The glory days of Neorealism and the Spaghetti Western are long gone, but la vita in Italia goes on, you know? People still make movies, but they rarely get distributed here in Gli Stati Uniti. Now the Film Society of Lincoln Center comes to our rescue, with their annual Open Roads festa. Over a dozen new Italian films are playing June 5 – 12, so the cognoscenti are already getting loro mozziconi over there, if ya know what I mean. Here’s a peek:
The Mafia Only Kills in Summer (2013)
This is a great couple of movies all by itself. It’s a black comedy about the mafia, a moving homage to victims of the mafia, and a heartwarming coming of age film. There’s also a fish out of water comedy and a political protest movie. If that sounds like too much for one movie, it is. Director Pierfrancesco “Pif” Diliberto crams too much into one film, but if it’s a mess, it’s an entertaining one.
A Street in Palermo (2013)
This one goes the opposite route: the plot is simplicity itself. One woman is driving down a narrow alley in Palermo. Another woman is going in the other direction. They block each other’s way, and each for their own reason refuses to back up. Things escalate quickly in this first film by theater director Emma Dante, who takes a small budget and bare-bones plot and runs with it. Recommended.
Those Happy Years (2013)
It’s too late to recommend this picture, which has already played the festival, but it might be worth seeking out in the future. A coming of age film about a kid raised by hippie/artsy parents, the movie absolutely nails the early 1970’s boho milieu. Directed by Daniele Luchetti, Those Happy Years features top-notch performances by Kim Rossi Stuart and Micaela Ramazzotti as the self-absorbed parents.
There’s also a gay movie (Happy to be Different), a soccer movie (The Referee), and a rom-com (The Fifth Wheel), so run out and buy some biglietti before they’re all gone.