morning to you” gesture. Soon traffic slows again. This time, however, as radio are being dialed in, drivers begin exiting their vehicles and break into to an energetic, six-minute song and dance number, “Another Day of Sun,” staged on the 110 freeway overlooking downtown Los Angeles. As the song concludes, the title is flashed across the screen and the film is off and running with a start reminiscent of Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas.

La La Land is more about relationship and the life-changing experience two young lovers gain from each other. Mia is an aspiring actress mired in her real job as a barista juxtaposed against a series of failed acting auditions where she is continually interrupted. Sebastian, on the other hand, is a coarse, die-hard classical jazz pianist who doesn’t believe in compromising his convictions for anything or anyone. As their paths begin to cross Sebastian brushes off Mia as someone who will never understand his plight – until she does. When their paths finally converge, the harsh realities of life begin to set in and the two unknowingly turn to each other in raw emotional exchanges and thereby find the strength each needs to reach the stars.

In a powerful denouement in the city full of optimism and broken dreams, the story concludes with a Mick Jagger and Rolling Stones truism echoed faintly at first only to be finished with an exclamation point:

“You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometime you find

You get what you need!”

And if the story isn’t enough in itself, the catchy musical numbers credited to Chazelle’s long-time friend and co-collaborator, Justin Hurwitz, will keep almost any music aficionado’s attention. If not, then the roving camera movement of cinematographer Linus Sandgren is bound to keep eyes in the scene. And, if that’s not enough, then the supercharged production numbers from choreographer Mandy Moore will keep you riveted as they sync in timing with Sandgren’s camera movement allowing the actors seemingly the ability to levitate. And in vein with Chazelle’s vision and outright homage to the musicals of the 50’s and 60’s, Production Designer David Wasco keeps the screen illuminated with a bright vision of reds, yellows, pinks, pastel greens and sky blues, aided wonderfully by Mary Zophres’ costuming, while the filming locations could very well serve as a Los Angeles pop culture tour.

If there’s only one film you can see this year – make it La La Land! Highest recommendation.

Biennale College – Cinema: Selection announced for the 12 projects of the 5th edition 2016/17

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 1.28.19 AMThe first 12 projects have been selected for the fifth edition of Biennale College – Cinema 2016/17, submitted by teams composed of directors and producers who will take part in the first 10-day workshop to be held in Venice from October 5th to 14th 2016. The international Call was launched on May 6th 2016.
Biennale College is an innovative and complex experience that engages every sector of the Biennale di Venezia.
Biennale College – Cinema is the project that promotes new talents in cinema by offering them the opportunity to work closely with master filmmakers in the production of micro-budget films. 3 of these 12 projects will receive support in the amount of 150,000 Euro to produce a maximum of 3 feature-length films (debut or second film), one of which must be Italian, to be presented at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in 2016.
 
The 12 projects were announced during the press conference held on 4 September on the Lido di Venezia (Palazzo del Casinò), at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (31 August – 10 September 2016), directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta.
The 12 projects selected for the first phase of Biennale College – Cinema are:
•  The Anthill Hanna van Niekerk (director, The Netherlands)Maarten Kuit (producer, The Netherlands)
•  ClementineLara Jean Gallagher (director, USA), Karina Ripper (producer, USA)
•  Film di ConfineGiorgio Ferrero (director, Italy), Federico Biasin (producer, Italy)
•  InaccessibleLoran Bonnardot (director, France), Jean des Forêts (producer, France)
•  In the MakingKristoffer Borgli (director, Norway), Riina Zachariassen (producer, Denmark)
•  Killer?David White (director, New Zealand), James Ashcroft (producer, New Zealand)
•  LalaLudovica Fales (director, Italy), Igor Princic (producer, Italy)
•  Lightning RideAlena Lodkina (director, Australia), Kate Laurie (producer, Australia)
•  MartyrMazen Khaled (director, Lebanon), Diala Kachmar (producer, Lebanon)
•  Mirny Mining TownSaverio Pesapane (director, Italy), Costanza Julia Bani (producer, Italy), Fabian Martin Diering (Germany)
•  Night/VisionEva Weber (director, Germany), Nicole Stott (producer, United Kingdom)
•  Voice of Silence EuiJeong Hong (director, South Korea), Afolabi Kuti (producer, United Kingdom)
The 12 projects were selected by the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera, with the help of the Biennale College – Cinema team, and will be documented on the website www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/collegecinema/.
At the close of the first workshop, which will be held in Venice from October 5th to 14th 2016, 3 teams will be invited to participate in two successive workshops, to be held in Venice from December 2nd to 5th 2016 and January 9th to 13th 2017, after which production will begin on 3 feature-length films (debut or second films), one of which must be Italian, which must be low-cost, will be funded in the amount of 150,000 Euro, and will be presented at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in 2016.
Biennale College – Cinema, organized by the Biennale di Venezia, is supported by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities – General Direction Cinema. Biennale College – Cinema relies on the academic collaboration of the IFP in New York and of the TorinoFilmLab, and continues its collaboration with the Busan International Film Festival. The Director is Alberto Barbera, the Head of Programme Savina Neirotti.
Biennale College – Hybrid
Also, the Biennale di Venezia will further integrate the activities of the Biennale College and the Venice Production Bridge with the launch of the new BIENNALE COLLEGE – HYBRID, a program developed to explore today’s most innovative technology: Virtual Reality. This supports the aim of the Biennale to investigate various facets of the audiovisual creative industries, proposing works of virtual reality and TV series, and presenting projects in the development stage in search of financing.
The Biennale College Hybrid explores the esthetics and the narrative opportunities offered by Virtual Reality, providing filmmakers and creatives all over the world with the proper knowledge for making the most of Virtual Reality. Biennale College – Hybrid, in partnership with Nederlands Filmfonds, will prepare nine teams of directors and producers who will work with Virtual Reality projects in their initial phase, helping them to advance under every aspect: creative, production, audience and the market, and financial.
All projects will be presented as a part of the industry office of the Venice Production Bridge, which this year includes feature films, documentaries, virtual reality projects, TV and web series.
Biennale College Cinema and Biennale College Hybrid 2017/2018
MEDIA – Creative Europe Programme

The 2017 edition of the Biennale College – Cinema  project, which will include Virtual Reality, will receive essential financing from the European Commission – Connect Directorate General’s Media – Creative Europe Programme.  The educational activities of the 2017-2018 edition will thus be funded by a MEDIA grant. This grant is in addition to the funding which the MEDIA Programme has given to the development of the Market and Venice Production Bridge.

*
– The first edition of the 2012/13 Biennale College – Cinema closed at the 70th Venice Film Festival in 2013 with the screening of the three films: Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (director, Thailand) and Aditya Assarat (producer, Thailand); MemphisTim Sutton (director, USA) and John Baker (producer, USA); Yuri EspositoAlessio Fava (director, Italy) and Max Chicco (producer, Italy).
– The second edition of Biennale College – Cinema 2013/14 closed at the 71st Venice Film Festival in 2014 with the screening of the three films: Blood Cells by Joseph Bull (director, Great Britain), Luke Seomore (director, Great Britain), Samm Haillay (producer, Great Britain), Ben Young (producer, Great Britain); H. by Rania Attieh (director, Lebanon), Daniel Garcia (director, USA), Shruti Rya Ganguly (producer, India), Pierce Varous (producer, USA); Short Skin by Duccio Chiarini (director, Italy), Babak Jalali (producer, Iran/Great Britain).
– The third edition of Biennale College – Cinema 2014/15 closed at the 72nd Venice Film Festival in 2015 with the screening of the three films: Baby Bump by Kuba Czekaj (director, Poland), Madgadalena Kaminska (producer, Poland); Blanka by Kohki Hasei (director, Japan), Flaminio Zandra (producer, Italy); The Fits by Anna Rose Holmer (director, USA), Lisa Kjerulff (producer, USA).
– The fourth edition of Biennale College – Cinema 2015/16 closed at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in 2016 with the screening of the four films: Mukti Bhawan – Hotel Salvation by Shubhashish Bhutiani (director, India) e Sanjay Bhutiani (producer, India); Orecchie – Ears by Alessandro Aronadio (director, Italy) and Costanza Coldagelli (producer, Italy); La Soledad by Jorge Thielen Armand (director, Venezuela), Adriana Herrera (producer, Venezuela), Rodrigo Michelangeli (producer, Venezuela) and Manon Ardisson (producer, Venezuela); Una Hermana – One Sister di Verena Kuri (director and producer, Argentina) and Sofía Brockenshire (director and producer, Argentina).
(Source:www.labiennale.org)

Amir Naderi to receive the 2016 Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award at Venice Film Festival

Award ceremony on Sept. 5th at 2:00 pm at the Palazzo del Cinema

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 8.32.46 AMLa Biennale di Venezia and Jaeger-LeCoultre are pleased to announce that the great Iranian director Amir Naderi (Vegas, Manhattan by Numbers, Davandeh-The Runner) will receive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (August 31st – September 10th 2016), dedicated to a personality who has made an original contribution to innovation in contemporary cinema.
Amin Naderi will be awarded the prize in a ceremony to be held Monday September 5th at 2:00 pm in the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema), before the Out of Competition screening of his new film Monte, in its world premiere showing in Venice. The film (shot on location in Italy in the mountains of the Alto Adige and Friuli regions) is set in the year 1350 and tells the dramatic story of a man who makes every attempt to bring the sunlight into his village, where his family is barely able to survive because of the prevailing darkness. In 2014 Monte has been one of the projects selected for the Venice Gap-Financing Market, a programme launched by the Venice Production Bridge.
alberto-barbera-594x350The Director of the Venice Film Festival, Alberto Barbera, made the following statement about the award: “Amir Naderi gave fundamental impetus to the birth of the New Iranian Cinema during the 1970s and ‘80s with a number of masterpieces destined to leave their mark on the history of cinema, such as Davandeh (The Runner, 1985) and Ab, bâd, khâk (Water, Wind, Dust, 1988). But even after moving to New York in 1988, Naderi remained stubbornly true to himself and to a type of cinema dedicated to research and experimentation, which refuses to bow to trends and easy shortcuts. Every film he has made clearly displays the nucleus of an identical obsession which transcends the principle of reality in order to force individuals beyond their own limits. The last half hour of Monte is a sort of synthesis of his entire opus, a larger-than-life metaphor of a struggle for survival prevailing over the dividing lines, intimidations and insults which can sometimes make human existence miserable. The breathtaking epilogue transforms the ideas, emotions and visions at the basis of all his films into powerfully expressive images. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Award is a well-deserved recognition, a tribute to the originality and greatness of a filmmaker who stands out from the crowd, the talent of a passionate director, and the generosity of a man who seems to know no limits.”
Since the 1970s, Amir Naderi (Abadan, 1945) has been among the most influential figures of New Iranian Cinema. He entered the international spotlight with cinema classics such as Tangsir (1974), Entezar (1974), awarded the Jury Prize at the Cannes children’s film festival, The Runner (1985) and Ab, Bad, Khak  (1989), which both won the Golden Montgolfiere at Three Continents Festival in Nantes. The first prominent Iranian director to move abroad in the mid ’80s, Naderi’s American films have uniquely captured the vanishing texture of New York. Sound Barrier (2005) won the Roberto Rossellini Critics’ Prize at the Rome Film Festival. Vegas: Based on a True Story, premiered In Competition at Venice in 2008. Cut was shot in Japan and premiered as the Opening Film of the Orizzonti section at Venice in 2011, later winning the 21st Japan Professional Film Awards for Best Director and Best Actor. Naderi’s work has been the subject of retrospectives at museums and film festivals around the world. He has served on international juries such as Jury President for the Competition section of Tokyo FILMeX in 2011 and the Orizzonti section of Venice in 2012. His new film Monte, starring Andrea Sartoretti and Claudia Potenza, and premiering at this year’s Venice Film Festival, is the first film by Naderi to be set and directed in Italy. Monte is an Italian/American/French co-production, by Citrullo International, Zivago Media, Cineric, Ciné-sud Promotion and KNM, in collaboration with Rai Cinema and with the support of the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism – General Direction for Cinema.
The film was shot almost entirely on location in the mountains of the Alto Adige region, at an altitude of over 2500 metres on the Latemar mountain chain, and in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in the towns of Erto, Casso and Sott’Anzas, with the support of the Alto Adige IDM-Film Commission and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Film Commission. The shooting lasted 6 weeks.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is a sponsor of the Venice International Film Festival for the twelfth year in a row, and of the Glory to the Filmmaker prize for the tenth. The prize has been awarded in past years to Takeshi Kitano (2007), Abbas Kiarostami (2008), Agnès Varda (2008), Sylvester Stallone (2009), Mani Ratnam (2010), Al Pacino (2011), Spike Lee (2012), Ettore Scola (2013), James Franco (2014), and Brian De Palma (2015).
(Source:www.labiennale.org)

Opening Press Conference 73rd Venice Film Festival

 

Yesterday at 1:00PM, Biennale Cinema titans, Paolo Baratta and Alberto Barbera welcomed media guests and visitors to Venice and to the Opening Press Conference of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.

Mr. Baratta opened the remarks detailing the commitment Venice has made to making the festival the best it can be for its visitors and its stakeholders alike. Mr. Barbera then presented the various Juries, VENEZIA 73, ORIZZONTI, OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS, and VENICE CLASSICS and their respective members in alphabetical order as follows; Laurie Anderson (VENEZIA 73), Roberto Ando (VENICE CLASSICS, President), Gemma Arterton (VENEZIA 73), Rosa Bosch (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS), Brady Corbet (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS), Giancarlo De Cataldo (VENEZIA 73), Robert Guediguian (ORIZZONTI, President), Jim Hoberman (ORIZZONTI), Nina Hoss (VENEZIA 73), Nelly Karim (ORIZZONTI), Valentina, Lodovini (ORIZZONTI), Pilar Lopez de Ayala (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS), Chiara Mastroianni (VENEZIA 73), Sam Mendez (VENEZIA 73, President), Joshua Oppenheimer (VENEZIA 73), Jose Maria (Chema) Prado (ORIZZONTI), Moon So-ri (ORIZZONTI), Kim Rossi Stuart (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS, President), Chaitanya Tamhane (ORIZZONTI), Serge Toubiana (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS), Lorenzo Vigas (VENEZIA 73), and Zhao Wei (VENEZIA 73).

The conference was quickly opened up to audience members for questions. One of the first questions came from a Chinese agency asking the lovely Zhao Wei, the first Chinese female to sit on the VENEZIA Jury, what she was looking for in films.

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Chinese screen starlet, Zhao Wei, addresses the audience at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival’s Opening Press Conference. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

Ms. Zhao Wei responded while she has considerable experience in the film industry she was also a still learning about films and would look for quality in all aspects of the film’s production. Next, an Austrian entity inquired regarding the safety in attending such a prestigious and noteworthy festival. Mr. Barbera quickly responded informing the audience the festival had an increased security presence this year and had taken precautionary measures to safeguard this year’s attendees. The second question was no less in ease to answer and came from a Japanese party. The inquiry came from the fact no Japanese film had made the festival for three consecutive years and why? Another quick response from Mr. Barbera provided insight into the festival’s lineup from over 50 countries out of upwards to 188 countries so every country won’t be represented every year. The third question hit the mark with what does VENEZIA73 President, Sam Mendez look for in his analysis of films. Mr. Mendez responded with while he does view many films, he doesn’t have a structured format for his analysis preferring to enjoy the film and find it’s excellence within. Mendez humbly admitted he is still learning about film!

And, as the conference was limited in the amount of time, Barbera thanked the audience for coming and wished each and everyone a safe and wonderful festival.

‘Tutti a casa’ screens Pre-Opening night at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival

I wasn’t disappointed a bit on this one. Quite the opposite. The sanctity of the cinema and the reverence of the Italian audience is a “must experience.”
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31/08/2016 13:41: Pre-opening screening – Sala Darsena – Tutti a casa – (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)
So after I waited in line for nearly two hours (in position number one), I found an aisle seat with an abundance of leg room. I settled in to hear Festival Director Alberto Barbera and Biennale President Paolo Baratta address the near-capacity audience at the Sala Dardene in Italian. As I am not fluent in Italian, I watched intently for cues in tone and body language. Both men seem to have had something important to say and the manner in which they delivered it made me sense there was a bit of philosophy floating through the sound waves.
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Pre-opening screening – Sala Darsena – Tutti a casa, Francesca ed Eleonora Comencini © ASAC, la Biennale di Venezia
Homage was paid to Luigi Comenechi by a few of his relatives, including his beautiful daughter Francesca, in a highly eloquent manner.
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Pre-opening screening – Sala Darsena – Tutti a casa – Thierry Frémaux © ASAC, la Biennale di Venezia

The final guest speaker, Thierry Fremaux, gave the audience a quick barrage of words in French on the importance of the Lumiere Brothers work and the nedd for it to be preserved. Mr. Barbera translatedMr. Fremeaux’s French into Italian then followed the French gentleman to his front row seat microphone in hand. With adept timing as Barbera took his seat next to the French gentlemen, the lights dimmed and the screen was illuminated with “Lumiere!”

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To celebrate this important anniversary, on the Pre-opening night of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (Tuesday August 30th, at 8:30 pm) in the Sala Darsena on the Lido, the public gathered to celebrate Comencini’s one-hundredth birthday. Prior to the screening of the previously announced restored version of Luigi Comencini’s Tutti a casa the audience was invited to enjoy  the program of nine “views” made in Venice by the operators of the Cinématographe Lumière  said  the Director Fremaux of the Institut Lumière of Lyon.

The films, which were made over three consecutive years (1896-98), were:
Arrivée en gondole, 1896, N°291
Pigeons sur la place Saint-Marc,  N°292
Tramway sur le Grand Canal, 1896, N°293
Grand Canal avec barques, 1896, N°294
Panorama du Grand Canal pris d’un bateau, 1896, N°295
Panorama de la place Saint-Marc pris d’un bateau, N°296
Venise, place Saint-Marc, 1897, N°430
Arrivée en gondole des souveraines d’Allemagne et d’Italie au palais royal de Venise, 1898, N°1058
Départ en gondole, 1898, N°1059
The Biennale di Venezia thanked Thierry Fremaux and the Institut Lumière for their valuable collaboration, as well as the Alliance française and Carlo Montanaro of La Fabbrica del Vedere in Venice.
The screening of the “views” will be followed, for the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the great director Luigi Comencini (1916 – 2007), by the previously announced screening of Comencini‘s masterpiece Tutti a casa (Everybody Go Home, Italy/France, 1960) starring Alberto Sordi, Serge Reggiani, Carla Gravina and Eduardo De Filippo, produced by Dino De Laurentiis, for the world premiere of the digitally restored copy by Filmauro and CSC – Cineteca Nazionale di Roma.
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Venetian audiences were invited to the special Pre-opening tribute-night at the Sala Darsena on the Lido, beginning at 8:30 pm, thanks to the collaboration with the daily newspapers “Il Gazzettino”, “La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre” and “Il Corriere del Veneto”.

 

Tutti a casa by Luigi Comencini is one of the most famous and successful examples of what made the “commedia all’italiana” immortal: the blend of comedy and drama, of real and grotesque, of courage and determination to survive. Comencini, with the autobiographical complicity of the two great screenwriters Age and Scarpelli and the bitter laughs provoked by the remarkable performance of Alberto Sordi, tells the story of the chaos that ensued on September 8th 1943, when Badoglio signed the armistice and the soldiers loyal to the King and Mussolini were abandoned to their own destinies, to face many dangers alone. In the film, Alberto Sordi, on the phone under German gunfire, asks his superiors: “Colonel, Sir, this is Lieutenant Innocenzi, something amazing just happened, the Germans have become allies of the Americans. What are we supposed to do?”
Tutti a casa is a “road movie” across the ruins and confusion reigning in Italy at that time, when the soldiers had no one to give them orders and one after another they decided to head back home: tutti a casa, everybody go home. In the story, Second Lieutenant Alberto Innocenzi (Sordi), who is used to obeying and not answering back, is abandoned by his soldiers and flees from north to south with his sick friend, the Neapolitan military engineer Ceccarelli (Serge Reggiani). He runs into German soldiers eager for retaliation who shoot at them, witnesses the odyssey of a Jewish girl attempting to escape (for whom a young Venetian soldier gives his life), meets an American prisoner hiding in an attic, is united with his father (Eduardo De Filippo) who wants to send him back to the Fascist army, until the final redemption during the 4 days of Naples. At the time Comencini stated: “On the 8th of September, people were abandoned to themselves, and that is what I wanted to describe”. The film was a box office hit, bringing in over a billion lire in ticket sales.
comencini-thumbLuigi Comencini (1916-2007) who was awarded a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 1987 by the Biennale di Venezia, is considered one of the greatest masters of Italian-style comedy, as well as “the children’s director“. Among his comedies, his first masterpiece was Pane, amore e fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams, 1953), with Gina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica, winner of the Silver Bear in Berlin, the prototype for what is known as “neorealismo rosa” and one of the highest-grossing films in the history of Italian cinema, followed over the years by other hit comedies such as Pane, amore e gelosia (Bread, Love and Jealousy, 1954), Mariti in città (Husbands in the City, 1957), Lo scopone scientifico (The Scientific Cardplayer, 1957) and Mio Dio, come sono caduta in basso! (Till Marriage Do Us Part, 1974).
Comencini addressed the theme of childhood early on in 1946 with Bambini in città, his first short documentary (which won an award in Venice and a Nastro d’argento), while Proibito rubare (Hey Boy, 1948), set among the street children in Naples, was his first feature-length film. His significant production of films on the theme of “childhood” continued with La finestra sul Luna Park (The Window to Luna Park, 1956), Incompreso (Misunderstood, 1966, in competition at Cannes and winner of a David di Donatello), Voltati Eugenio (1980, presented at the Venice Film Festival), Un ragazzo di Calabria (A Boy from Calabria, 1987, in competition in Venice) and Marcellino pane e vino (1991) his last film directed with his daughter Francesca. Also worthy of note are his versions of two classics of children’s literature, such as Le avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio, 1972) and Cuore (1984).
A co-founder in 1935 with Alberto Lattuada and Mario Ferrari of the Cineteca italiana in Milan, Comencini directed a total of forty feature-length films, excluding his documentaries, screenplays, and investigative reports for Rai television. He experimented with many genres other than comedy, such as murder mysteries (La donna della domenica, The Sunday Woman, 1975), melodrama (Incompreso, 1966), literary films (La ragazza di Bube, 1963), period films (Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova veneziano, 1974), film-operas (La Bohème,  1987), but also experimented with more particular films (Cercasi Gesù, 1982, winner of a Nastro d’argento). In an interview he granted in the early 1980s, Comencini declared that he was willing to defend ten of his films, that “would never have seen the light of day if I had not made other flawed films, wholly or in part. But I have never made a film in bad faith”.
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(Source:www.labiennale.org)

August 31: Opening of the 73rd Venice Film Festival

The 73rd Venice International Film Festival, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, will run at Venice Lido from August 31st to September 10th, 2016, directed by Alberto Barbera.

The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote the various aspects of international cinema in all its forms: as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. The Festival also organizes retrospectives and tributes to major figures as a contribution towards a better understanding of the history of cinema.

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(Photo courtesy of ASAC Images/La Biennale di Venezia)

73rd Venice International Film Festival

Line-up

Screening schedule

Screenings by Director / by Title

International Juries

Introduction by the President of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta
Introduction by the Director, Alberto Barbera
Statistics
Productions and co-productions of the films in the official selection
Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement: Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jerzy Skolimowski
Web Theatre: online screening for 18 feature films in the line-up
Lido in Mostra” project: Services and special offers for the public, young people and accredited visitors
Calendar of events, presentations and talks
Tickets

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(Source:www.labiennale.org)

Venice film festival: Hollywood looks to Italy for Oscars launchpad

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Andrew Pulver

The last two best picture Oscar-winners have premiered at Venice, part of a concerted bid to woo Hollywood that has revitalised the festival. LA-set musical La La Land, opening proceedings this year, is looking for the hat-trick.

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Final preparations for the red carpet at Lido. (Photo credit: Claudio Onorati/EPA)

 

As the summer ends, so begins the autumn film-festival season, more than ever inextricably linked with the end-of-year scrabble for awards that culminates in the Oscars in February 2017. The first shots have been fired, pundits are already talking up potential contenders, and the slow rollout of the actual films has begun. However, no single showcase has proved more talismanic in recent years than the Venice film festival, which has hosted the world premiere of the best picture Oscar winner for the last two years in succession – Spotlight and Birdman – and the biggest winner, numerically speaking, the year before that, with Gravity.

 

This year, Venice’s big pitch for Oscar augury is La La Land, a Los Angeles-set musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and directed by Damien Chazelle as a follow-up to his remarkable jazz-class drama Whiplash; La La Land has been given the prestigious opening-gala slot. Described by the Venice film festival’s director Alberto Barbera as “a wonderful film, a classical musical, and a marvellous tribute to American cinema from a contemporary perspective”, La La Land would appear to have instantly surged into the front rank of awards season contenders. Barbera is diffident as to Venice’s ability to confer automatic Oscar-statuette potential on to his picks – “I’ve been lucky for the last three years; I couldn’t have imagined when I first saw Gravity or Birdman they would win all those Oscars” – but admits he has put considerable effort into attracting major Hollywood players in recent years.

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Ryan Gossling and Emma Stone in La La Land. (Photo Credit: Dale Robinette/AP)

“We want Venice to be an important launching pad, the opening of the season, the real beginning of the race for the Oscar.” As well as making regular trips to New York and Los Angeles to chat up studio executives and preview material, Barbera says “we have invested a lot: we renovated the theatres, improved the quality of the screenings, as well as the general location and the services we are able to offer industry visitors.” By the latter, he means such initiatives as a fully fledged film market, which has been operating since 2012, and which has morphed into a production and development programme called Venice Production Bridge, or a “gap-financing” platform for film-makers looking for extra investment.

Barbera’s prescience has also proved crucial in Venice’s increasingly effective ability to fight its corner against its direct competitors in the film festival calendar: the boutique event in Telluride, Colorado, which begins on 2 September, and the giant-scale Toronto film festival, which kicks off on 8 September. As recently as 2012, industry observers considered that Venice appeared to be lagging well behind, trading on its reputation as the world’s oldest festival (having been founded in 1932) but struggling to attract the best films. But now the position is almost completely reversed, with Barbera making the case successfully to Hollywood producers that the extra expense of sending a film to Italy is worth it.

“Five years ago, the competition with Toronto and Telluride was very strong. For the American majors it was clear that it was easier, and cheaper, to take their films to Toronto. They could make the promotion for their domestic campaign for their films, and start their campaign for the Oscar.” Venice’s old-world glamour has been transformed into a potent weapon – “all the talent are happy to come to Venice, they like Cipriani’s, the hotels, the food and so on, the red carpet here you cannot get with our competitors” – as well as its more selective programme based around the competition for the Golden Lion. “It’s very different,” says Barbera, “from arriving in Toronto in the middle of 300 films, where you risk getting lost in a huge lineup.”

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Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander in The Light Between Oceans (Photo credit: Allstar/Touchstone Pictures)

 

Perhaps even more important than the intra-festival politicking over world premieres is the current wealth of American cinema in general, which means Venice’s wooing of Hollywood is paying off. In Barbera’s words: “This is a very strong period for American cinema – [there] are lot of big, big films around.” La La Land will be joined on the Lido by the likes of The Light Between Oceans, the heartrending weepie starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, Terrence Malick’s documentary Voyage of Time, Nocturnal Animals, the second film from fashion designer Tom Ford, and Arrival, a first-contact alien sci-fi thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Inevitably, other areas of the film-making universe appear relatively neglected, with Venice unable to command quite the same level of participation from the elite of international auteur directors as Cannes – though Barbera is emphatic he is not competing with the venerable French festival staged each May. “Cannes comes before us in the year. The studios don’t like to show a film too far ahead of its release, so Venice is better for the American films that want to come out in the autumn. The films that are ready in the first half of the year go to Cannes: it is a matter of timing.”

Perhaps more surprising is Venice’s difficult relationship with its domestic industry. Not only do the most venerated contemporary Italian directors – Paolo Sorrentino, Nanni Moretti, Matteo Garrone – reserve their work primarily for Cannes, but those that do venture to Venice, such as Luca Guadagnino, can receive distinctly chilly receptions:  Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash was booed at its premiere last year. Barbera is resigned to what he calls a “prejudice” on the part of the Italian film industry who are unwilling, he suggests, to grapple with a hostile press corps. On the other hand, he says he rejects numerous home films for “not being strong enough”. A special screening of the first two episodes of Sorrentino’s new TV drama The Young Pope, featuring Jude Law, may go some way to healing the breach.

Barbera may also be playing with fire by programming Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s first film as director since a series of public controversies – including an anit-semitic outburst during a DUI arrest in 2006 and accusations of abuse against his then-partner Oksana Grigorieva. Hacksaw Ridge is the story of Medal of Honor-winning conscientious objector Desmond T Doss, and Barbera says its inclusion is “a quality issue”. “I was worried, of course, for all the reasons you expect, but when I saw the full film, I didn’t have any doubts.”

  • The Venice film festival runs from 31 August-10 September.

(Source:www.theguardian.com)

Why the Venice Film Fest Matters More to Oscar (Sorry, Toronto)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Ariston Anderson

After premiering three major Academy Award winners in a row, the world’s oldest film fest is once again Hollywood’s awards-season launchpad.

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The past few years, while Toronto bickered with Telluride over which festival could screen which premiere when and where, Venice — after some decidedly lackluster editions — took the high road and worked on improving. The result? It’s back on top after a scorecard that saw successful Oscar wins for Venice premieres three years in a row: Gravity, Birdman and, last year, Spotlight. Hollywood has taken notice. The festival is filled with studio titles this year, which means the red carpet will be filled with A-list talent. The four premieres that already are garnering awards buzz:

La La Land’s Oscar Launch

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With Venice proving to be a good luck charm at the Oscars, one young contender seems to be taking the hint. Damien Chazelle is following up his 2014 best picture nominee Whiplash with festival opener La La Land. The musical stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls in love with an aspiring actress (Emma Stone). The Venice committee, after watching the film, immediately offered Lionsgate the opening slot. “I was so honored to get the invitation to open Venice,” says Chazelle. “It’s the kind of place that seems to belong in a dream. That’s the feeling I wanted to capture with this movie: the way things look and sound in a dream, the magic and the romance of it all.”

Chazelle adds that it was a natural choice to follow up his critically acclaimed Whiplash with the challenging genre of the musical. “The thing I love about musicals is that everything is possible. You can combine all the arts — music, dance, painting, theater —  to collectively produce an emotion that can’t be conveyed by words,” he says. “I wanted to try and make a film that told an honest, intimate story but also allowed for that kind of big-screen moviemaking.”

Festival director Alberto Barbera believes that the film, a tribute to old Hollywood musicals, is a natural candidate for the Oscars. “It has all the elements,” he says. “It’s a wonderful story, a classic film. It’s extremely well done with two outstanding lead performances. You have to go back to the ’60s and ’70s to see something that is similar to those performances. It has beautiful music, beautiful dance performances. Everything in the film is definitely outstanding.”

While Lionsgate is planning a big launch at the festival, unfortunately Gosling will not be present, as he couldn’t escape filming duties for Blade Runner 2. Stone will be back in Venice after her 2014 success with Birdman led her to an Oscar nomination.

Mel’s Big Comeback

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After a public meltdown of epic proportions, Mel Gibson retreated from the spotlight, putting his work behind the camera on hold. Now Venice is premiering his first directorial effort since Apocalypto (2006). Never one to retreat from challenging topics, Gibson explores the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, in the World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge.

“The movie is special,” says Stuart Ford, CEO of IM Global, which co-financed the film, putting up approximately half of the budget. “Audiences can look forward to a picture that is both an old-school, action-packed wartime epic and also an intelligent and very moving present day statement on the nature of conflict and forgiveness.”

Barbera firmly believes the film marks Gibson’s comeback. “There is a high expectation of course after the previous films and all the issues around his bizarre attitude. I didn’t know what I was going to say when I saw the film,” he says. “I was quite surprised because it is a beautiful, classic war film about a courageous hero and the capability to put one’s own life before others. I think it’s proved that he’s a really great director and I hope that it will forgive some mistakes that he did and some unacceptable behaviors in the past.”

Paolo Sorrentino’s TV Debut

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It’s not just films that are having their moment in Venice. HBO’s launch of Olive Kitteridge in Venice led it to pick up eight Emmy awards last year. As more and more acclaimed cinema directors make the leap into longform TV, all eyes will be on Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino’s TV debut The Young Pope, starring Jude Law as a fictional American pope who is conservative, politically conniving, and incredibly self-reflective. The production is a joint effort of HBO, Sky and Canal Plus.

The Young Pope is a 10-part series but at the same time is a collection of 10 movies, each of them with Sorrentino’s unique flair and enthusiasm in innovating visual storytelling, featuring an inimitable top-notch technical and quality style and starring an outstanding international cast,” says Andrea Scrosati, executive vp programming of Sky Italia says. “So there could not be a more suitable venue than the Venice Film Festival to premiere the first two episodes of this show, and this choice confirms, if any additional proof were needed, that the distinction between cinema and television no longer exists: It all comes down to storytelling.”

FremantleMedia International, which is handling sales, has, not surprisingly, already begun closing deals ahead of the Venice launch. “Jude Law plays a hyper-contemporary and conservative pope, revolutionary, a fundamentalist who goes through life with an absolute faith and devotion to God,” says Lorenzo Mieli, CEO of FremantleMedia Italy. “And all the while he continuously poses to himself and to us the question we are all compelled to ask at least once in our lives: What do we mean exactly when we talk about faith and God? Stories and themes like these inevitably involve a wide audience from each country.”

Sorrentino agrees with the potential wide appeal of the series. “Beyond the interest for the Vatican, a closed and mysterious place, the series turns its attention to the Vatican’s inhabitants,” he says. “I think that the audience, regardless of where they’re from, will be captivated by the human and spiritual lives of these people.”

And with the American election coming up, Sorrentino believes that the candidates could also heed the advice of The Young Pope. “There is always danger around the corner,” he says. “The private biography of a leader can influence his choices for the collective interest of the people and that these choices could be dangerous and ineffective.”

Focus Features’ $20 Million Gamble

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Last year, Focus Features paid a reported $20 million for Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford’s sophomore directorial effort.

Now, Focus is planning on betting a big chunk of their Oscar-campaign money on the dark romance based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan and starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. Adams plays an art gallery owner who receives her ex-husband’s violent manuscript in the mail, which she interprets as a threatening tale of revenge and regret. It plays out as a story within a story as Isla Fisher plays Adams in novel form.

Could the L.A.-set noir finally deliver Amy Adams and/or Jake Gyllenhaal their long-awaited Oscars? Focus hopes so, with many more categories to push for. “The film will be one of the highlights of Venice,” says Barbera. “Both Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal could start an Oscar campaign from Venice, definitely.”

 

(Source:www.hollywoodreporter.com)

Pre-opening night of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival

Tuesday August 30th, 8:30 pm in the Sala Darsena

9 “views” of Venice and Luigi Comencini’s Tutti a casa (1960)

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.29.33 PMOne hundred twenty years ago – and precisely on the night of July 9th, 1896 – the Cinématographe Lumière made its first appearance in Venice, with the screening of a programme composed of 15 “views”, held just a step away from Piazza San Marco at the Teatro Minerva. It was not until the following August 21st that for the first time the screening also introduced 3 films made in Venice: Arrival of a gondola at Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Vaporetti at Rialto and The Legendary Pigeons of San Marco, which were followed by others in the days to come.
To celebrate this important anniversary, on the Pre-opening night of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (Tuesday August 30th, at 8:30 pm) in the Sala Darsena on the Lido, the public gathered to celebrate Comencini’s one-hundredth birthday, prior to the screening of the previously announced restored version of Luigi Comencini’s Tutti a casa, is invited to enjoy  the programme of nine “views” made in Venice by the operators of the Cinématographe Lumière, commented in the theatre by the Director of the Institut Lumière of Lyon, Thierry Fremaux.
The films, which were made over three consecutive years (1896-98), are:
Arrivée en gondole, 1896, N°291
Pigeons sur la place Saint-Marc,  N°292
Tramway sur le Grand Canal, 1896, N°293
Grand Canal avec barques, 1896, N°294
Panorama du Grand Canal pris d’un bateau, 1896, N°295
Panorama de la place Saint-Marc pris d’un bateau, N°296
Venise, place Saint-Marc, 1897, N°430
Arrivée en gondole des souveraines d’Allemagne et d’Italie au palais royal de Venise, 1898, N°1058
Départ en gondole, 1898, N°1059
The Biennale di Venezia wishes to thank Thierry Fremaux and the Institut Lumière for their valuable collaboration, as well as the Alliance française and Carlo Montanaro of La Fabbrica del Vedere in Venice.
The screening of the “views” will be followed, for the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the great director Luigi Comencini (1916 – 2007), by the previously announced screening of Comencini‘s masterpiece Tutti a casa (Everybody Go Home, Italy/France, 1960) starring Alberto Sordi, Serge Reggiani, Carla Gravina and Eduardo De Filippo, produced by Dino De Laurentiis, for the world premiere of the digitally restored copy by Filmauro and CSC – Cineteca Nazionale di Roma.
Venetian audiences will be invited to the special Pre-opening tribute-night at the Sala Darsena on the Lido, beginning at 8:30 pm, thanks to the collaboration with the daily newspapers “Il Gazzettino”, “La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre” and “Il Corriere del Veneto”.
 
To attend the screening on the tribute-night in Sala Darsena free of charge, interested viewers can pick up their invitation at Ca’ Giustinian (San Marco 1364/a) or at the Lido (Bar Al Leone d’oro, on the corner of the Palazzo del Cinema on the side of Via Candia) starting on the afternoon of Friday August 26th through Tuesday August 30th (from 10 am – 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm) simply by presenting the coupon published from Friday 26th to Monday 29th August on “Il Gazzettino” or “La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre” (or, for online subscribers, by displaying the paid digital edition on their smartphones or tablets) or by following the instructions published on the “Corriere del Veneto” from Friday August 26th through Tuesday August 30th.
 
·  For information on available invitations call +39 041 2726505
·  Each coupon is good for one invitation for the free admission of one person to the screening
·  Invitations will be distributed on a first come first served basis for the number of seats reserved for each newspaper
 
                                                                                   ________ . ________
 
The 73rd Venice International Film Festival will be held on the Lido from August 31st to September 10th 2016 directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.
 
Tutti a casa by Luigi Comencini is one of the most famous and successful examples of what made the “commedia all’italiana” immortal: the blend of comedy and drama, of real and grotesque, of courage and determination to survive. Comencini, with the autobiographical complicity of the two great screenwriters Age and Scarpelli and the bitter laughs provoked by the remarkable performance of Alberto Sordi, tells the story of the chaos that ensued on September 8th 1943, when Badoglio signed the armistice and the soldiers loyal to the King and Mussolini were abandoned to their own destinies, to face many dangers alone. In the film, Alberto Sordi, on the phone under German gunfire, asks his superiors: “Colonel, Sir, this is Lieutenant Innocenzi, something amazing just happened, the Germans have become allies of the Americans. What are we supposed to do?”
Tutti a casa is a “road movie” across the ruins and confusion reigning in Italy at that time, when the soldiers had no one to give them orders and one after another they decided to head back home: tutti a casa, everybody go home. In the story, Second Lieutenant Alberto Innocenzi (Sordi), who is used to obeying and not answering back, is abandoned by his soldiers and flees from north to south with his sick friend, the Neapolitan military engineer Ceccarelli (Serge Reggiani). He runs into German soldiers eager for retaliation who shoot at them, witnesses the odyssey of a Jewish girl attempting to escape (for whom a young Venetian soldier gives his life), meets an American prisoner hiding in an attic, is united with his father (Eduardo De Filippo) who wants to send him back to the Fascist army, until the final redemption during the 4 days of Naples. At the time Comencini stated: “On the 8th of September, people were abandoned to themselves, and that is what I wanted to describe”. The film was a box office hit, bringing in over a billion lire in ticket sales.
Luigi Comencini (1916-2007) who was awarded a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 1987 by the Biennale di Venezia, is considered one of the greatest masters of Italian-style comedy, as well as “the children’s director“. Among his comedies, his first masterpiece was Pane, amore e fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams, 1953), with Gina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica, winner of the Silver Bear in Berlin, the prototype for what is known as “neorealismo rosa” and one of the highest-grossing films in the history of Italian cinema, followed over the years by other hit comedies such as Pane, amore e gelosia (Bread, Love and Jealousy, 1954), Mariti in città (Husbands in the City, 1957), Lo scopone scientifico (The Scientific Cardplayer, 1957) and Mio Dio, come sono caduta in basso! (Till Marriage Do Us Part, 1974).
Comencini addressed the theme of childhood early on in 1946 with Bambini in città, his first short documentary (which won an award in Venice and a Nastro d’argento), while Proibito rubare (Hey Boy, 1948), set among the street children in Naples, was his first feature-length film. His significant production of films on the theme of “childhood” continued with La finestra sul Luna Park (The Window to Luna Park, 1956), Incompreso (Misunderstood, 1966, in competition at Cannes and winner of a David di Donatello), Voltati Eugenio (1980, presented at the Venice Film Festival), Un ragazzo di Calabria (A Boy from Calabria, 1987, in competition in Venice) and Marcellino pane e vino (1991) his last film directed with his daughter Francesca. Also worthy of note are his versions of two classics of children’s literature, such as Le avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio, 1972) and Cuore (1984).
A co-founder in 1935 with Alberto Lattuada and Mario Ferrari of the Cineteca italiana in Milan, Comencini directed a total of forty feature-length films, excluding his documentaries, screenplays, and investigative reports for Rai television. He experimented with many genres other than comedy, such as murder mysteries (La donna della domenica, The Sunday Woman, 1975), melodrama (Incompreso, 1966), literary films (La ragazza di Bube, 1963), period films (Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova veneziano, 1974), film-operas (La Bohème,  1987), but also experimented with more particular films (Cercasi Gesù, 1982, winner of a Nastro d’argento). In an interview he granted in the early 1980s, Comencini declared that he was willing to defend ten of his films, that “would never have seen the light of day if I had not made other flawed films, wholly or in part. But I have never made a film in bad faith”.

 

(Source:www.labiennale.org)