Discovering the latest in Italian film–dispatches from OPEN ROADS

With great pleasure, I have been attending the “Open Roads: New Italian Cinema”  festival at the Walter Reade running until June 11th , and will be posting a handful of “festival dispatches” from the seats of the theater for the films I am able to catch. “Please tell me,” said a next-seat neighbor at Friday’s screening of Brave Men (dir. Edoardo Winspeare) “that you aren’t planning to write your report during the screening.” I stow all electronics in the off-position during screenings, and thanks to natural RF shielding in the house of the theater, there is no wireless Internet there to permit me to live-blog (though I’ll admit to live twittering under my jacket at MoMA during ND/NF, sometimes you can’t resist these things).

Now in its ninth year, Open Roads has as its mission to bring the strongest Italian films each year to New York audiences. (This year’s festival is co-presented by Cinecittà Luce.) Given that I haven’t been able to get to Venice, Cannes, or other key venues for launching new Italian films, I depend on this festival to catch me “up to date” before these festivals enter the long and treacherous art house queue for the US circuit. As you never know which Italian films will attract American audiences and which slip through the cracks, I’m eager to see work that might not be available in other American venues this year. (A similar issue that makes FSLC’s Rendez-Vous series, the French film cousin to Open Roads, equally unmissable.)

With Il Divo and Gomorrah attracting such fierce American audiences this past year, it comes as no surprise to find these screenings packed with people hunting for what their across-the-hall neighbors will be watching at the Sunshine or Lincoln Plaza in the fall. So sold out screenings of Brave Men and A Perfect Day (dir. Ferzan Ozpetek) are to be expected, among others.

— Matt Griffin

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