Programmed by Alexander Fee
Charged with social satire and critique, the commedia all'italiana surged to popularity in the late nineteen-fifties due to the success of Mario Monicelli's Big Deal On Madonna Street. Though not strictly a genre, the commedia all'italiana refers to a period of Italian comedies produced from the late nineteen-fifties and into the seventies that touched upon pressing social issues and themes of the era. While still retaining quick wit and plenty of humor, these films also provided social commentary and biting criticisms of antiquated laws and mores in Italy. Issues such as worker's rights, sexual politics, and the role of religion were also confronted in these works in the onset of a post-war economic boom. The films in this series reveal distinct and vibrant looks into the lifestyles of a bygone Italy - capturing a specific time and place in Italian history. From the youthful, pop culture works of Antonio Pietroangeli's I Knew Her Well and Dino Risi's Il Sorpasso to Pietro Germi's merciless yet comedic takes on Sicilian customs, the pictures in this series reveal unique perspectives on a postwar Italy. Included as well, is one of Lina Wertmüller's most celebrated works; Seven Beauties. Wertmüller's masterpiece led to her being the first woman ever nominated for an Academy Award in directing. This series features the work of revered directors such as Mario Monicelli and Ettore Scola and stars icons of the Italian silver screen such as Marcello Mastroianni, Giancarlo Giannini, and Nino Manfredi. Weaving melodrama, tragedy, and comedy together, the commedia all'italiana encapsulated a distinct and defining era of Italian culture and cinema.
(Antonio Pietrangeli, 1965) · Masterfully directed by Antonio Pietrangeli and written by Ettore Scola, I Knew Her Well stars Stefania Sandrelli as the young and charming Adriana, a country girl chasing her dreams of success in Rome. Free spirited but at times naive, Adriana finds herself increasingly lost in the eternal city as she wanders from one encounter to another - ultimately revealing an intimate portrait of the alienation and loneliness that pervades modern life.
runtime: 115m format: DCP
(Dino Risi, 1962) · The quintessential road movie, Dino Risi's Il Sorpasso ruminates on the unlikely friendship of two men - the free wheeling and charismatic Bruno (Vittorio Gassman) and the shy, soft spoken Roberto (Jean-Louis Trintignant). Meeting by chance, they find themselves hitting the road to tour the Italian and Tuscan countryside. As they voyage along the highway, they develop a strong bond that changes their outlooks and perspectives on life's biggest questions.
runtime: 105m format: DCP
(Lina Wertmuller, 1972) · Mimi (Giancarlo Giannini), is a Sicilian laborer who, in an act of resistance, refuses to vote for a mafia candidate in his local election and consequently loses his job. Seeking work, Mimi leaves his wife in Sicily for Turin, where he starts a new life with the lovely Fiorella, a radical Trotskyist. However, Mimi's misfortune impedes his happiness as his past begins to haunt him. Despite losing control of his life, Mimi attempts all that he can to maintain his honor.
runtime: 121m format: DCP
(Pietro Germi, 1964) · A bitter take on the misogynistic pride and honor bottled up within Sicilian society, Pietro Germi's follow-up to Divorce Italian Style stars Stefania Sandrelli as the teenage Agnese who is seduced by her sister's fiance. Agnese's father sets out to restore his family's pride by any and all means - bride kidnapping, shotgun weddings, or even murder. Germi's film unveils the patriarchial and archaic pitfalls of a society that accepts marriage as amnesty for rape.
runtime: 118m format: 35mm
(Mario Monicelli, 1963) · Set in Turin in the late 19th century, Mario Monicelli's The Organizer stars Marcello Mastroianni as the idealistic and intellectual Professor Sinigaglia. Toiling away in appalling conditions, textile workers rally behind the Professor in an effort to strike. Compassionate, moving, and thought provoking, Monicelli's depiction of the worker's plight is an essential viewing experience.
runtime: 130m format: 35mm
(Lina Wertmuller, 1975) · A study on the destruction of one man's humanity at the cost of survival, Seven Beauties is undoubtedly Lina Wertmüller's masterpiece. Giancarlo Giannini stars as the sleazy and immoral Pasqualino Settebelleze, a smalltime mafioso whose sense of honor begins a tragicomic odyssey of desperation, suffering and death. Finding himself captured in a concentration camp, Pasqualino resorts to any means to continue his existence - primarily the seduction of a chief Nazi officer.
runtime: 115m format: DCP
(Pietro Germi, 1961) · Divorce was illegal in Italy until 1970 - an obstacle that Marcello Mastroianni's aristocratic baron, Ferdinando Cefalù, must try to overcome. Having fallen in love with his cousin, the Baron seeks to come up with a solution to getting rid his devoted wife, Rosalia. Plotting and fantasizing different ways, Ferdinando eventually plans to trick his wife into being seduced by another man, all for the legitimacy of an honor killing.
runtime: 105m format: 35mm
(Franco Brusati, 1974) · In search of work, Nino Garofalo, travels from southern Italy to Switzerland and starts a temporary job waiting on the wealthy. There, he experiences the cultural divide between himself and Swiss society. Everything Nino tries seems to be in vain; his acts are misconstrued and ultimately never enough. A rumination on the retention of cultural identity in a foreign land, Bread and Chocolate remains relevant today. Note: 35mm print is faded and red.
runtime: 111m format: 35mm
(Marco Ferreri, 1973) · Marco Ferreri's La Grande Bouffe, is a work of grotesque proportions - aimed at delivering excess and decadence. Four friends unite in a chateau with the express purpose of eating themselves to death. Gorging and overindulging themselves to the limit, they hold a magnificent feast in the villa, engaging in an orgy of sex and consumption. Perverse, controversial, and perhaps reviling, Ferreri's controversial cult film demands to be watched.
runtime: 130m format: DCP
(Ettore Scola, 1974) · Ettore Scola's masterpiece, this nostalgic and rarely-screened film follows three friends over the course of 30 years. Gianni, Marco, and Nicola first meet as young idealists in the vanguard of Italy's struggle for liberation from fascism. After the war, they drift apart, hoping to achieving their dreams. In the following decades, their lives intersect, reflecting on the impact and change of not just their dreams and failures but those of Italy as a whole.
runtime: 130m format: 16mm