SIGNORE & SIGNORE: LEADING LADIES OF ITALIAN CINEMA
May 9 - July 1
Sophia Loren. Anna Magnani. Gina Lollobrigida. Monica Vitti. Claudia Cardinale. Giulietta Masina. The great film actresses of Italy are on display in this wonderful series, featuring both major international stars and many less known to American audiences. Several stars appear here in unexpected roles--check out Michelangelo Antonioni's muse Monica Vitti in Ettore Scola's farcical A DRAMA OF JEALOUSY (with Marcello Mastroianni and Giancarlo Giannini, no less), or THE CONFORMIST's Stefania Sandrelli in the bittersweet comedy I KNEW HER SO WELL, or THE THIRD MAN's enigmatic Alida Valli in the period melodrama OLD FASHIONED WORLD. The focus may be on the ladies, but these rare and wonderful gems on loan from the vaults at Cinecittà Holding represent a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore the many delights of Italian cinema, including films directed by Antonioni, Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Dino Risi, Lina Wertmüller, and Pier Paolo Pasolini.
This series is produced by Cinecittà Holding with the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture-Cinema Department, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington, and originally curated by Piera De Tassis, from the book Signore & Signore.
AFI Member passes will be accepted at all films in the Signore & Signore: Leading Ladies of Italian Cinema series.
JULIET OF THE SPIRITS
[Giulietta degli spiriti]
The incomparable Giulietta Masina stars as a sweet, neglected upper-middle class housewife experiencing a mid-life crisis when she begins to doubt her husband's fidelity. A beautiful meditation on the female psyche and a mesmerizing companion piece to 81/2, this film features some of the most intuitively delightful visuals to be found in Italian cinema. Fellini is reported to have attended séances and visited tarot card readers and mediums as research for the film! (Note courtesy of American Cinematheque)
DIR/SCR Federico Fellini; SCR Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, Brunello Rondi; PROD Angelo Rizzoli. Italy/France, 1965, color, 137 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Saturday, May 9, 5:45; Monday, May 11, 9:30
Sophia Loren plays a woman who flees Rome with her daughter during World War II and suffers a terrible tragedy along the way. De Sica's rarely-seen masterpiece garnered worldwide acclaim for Loren, proving her talent as a volatile and versatile actress, as well as the inspiration for Penelope Cruz in VOLVER. Loren's Best Actress Oscar was the first ever given for a performance in a "foreign-language" film. (Note courtesy Italian Film Festival UK)
DIR Vittorio De Sica; SCR Cesare Zavattini, based on the novel by Alberto Moravia; PROD Carlo Ponti. Italy/France, 1960, b&w, 100 min. In Italian and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sunday, May 10, 5:30; Tuesday, May 12, 7:00
After Pasolini's fascinating surrealist film won honors at the Venice Film Festival, it was banned on an obscenity charge that was eventually overturned on the basis of the film's "high artistic value." Terence Stamp is the enigmatic stranger who turns the lives of a middle class family upside down when he seduces each member--including the maid--and then disappears into the night. Silvana Mangano is the matriarch who loses herself in wanton carnality as she roams the town looking for young men to fill the void once he's gone.
DIR/SCR Pier Paolo Pasolini, based on the novel by Pier Paolo Pasolini; PROD Manolo Bolognini, Franco Rossellini. Italy, 1968, b&w and color, 105 min. In English and Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Friday, May 15, 9:15; Tuesday, May 19, 9:15
BREAD, LOVE AND DREAMS
[Pane amore e fantasia]
The film that shot Gina Lollobrigida onto the international scene and into movie stardom was nominated for an Academy Award and won the prestigious Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Vittorio De Sica is the elder statesman, an authoritative marshal of the military police who falls for headstrong temptress Lollobrigida, who is herself in love with a lower ranking sergeant of De Sica's. Considered by many to be Lollobrigida's signature performance, this collaboration with director Comencini sparked two sequels.
DIR/SCR Luigi Comencini; SCR Ettore Maria Margadonna; PROD Marcello Girosi. Italy, 1953, b&w, 93 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sunday, May 17, 7:30; Monday, May 18, 7:00
[Roma, città aperta]
Marcello Pagliero, an idealistic radical fighting the Nazi occupation of Rome, must flee the city after the Gestapo tracks him down. With his enemies closing in, he turns to Anna Magnani, his friend's fiancee, for help. Filmed in the wake of the Allied liberation of the Italian capital, this film astonished post-war audiences with its honest, un-romanticized depiction of the resistance and largely nonprofessional cast, including German POWs. (Note courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive)
DIR Roberto Rossellini; SCR Sergio Amidei, Federico Fellini. Italy, 1945, b&w, 100 min. In Italian and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Saturday, May 23, 7:00; Sunday, May 24, 2:45
DEATH OF A CYCLIST
[Muerte de un ciclista]
The exquisite Italian actress Lucia Bosé was the star of Antonioni's early features THE STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR and THE LADY WITHOUT CAMELIAS. In Juan Antonio Bardem's powerful thriller, two adulterous lovers (Bosé and Alberto Closas) hit and kill a bicyclist with their speeding automobile and flee the scene in a panic. Fear of discovery and a gripping paranoia ensue, as the two lovers attempt to escape detection, pressed to the breaking point when a friend of Bosé's husband insinuates that he may have knowledge of both their affair and culpability in the crime.
DIR/SCR Juan Antonio Bardem; SCR Based on a story by Luis Fernando de Igoa; PROD Georges de Beauregard, Manuel J. Goyanes. Spain/Italy, 1955, b&w, 88 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sunday, May 24, 7:05; Tuesday, May 26, 7:00
OLD FASHIONED WORLD
[Piccolo mondo antico]
The talented and multi-lingual Alida Valli nabbed the Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival for this breakthrough performance as a 19th century clerk's daughter who marries into an aristocratic family with disastrous consequences.
DIR/SCR Mario Soldati; SCR Mario Bonfantini, Emilio Cecchi, Alberto Lattuada, based on the novel by Antonio Fogazzaro; PROD Carlo Ponti. Italy, 1941, b&w, 106 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Saturday, May 30, 2:30; Sunday, May 31, 6:15
GIRL WITH A SUITCASE
[La ragazza con la valigia]
When nightclub singer Claudia Cardinale is left on the roadside with nothing but a suitcase by her well-to-do, but good for nothing lover, it is the louse's 16-year-old brother Jacques Perrin who feels the pangs of conscience and first love as he struggles to help preserve her self-respect. As Perrin's feelings range from tenderness to jealousy, Cardinale bounces moodily from man to man and Perrin's none-too-pleased family tries to stop the romance.
DIR/SCR Valerio Zurlini; SCR Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi; PROD Maurizio Lodi-Fe. Italy/France, 1961, b&w, 111 min. In French and Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Saturday, May 30, 7:00; Sunday, May 31, 4:00
DRAMA OF JEALOUSY a.k.a. THE PIZZA TRIANGLE
[Dramma della gelosia]
Blonde bombshell Monica Vitti is at the center of this satire as a flower girl dating already married Communist bricklayer Marcello Mastroianni (who won the Best Acting prize at Cannes). When a young pizza chef (Giancarlo Giannini) also declares his love, the two men come to blows, but it is Vitti who's the worse for wear. Deciding that she must choose whom she loves best, the three move in together--where things really become complicated.
DIR/SCR Ettore Scola; SCR Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli; PROD Pio Angeletti, Adriano De Micheli. Italy/Spain, 1970, color, 99 min. In Italian with English subtitles. RATED R
Saturday, June 6, 5:30; Tuesday, June 9, 7:00
THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI
[Mimì metallurgico ferito nell'onore]
Director Lina Wertmüller received a Best Director nomination at Cannes for this political satire featuring Giancarlo Giannini as a Sicilian laborer who abandons his family and flees to Turin when he engenders the wrath of a local Mafia Don. There he falls in love with free spirited bohemian Mariangela Melato and fathers a child, smuggling them both back to his hometown where he is surprised to learn his wife has also been busy while he was away.
DIR/SCR Lina Wertmüller; PROD Romano Cardarelli, Daniele Senatore. Italy, 1972, color, 108 min. In English and Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sunday, June 7, 5:00; Wednesday, June 10, 7:00
[La nonna Sabella]
Grandmother Sabella is determined to see her grandson married to a wealthy woman while he is equally determined to wed the girl of his dreams. Directed by the prolific Dino Risi, the film stars the legendary Tina Pica, who began acting in silent films in 1916 and was a beloved fixture in Italian cinema for decades. (Note courtesy of Italian Film Festival UK)
DIR/SCR Dino Risi; SCR Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, Ettore Giannini, based on the novel by Pasquale Festa Campanile; PROD Silvio Clementelli. Italy/France, 1957, b&w, 95 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Saturday, June 13, 3:00; Sunday, June 14, 3:15
In the 1820s, a Roman princess (Sandra Milo) falls in love with a young revolutionary determined to free Italy from papal rule. Interference by the producer, who imposed his mistress on the film and removed scenes with other actresses, caused Rossellini to denounce the film, but many Rossellini admirers claim there remains enough of the artist for this period melodrama to be of interest. (Note courtesy of Museum of Modern Art)
DIR/SCR Roberto Rossellini; SCR Diego Fabbri, Franco Solinas, Antonello Trombadori, based on the novel by Stendhal. Italy/France, 1961, color, 127 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Saturday, June 13, 5:00; Sunday, June 14, 5:15
I KNEW HER WELL
[Io la conoscevo bene]
A young girl from the countryside is seduced by the temptations of the big city, but is unable to find any meaningful relationships. Though Stefania Sandrelli (known for her role in THE CONFORMIST) would go on to become an Italian sex symbol, her performance here is a masterpiece of crushed innocence and slow-building helplessness in a bittersweet comedy which reinforced her popular screen image as the innocent broken by cruel social reality. (Note courtesy of Italian Film Festival UK)
DIR/SCR Antonio Pietrangeli; SCR Ruggero Maccari, Ettore Scola; PROD Turi Vasile. Italy/West Germany/France, 1965, b&w, 99 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Saturday, June 27, 6:15; Wednesday, July 1, 7:00
A rarely-seen gem starring two of Italy's greatest comedic stars: Franca Valeri and Alberto Sordi. Sordi plays a bumbling small-time industrialist who plots to kill his wife (Valeri). But the industrious and intelligent Valeri has a few plans in store for him, in this satire on upper-class mores. (Note courtesy of Italian Film Festival UK)
DIR/SCR Dino Risi; SCR Fabio Carpi, Sandro Continenza, Rodolfo Sonego, Dino Verde; PROD Edgardo Cortese, Cino Del Duca, Elio Scardamaglia. Italy, 1959, b&w, 100 min. In Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sunday, June 28, 4:45; Monay, June 29, 7:00