One of Italy's most prominent film festivals for Italian films made by young directors at their first or second experience N.I.C.E., New Italian Cinema Events, directed by Viviana del Bianco and Grazia Santini, is about to start. This year's program will be held on November 11-13th.
This year, as always, the program will present some of the best up-and-coming films created by the next generation of new independent Italian directors. Celebrating 21 years in the USA, New Italian Cinema 2011 offers Opening and Closing Night presentations with work by prominent Italian directors.
The films in this year's program investigate topics including corporate malfeasance, office politics, rural life and war, as experienced by Italians from every walk of life. Opening Night offers the latest by one of Italy's most respected filmmakers, Daniele Luchetti's Our Life (Luchetti is scheduled to be present at the press conference on November 8th as well). Closing Night will be dedicated to Ricky Tognazzi's The Father and the Foreigner. All screenings will be held at the Anthology Film Archives and will be followed by Q&As with the directorsflying from Italy to meet any curious audience.
Each year the New Italian Cinema Events organization in Florence, working with selection committee members Rod Armstrong and journalists Deborah Young and Barbara Corsi, chooses the best Italian entries from the year's major European film festivals to present in the New Italian Cinema competition. Indeed, N.I.C.E. New Italian Cinema Events is a non-profit cultural association founded in 1991 that aims to promote new Italian cinema abroad through cultural exchanges and festivals. Its founders and members have been working for more than a decade in the organization of such international film festivals. For each Festival the selection committee chooses seven feature films among the best made by up-and-coming film directors throughout the year.
N.I.C.E. USA, the most established one, shows a selection of seven shorts made recently. The films presented in the N.I.C.E. USA Festival are eligible to receive the “Premio Città di Firenze” (City of Florence Award) which is decided by the American audience by voting cards handed out before each screening. The prestige of the Festival has increased with the passing of years thanks also to the relations established with the most important producers and distributors (Miramax, United Artists, Touchstone Pictures, MGM etc.) and the interest they have shown for the event.
Thursday, November 10 @7.00 p.m. and 9.30 p.m.
Our Life (La nostra vita)
Directed by Daniele Luchetti
A construction worker, married with two kids, faces a devastating blow in this powerful character portrait. Desperately needing money to support his family, the genial, if casually xenophobic, Claudio (Elio Germano, in a performance that won him the Best Actor prize at Cannes) manipulates his boss for a promotion and borrows money from a loan shark to finance his own project. With a compact script and a camera style that evokes remarkable intimacy, Luchetti deftly details the complications and disasters of Claudio’s life while also offering a compelling social critique of building standards and immigrant labor in present-day Rome. Besides Germano, Our Life also features notable performances by other Italian cinema luminaries such as Raoul Bova and Luca Zingaretti. (98 min, 2010)
Friday, November 11
This World Is For You (Questo mondo è per te)
Directed by Francesco Falaschi
In the life-altering summer of 2009, handsome, amiable Matteo faces impending oral exams, a father ill with leukemia and a girlfriend going abroad to study wine. His friends are equally at loose ends—one contemplates the seminary while another goes to rehab. Amid these challenges and circumstances, Matteo is conflicted between pursuing pragmatic employment or fulfilling his dream to establish a floating movie palace for cinephiles. Set on the scenic Tuscan coast, This World Is for You is a playful, fast-paced film about a young man trying to find his place in an environment rife with possibilities but slightly bereft of actual opportunities. (82 min, 2011)
Vodka Tonic (8')
Directed by Ivano Fachin
Directed by Anton Evangelista
This is the epic story of Umberto Evangelista, a dynamic ninety-year-old Italian immigrant living in New York City. A real-life Cinderella tale, leading us along a path of personal triumphs over childhood abandonment, harsh treatment in orphanages and a rejecting stepmother. In spite of all of his adversities, Umberto chooses love and forgiveness as his weapons of ‘revenge,’ which lead to finding the love of his life - his wife Luisa, and the new life they would have with their children in coming to America. The story is the emblem of a collective epopee that perhaps doesn’t exist anymore, but which would certainly need to be rediscovered. The core of it is the eternal battle between Good and Evil and how, through altruism, sacrifice and a touch of poetry, the first can get the better of any injustice and suffering caused by the second. (45 min, 2011)
Saturday, November 12
The Jewel (Il gioiellino)
Directed by Andrea Molaioli
Based on the real-life bankruptcy of the Italian company Parmalat, Molaioli’s film reunites him with the protean Toni Servillo (The Girl by the Lake, N.I.C.E. 2008) to dramatize a particular instance of corporate corruption. In 1992, dairy company Leda decides it needs to diversify. CFO Ernesto Botta suggests going public in order to raise cash, but mismanagement, backroom dealings and widespread financial finagling lead to disaster. Even as the business unravels and it becomes obvious who will be the scapegoat, Botta remains loyal and unflappable. With a wide range of hooded glances and a particular rhythm of speech, Servillo inhabits yet another character unable to extricate himself from a devastating predicament. (103 min, 2011)
Some Say No (C’è chi dice no)
Directed by Giambattista Avellino
Three friends in different fields band together to fight the system of nepotism that rewards those with the right connections in this lively, Florence-set social satire. Journalist Max, doctor Irma and law professor Samuele all see their job opportunities fizzle when less qualified people are selected for positions in their respective workplaces. Bonding over their misfortunes at a high school reunion dinner, they decide to take revenge in a variety of outrageous ways. From dosing a conference participant with LSD to dognapping, the trio risk their jobs and imprisonment trying to expose the graft that is rife in Italian society. Amusing and trenchant, with an adept and comically gifted cast, the film offers lighthearted hilarity with serious intent. (95 min, 2011)
Sunday, November 13 @ 7.00 p.m. and 9.30 p.m.
The Father and the Foreigner (Il padre e lo straniero)
Directed by Ricky Tognazzi
Two men from different backgrounds who both have disabled children meet and bond in this constantly surprising dramatic thriller. Diego (Alessandro Gassman from Steam) is a businessman who uses work excuses to distance himself from his handicapped son while Walid (Amr Waked) is a mysterious Syrian who lavishes affection on his disfigured infant. In the process of showing Diego not to fear his child, Walid also involves his new friend in increasingly dangerous circumstances. From quick trips to Syria to meetings with possibly shady strangers, the connection between the two men shifts and deepens in unexpected ways. (107 min, 2010)