Friday, 6/24/2016

The Italian Films

Darkest Corners of the Human Soul

The Italian Films

Lidiya Liberman in BLOOD OF MY BLOOD

In the dense jungle of TV series, many of us only see the brightest stars, to wit: HOUSE OF CARDS and GAME OF THRONES, at the moment. Sky has certainly discovered Italian blockbuster GOMORRHA, and launched the second season in Germany as well. Director Stefano Sollima sucks us into a maelstrom of intrigue, sex and violence, peering deep into the human abyss. His characters are multifaceted, his plotlines so complex they develop an immersive pull, trapping the audience in the labyrinth of their psyche.

Illuminating the darkest corners of the human soul, being trapped by the basest urges and the escalating release of all desires, are strategies we find not only in Stefano Sollima’s work, but modern Italian movies in general. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN has seven films from Italy, which will grab the viewers and arrest them - in the prison of their life.

Greta Scarano and Alessandro Borghi in SUBURRA

Staying with Stefano Sollima: His new feature film SUBURRA shows us a world perilously balanced on the pillars of power and ruthlessness: Compassion and humanity are a threat to this balance. The mob wants to build a new Las Vegas outside Rome, together with city officials. It’s an escalating struggle of male egos – violence and skulls explode, leaving a trail of dead: women and children first. Ultimately, a woman will be the pawn that advances to become a queen, thanks to her Houdini-like ability to break out of her chains – and to love. Stefano Sollima crafts a monumental thriller, a brilliant brain game, starring Greta Scarano, Elio Germano and Alessandro Borghi.

The theme of imprisonment and liberation runs through four films from Italy: FIORE directed by Claudio Giovannesi, BLOOD OF MY BLOOD directed by Marco Bellocchio, THE BEGINNERS directed by Claudio Cupellini, and ARIANNA directed by Carlo Lavagna.

Josciua Algeri in FIORE

FIORE is a love story between two teens in jail, rebelling not just against the bars that hold them, but the system, too. Claudio Giovannesi creates a world of prohibitions, where nothing is possible. Again, it is the capacity to love that offers escape. Marvelous: Daphne Scoccia in the lead!

In BLOOD OF MY BLOOD, it is a monastery that becomes the prison – in two ways: While a nun perishes in the days of the Holy Inquisition, a vampire stalks the cloister in the present day. In Marco Bellocchio’s surreal opus, it is the place itself that plays the lead.

Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Elio Germano in THE BEGINNERS

The lead characters in Claudio Cupellini’s THE BEGINNERS are also imprisoned, by bars as well as their relationship: Fausto is locked away, as Nadine tries to maneuver her way through society between Paris and Milano, an epic relationship drama, from which there is no escape.

Ondina Quadri in ARIANNA

There’s no escape for ARIANNA, either, whose body is a prison: her first sexual encounters are terrible, her girlfriends all seem so different than she is. Carlo Lavagna calls gender roles into question, sending his protagonist on a journey to an uncertain destination. Smart, enthralling gender bending starring an amazing Ondina Quadri.


Pietro Marcello’s LOST AND BEAUTIFUL begins as portrait of shepherd Tommaso Cestrone, the angel of Carditello, ending with a Commedia dell’arte clown, a fairy-tale homage to the legendary shepherd, a journey through an Italy trapped by graft and corruption.

Emilio D’Allesandro in S IS FOR STANLEY

Another legendary character is at the center of S IS FOR STANLEY by Alex Infascelli, a doc about Emilio D’Allesandro from Cassino, who started as a race driver and ended as Stanley Kubrick’s chauffeur. A must-see for Kubrick fans!

Seven films, seven highlights at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. All of them are well worth watching – the new Italian films.

Britta Schönhütl