Italian Masters

Summer Repertory Series
Thursdays in July & August, 2006

Series IllustrationIf you can't make it to Milan on your summer holiday then climb into a seat at the Brattle for a taste of Italian passion, history, and drama right here in Cambridge! This summer we're honoring the centennial anniversary of acclaimed directors Luchino Visconti and Roberto Rossellini with these fine selections from the Italian cinema.

We start off with Rossellini's quintessential neo-realist work, ROME, OPEN CITY, in a double feature with his joyous portrait of St. Francis from just five years later. We follow with Visconti's moving family epic, ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS, then Fellini's towering achievement from the same year, LA DOLCE VITA. We'll round out the series with Elio Petri's little-known masterpiece, INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION (Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Grand Jury Prize at Cannes), and finish with Visconti's operatic DEATH IN VENICE.


Thursday, July 27 at (3:30), 7:30

(1950) dir Roberto Rossellini w/Brother Nazario Gerardi, Aldo Fabrizi [75 min]

In a series of simple and joyous vignettes, director Roberto Rossellini and co-writer Federico Fellini lovingly convey the universal teachings of the People's Saint: humility, compassion, faith, and sacrifice. Gorgeously photographed to evoke the medieval paintings of Saint Francis's time, and cast with monks from the Nocera Inferiore Monastery, The Flowers of St. Francis is a timeless and moving portrait of the search for spiritual enlightenment.

Related Links
Brattle Theatre Film Notes for FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS

Screens with
(2005) dir Guy Maddin w/Isabella Rossellini [15 min]
The always inventive Canadian director Guy Maddin teams up with Isabella Rossellini to celebrate her father, Roberto Rossellini's 100th birthday. Isabella plays all of the roles in this phantasmagoric bio-pic.

Thursday, July 27 at 5:30, 9:30

(1945) dir Rossellini w/Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani [100 min]

Filmed in the winter of 1945 ROME, OPEN CITY heartbreakingly recalls the Nazi occupation of Rome during World War II. Often described as the quintessential film of the neo-realist movement, ROME, OPEN CITY focuses on the terrifying impact of occupation on the every day lives of working-class Italians. Vividly and painfully depicting the hardships faced by participants in resistance and featuring an astonishing performance by the magnetic Anna Magnani ROME, OPEN CITY continues to be one of cinema's most painful, honest depictions of the horrific consequences of war.

Related Links
Brattle Theatre Film Notes for ROME, OPEN CITY

Thursday, August 3 at (4:30), 8:00

(1960) dir Luchino Visconti w/Alain Delon, Renato Salcatori, Annie Giardot, Katina Paxinou, Spiros Focas, Max Cartier, Rocco Vidolazzi [177 min]

Another Italian film icon is celebrating a centennial this year but most of the attention seems to have gone to Rosselini: Luchino Visconti director of DEATH IN VENICE, The Damned, The Leopard, and many others as well as this film, was born November of 1906. In this family epic, Rocco (Delon) and his family move north to Milan in order to escape the poverty in the south. And they do find a better life, but not without a price.

"[Visconti's] personal favorite, ROCCO's mix of realism and intense, operatic emotion would profoundly influence the work of Coppola and Scorsese." - Film Forum, NYC

Related Links
Brattle Theatre Film Notes for ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS

Thursday, August 10 at (4:30), 8:00

(1960) dir Federico Fellini w/Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimee [174 min]

It's difficult for us to even consider doing an Italian filmmaker series without including LA DOLCE VITA. It, along with its ‘sister' 8 1/2, are such towering achievements in cinema that it's hard not to play them every day... in any case, LA DOLCE VITA is such pure pleasure to watch , why should we avoid it? From the first shot with a helicopter carrying a Christ statue over Rome, Fellini fills his film with symbols but he never allows them to take away from the pleasure of watching Marcello Mastroianni track the highs and lows of the stars, playboys, and aristocrats of Rome as a journalist - getting caught up in the lifestyle most of the time. Fellini's lush filmmaking brings this Roman life onto film with exuberance and finesse, and then the music of Nina Rota (who composed most of Fellini's films) pulls it all together.

Related Links
Brattle Theatre Film Notes for LA DOLCE VITA

Thursday, August 17 at 7:30, 10:00

(1970) dir Elio Petri w/Gian Maria Volante, Florinda Bolkan, Gianni Santuccio [112 min]

Steering away from the unquestioned giants of Italian cinema, we offer this masterpiece of a different caliber. Elio Petri was mainly a genre movie director and not many of his films are known outside of Italy. This work stands head and shoulders above the rest with its graceful, Kafka-esque story of a police inspector in a fascist state who kills his own mistress and then, for some reason, leaves clues that point directly to himself. It is as if he is playing a game with his life, with the world and with his colleagues. This now little known film was a sensation upon its release and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film as well as the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.

Thursday, August 24 at (2:30), 5:00, 7:30

PLEASE NOTE: Tonight's 10:00 PM screening has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.
(1971) dir Luchino Visconti w/Dirk Bogarde, Bjorn Andresen [130 min]

Bogarde and Visconti masterfully bring Thomas Mann's novella to life in this story of obsession and corruption. Bogarde plays a composer who has retired to a Venetian resort to recover after bad personal and professional experiences. He soon finds, however, that relaxation is not the first thing on his mind when he spies a young boy that represents the very ideal of beauty to him. As the composer's fascination becomes more intense, a sickness descends upon the city and he foolishly lingers too long. A sumptuously crafted and baroque film, DEATH IN VENICE represents Visconti at his most operatic.

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