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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Some Very Buono Italian Films and the EuroAsiaShorts Is Back!

I've been seeing Italian movies lately - maybe looking to a summer trip this year - and fortunately, one is still around. Mid-August Lunch has a beautiful setup: Gianni has to take care of his Mom in an apartment where rent is due and other debts loom. So when a couple of his friends/collectors need a place to store their Moms and aunt, Gianni can't refuse. Then it's a wonderful 75-minute ride as Gianni cooks, the ladies cajole, talk, stew and laugh, and a terrific ending just happens quickly. You'll smile and come out hungry for macaroni casserole.  It's now playing at the Avalon - try to catch it!

Speaking of short films and Italy, the information is up for EAS2010, the EuroAsiaShorts Festival. Last year, this proved to be an amazing week of films, embassies and receptions. Like last year, the closing night is at the Italian Embassy with a reception.  My only problem is that it is the same night as an AMAZING concert at the Kennedy Center with Raul Midon and Henry Butler.  Everything is free, the shorts and the concert. What a cool city!

Caught Amarcord, a Fellini classic at AFI. Probably not my favorite of his, but you can see so many techniques that other directors borrowed from. The Fellini Festival winds down with Ginger and Fred, Intervista and Casanova this week. Intervista sounds very interesting with interviews with Fellini himself, and two his greatest stars.

Nanni Moretti has been one of my favorite actors, writers and directors since Caro Diario back in 1993, when he rode around Rome on a mini-bike running into all kinds of interesting people including Jennifer Beals, who was still big from Flashdance. In the film Aprile, he drove his pregnant wife crazy trying to come up with a name for their baby. Then amazingly, he switched to drama and won all kinds of awards for The Son's Room, about coping with the loss of a son.
The film Quiet Chaos has a little of both comedy and drama. His wife dies in an accident at the beach and he is left to care for his 10-year-old daughter. Moretti's character cannot let go of his daughter and after dropping her at school tells her he will wait for her there all day - taking off from his job in an advertising firm. In an American movie with this setup, the police would come to take him away or the daughter would run away. But here, it takes on a little of the personality of another wonderful film, Cedric Klapisch's When the Cat's Away - in that he discovers a new world while waiting outside her school: a pretty woman with a dog, the cafe staff nearby, other parents.  And knowing that he is accessible every day, colleagues come to talk with him about work and personal life and family vists like his slightly off sister-in-law - Valerie Golino from Rain Man!  Finally, before we can say that it's getting a little too weird, his daughter saves the day.  See if you can rent this film and others by Moretti (depending what you're in the mood for).

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