The San Francisco Film Society and New Italian Cinema Events of Florence, Italy present New Italian Cinema, November 11–18 at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema (1 Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level, San Francisco, CA 94111). The eight-day festival is dedicated to bringing Italy’s newest directors and films to Bay Area audiences and celebrating the country’s rich cinematic tradition.
For complete program information, visit http://sffs.org/Exhibition/SF-Film-Society-Cinema/New-Italian-Cinema
Celebrating 16 years in San Francisco, New Italian Cinema 2012 offers a four-film tribute to actress Valeria Golino, who will tantalize audiences with a brief look at her upcoming feature directorial debut. Seven terrific features by up-and-coming directors are featured in the City of Florence Award competition; the films in this year’s program include delightful coming-of-age stories, an intense war drama and one very memorable road trip. For the first time in many years, the festival is also presenting a documentary, the delightfully personal Hit the Road, Nonna. Closing out the program is Laura Morante’s directorial debut, the romantic comedy The Cherry on the Cake, followed by a festive closing night reception at a nearby locale.
Sunday, November 11 OPENING NIGHT
5:30 pm An Evening with Valeria Golino
Internationally recognized actress Valeria Golino will present a brief selection from her upcoming feature-length directorial debut Vi Perdono, an adaptation of Angela del Fabbro’s novel about euthanasia. The story concerns a young woman who secretly helps terminally ill people to commit suicide whose service is one day requested by a healthy person who wishes to die. Also showing is Golino’s marvelous short Armandino and the Madre, about a boy who delivers messages of love from his older brother to a French woman working in Naples’ museum of contemporary art. Following a brief Q&A will be the feature presentation Kryptonite! (see below for film details).
9:00 pm Texas
In a small town in northern Italy, a group of twentysomething friends pass the time partying. Scandal erupts when the handsome Gianluca betrays his girlfriend with a married schoolteacher named Maria (Golino). In a town where everyone knows one another, the pair’s attempt to keep the affair secret is not possible, and their relationship has reverberating effects on the whole group.
Monday, November 12 Valeria Golino Tribute
6:15 pm A Tale of Love
In one of her early roles, Golino plays the struggling, hard-working Bruna, who awakens in the middle of the night for her demeaning job as an office janitor. Upon arriving home, the work continues as she cooks and cleans for her siblings and father. Optimistic nevertheless, she finds time for love, and one man in particular begins to draw her away from her family’s overbearing demands.
9:00 pm Respiro
On Lampedusa, a tiny, sun-washed island south of Sicily, time seems to stand still. The fishermen work hard, the boys play rough and the wives strain to keep everything on an even keel. All except Grazia (Golino), who keeps losing her balance. Every frame of this delicate, sensual film shimmers with the hot, languid rhythm of Mediterranean life.
Tuesday, November 13 City of Florence Award Competition Films
6:15 pm The Greatest of Them All
Carlo Virzì Director Expected
Italian rock band Pluto was never much good to begin with. Nevertheless, the group means the world to wheelchair-bound filmmaker Ludovico who begs them to reunite for a documentary he wants to make. Ludovico convinces drummer Loris, currently a hapless father at loose ends, to gather up Pluto’s far-flung other members for the endeavor even as the band’s past issues arise once more.
9:00 pm Kryptonite!
Ivan Cotroneo Director Expected
In this gentle coming-of-age drama set in the mid-’60s, a nerdy boy named Peppino living in Naples is forced to wrestle with several familial issues. His mother Rosaria (this year’s honoree Valeria Golino) has discovered that her husband is having an affair while his significantly older siblings are encountering the Age of Aquarius in their respective ways, providing little guidance.
Wednesday, November 14 City of Florence Award Competition Films
6:15 pm Shun Li and the Poet
Andrea Segre Director Expected
The friendship between two immigrants amid the xenophobia of a Venetian fishing community is detailed in subtle and visually dramatic fashion in this debut feature. Shun Li (Zhao Tao) has come to Italy under a shady employment scheme that keeps her financially beholden to her supervisors. Transferred to a café in Chioggia, she is befriended by Slavic refugee Bepi (Rade Serbedzija), a sometime poet who lives on the water. As their rapport increases, local pressures aim to keep the two lonely and struggling friends apart.
9:00 pm The First on the List
Roan Johnson Director Expected
In Roan Johnson’s film, the political upheaval of the late ‘60s serves as the backdrop for a comic story that skewers politics of all stripes. Renzo, an aspiring musician, auditions for a band with his pal Fabio and they both become caught up with a paranoid revolutionary named Pino who is convinced that there’s about to be a military coup in Rome.
Thursday, November 15 City of Florence Award Competition Films
6:15 pm Apartment in Athens
Ruggero Dipaola Director Expected
This debut feature set in WWII tells the story of the Helenios family, forced to board a Nazi captain in their small Athens apartment, and the pressures his presence exerts on each member. Mother Zoe is upset by her husband’s toadying to the soldier while her young daughter and rebellious son face their guest’s emotional manipulations and capricious wrath.
9:00 pm Easy!
Francesco Bruni Director Expected
Luca is an unfocused high-school student, fond of boxing and rap music. Bruno is an author relegated to ghostwriting memoirs of second-tier celebrities who supplements his income with tutoring. Luca is one of his favorite students, but their relationship shifts when Bruno is told that he is the boy’s father and is asked to look after him for a significant period of time.
Friday, November 16
4:30 pm Hit the Road, Nonna Special Documentary Presentation
Duccio Chiarini Director Expected
In this playful family portrait, director Duccio Chiarini investigates the life and history of his 87-year-old grandmother Delia, a persona non grata in his household. Attempting to discover the roots of the conflict and uncover the mysteries surrounding her life, he unearths a backstory involving high fashion, con men and an unrepentant need to be the center of attention. Equally charming and belligerent, Delia is a genuine character, having risen to prominence in a much different milieu and society.
City of Florence Award Competition Films
6:30 pm 100 Meters to Heaven
Raffaele Verzillo Director Expected
Monsignor Angelo is concerned that the Church is losing touch with the common man. Teaming up with his friend and running coach Mario (Jordi Mollà), they decide to form a Vatican Olympic team to compete in London’s games. Jumping off from the idea that both sport and religion require serious discipline and training, this charming and spirited comedy details the pair’s difficulties with conservative Church authorities and their worldwide quest to find ten talented athletes to help build the team.
9:15 pm The Greatest of Them All see 11/13
Saturday, November 17 City of Florence Award Competition Films
1:15 pm 100 Meters to Heaven see 11/16
4:00 pm Easy! see 11/15
6:45 pm The First on the List see 11/14
9:15 pm Apartment in Athens see 11/15
Sunday, November 18
1:30 pm Hit the Road, Nonna see 11/16
3:30 pm Shun Li and the Poet see 11/14
6:30 pm The Cherry on the Cake CLOSING NIGHT
Laura Morante Director Expected
Amanda (cowriter/directo Laura Morante) is a slightly neurotic woman whose current relationship isn’t going well. When she meets the cultured and urbane Antoine at a New Year’s party, she’s convinced he’s gay. As their relationship blossoms, he feels romantic stirrings, but gets the strange sense that she just wants to be friends. Add Amanda’s meddling sister Florence and her psychologist husband to the mix, and the recipe for a savory comedy of compounding errors is complete. With rapid-fire dialogue and a speedy pace, The Cherry on the Cake is a piquant portrait of a woman’s search for her perfect match. (
9:00 pm Closing Night Party at a nearby venue featuring delicious hors d’oeuvres and sponsored beverages.
9:15 pm The Cherry on the Cake
Film tickets $11 for SFFS members, $13 general, $12 seniors, students and persons with disabilities; Opening Night film and party $20 for SFFS members, $25 general; Film Society CineVoucher 10-Packs $105 for SFFS members, $125 general. Fall Season Cinevisa $450. Box office opens October 3 for members and October 5 for the general public online at sffs.org.