Lamerica, Sacred Silence, Hands Over the City

Pasquale Verdicchio
Professor, UCSD department of literature and board member, Cinema Sud Italian Film Festival

The South of Italy figures prominently as a setting in Italian cinema. The Cinema Sud Festival is particularly important because it features the work of Southern Italian filmmakers in a Southern setting. While historically we do find work by southern directors such as Vittorio De Sica, Ettore Scola, and, more recently, Gabriele Salvatores and Giuseppe Tornatore, it's with the 1990s that many new filmmakers emerge in a South that finds new energy and expression through the medium. Mario Martone, Antonio Capuano, Antonietta De Lillo, Vincenzo Marra, and Salvatore Mereu are some of these new artists, and some of their films screen at Cinema Sud, which presents a wonderful opportunity to experience new Italian cinema through films that are rare to find in any format. My suggestions for memorable films by Southern Italian directors are Gianni Amelio's Lamerica, Antonio Capuano's Sacred Silences, and Francesco Rosi's Hands over the City.

(Italy) 1995, New Yorker Video

Sacred Silence
(Italy) 2000, Picture This

Hands Over the City - Criterion Collection
(Italy) 2006, Criterion Collection

Clarissa Clo
Assistant professor and director of the Italian program, SDSU

Here are three must-see Italian movies all set in Southern Italy as those presented by Cinema Sud, where the south is both a physical and metaphorical space. Divorce Italian Style exemplifies commedia all'italiana. A biting satire of a Sicilian aristocrat (superbly played by Marcello Mastroianni) in love with his cousin and determined to kill his wife to escape marriage in pre-divorce Italy, confident in the protection of the chauvinistic honor code. Forty years later, Italian masculinity is called into question again in Children of Hannibal, a hilarious road comedy about two disillusioned men traveling from the North to Puglia at the rhythm of a pulsating Mediterranean soundtrack.

Respiro, set on the island of Lampedusa, is the story of a troubled woman (a wonderful Valeria Golino) who rebels against conventions and pays the consequences, much like the heroine of Del Perduto Amore (a young, feisty Giovanna Mezzogiorno) screening at Cinema Sud.

Divorce Italian Style - Criterion Collection
(Italy) 1961, Criterion Collection

Children of Hannibal (Figli di Annibale)
(Italy) 1998, TLA

(Italy) 2002, Sony Pictures

Victor A. Laruccia
Chief administrator, Cinema Sud Italian Film Festival, www.cinemasud.com

I love movies and have taught movies at UCSD, to grade-schoolers, and at the Italian Settlement House in Providence. I adore Italian culture. My worlds collide in our Cinema Sud Film Festival. Here are amazing films that reveal unique Italian storytelling. Nostalgia and anger routinely animate movies about childhood. Italians do it differently. In I'm Not Scared, Gabriele Salvatores (director of bittersweet stories of characters exhausting their utopian dreams) may have discovered the fountain of heroism -- a kind of magical storytelling a young boy uses to save another boy.We can also find special storytelling magic in Ciao Professore, where the lives and stories of children in a poor Naples area educate the teacher about what's important.

For a special twist on storytelling, watch L'Uomo delle Stele, the Sicilian travels of a silver-tongued seller of movie fantasies who at heart still believes in art enough to get conned himself.

I'm Not Scared
(Italy) 2003, Miramax

Ciao, Professore!
(Italy) 1992, Miramax

L' Uomo delle stelle [Region 2]
(Italy) 1995, Miramax

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Log in to comment

Skip Ad