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Award-winning anti-Mafia film to open in Chicago

Marco Bellocchio’s award-winning anti-Mafia film “The Traitor” will open at the Century Center Cinema, 2826 N. Clark St., Chicago, on Feb. 7. For tickets and more information, click here. The real-life tale stars Pierfrancesco Favino as Tommaso Buscetta, the man who dealt a career blow to organized crime in Sicily in the 1980s. Favino is no stranger to American audiences. In addition to the Italian blockbusters that have made it to our shores, including Gabriele Muccino’s “The Last Kiss,” Roberto Ando’s “The Confessions,” and Ferzan Ozpetek’s “Saturn in Opposition,” he’s had significant parts in several American productions. Among them are ...

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Fellini exhibit to open at Cinecittà

January 20, 2020, marks the 100th birthday of Fellini. To celebrate the event, Cinecittà will present him with a gift, Felliniana – Ferretti dreams of Fellini. The exhibit is housed in Cinecittà studios within the historic “Palazzina Fellini.” The work bears the signature of Dante Ferretti, the Oscar-winning scenographer who for Fellini was one of the magical architects of his visions, an artist-craftsman capable of giving shape to his dreams, and Francesca Lo Schiavo, a close associate of Ferretti, and an internationally acclaimed scenographer and set decorator. The exhibition offers full immersion into Fellini’s imagination as well as the dreamlike ...

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Louise Brooks: A star is reborn

An icon of the silent film era, Louise Brooks has a special place in the hearts of Italians thanks to a groundbreaking series of comic books and strips. Black-and-white photos from the silent film era have an aura of mystery and nostalgia, and one of that era’s favorite subjects was actress Louise Brooks. Famed for her bob hairstyle and iconic flapper costumes, her influence has reached across the decades and far beyond American shores. “Louise Brooks is my favorite actress,” Italian director Marco Tullio Giordana revealed when we spoke at the 2018 edition of Lincoln Center’s Open Roads: New Italian ...

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Casa to serve up another film feast

Film aficionados have hungered for the return of Casa Italia’s beloved feast of Italian cinema, and the wait is finally over. The Casa’s 2019 Italian film series will reboot on Sept. 13 and run for seven glorious Fridays. The host of this year’s series will be Pam DeFiglio, a veteran Chicago editor, columnist and arts critic. The following film descriptions were provided by Casa Italia: Sept. 13 — Un Paese Quasi Perfetto (An Almost Perfect Town) (2016) — Pietramezzana offers stunning mountain scenery, but all the jobs have left town. To save it, residents deploy improbable and highly comic schemes, ...

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New indy film a real game changer

A feeling of dread always comes over me when I read a passage like this one from the news release for “Bottom of the Ninth,” which trumpets its Italian-American street cred. “The film is about a man who returns to the Bronx after serving 17 years in prison for a violent mistake he made as a kid, ultimately robbing him of a professional baseball career and the love of his life.” “Here we go again,” I thought. “Another film that leans too heavily on tired Mafia tropes instead of standing on its own two feet.” The foreboding persisted throughout my ...

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Lanzi Candy documentary to premiere at Siskel Center

The Gene Siskel Film Center will screen the world premier of “Shelf Life: The Story of Lanzi Candy,” a documentary by Michael Lahey on July 12, 13 and 17. For decades, Chicago was renowned as “Candy Capital of the World,” home to the giants Brach, Mars, Ferrara, and Wrigley, and scores of mid-sized and small family-owned companies. Those glory days are largely gone, but, against that background, filmmaker Lahey explores his grandfather Elmo Lanzi’s sweet spot in Chicago’s history. An Italian immigrant in search of the American dream, Lanzi began making candy and selling it from his storefront in 1920. ...

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Mirko Frezza reflects on acting and life

Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” opened at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where the lead actor, Marcello Fonte took home the top acting prize. Since then, it’s won numerous awards including the Italian Oscar Best Supporting Actor. The film follows Marcello (Marcello Fonte), an animal lover who runs a neighborhood dog grooming business. He adores his pre-teen daughter and takes her on scuba diving expeditions. The two dream of going to exotic places like the Red Sea, Hawaii and the Maldives. Marcello also has a frailty about him and sometimes seems to feel inferior. He doesn’t speak up on his own behalf and ...

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Director Michela Occhipinti talks about her Tribeca Film “Flesh Out”

Michela Occhipinti’s “Flesh Out,” which is in the International Narrative Competition of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, will take you into a world filled with emotion. Watching this film, you will feel disbelief, anger and sadness but if you look deeply, you’ll realize how similar the characters’ struggles are to your own. Gavage is a centuries old tradition practiced in the West African country of Mauritania in which a young woman prepares for marriage by gaining a considerable amount of weight. The weight gain is symbolic of good health and prosperity. However, in 2019, many young people are not embracing ...

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“Christ Stopped at Eboli” director’s cut now playing in New York

The story and landscape of Lucania are in the spotlight during the month of April. A rare, uncut version of Francesco Rosi’s 1979 film “Christ Stopped at Eboli” is being shown at the Film Forum in New York City’s West Village. The screenplay was adapted from the book by Carlo Levi, a doctor, writer and painter from Torino who was exiled to the southern region of Lucania (today, Basilicata) because of his political beliefs. The year was 1935 and Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Party was in power. Levi was forced into exile due to the silencing of those who spoke out against fascism. ...

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Dustin Hoffman and Toni Servillo team up at Cinecittà

Dustin Hoffman and Toni Servillo in Two acting legends are teaming up for an upcoming Italian film. Dustin Hoffman and Toni Servillo are currently in Rome shooting Donato Carrisi’s “L’uomo del labirinto” (Into the Labyrinth), the follow up to his successful 2017 feature debut, “La ragazza nella nebbia” (The Girl in the Fog). Shooting began on March 18 and is expected to last for seven weeks. The firm centers on a young woman, played by Valentina Bellè, who wakes up in a hospital bed with a broken leg. Disoriented and unable to remember anything, she finds herself in a room ...

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