Another adventurous and varied retrospective is being provided by the Film Society of Lincoln Center at the Walter Reade Theater. Beginning on Friday, May 30, with "Power of the Past" (shown at left), "Open Roads: New Italian Cinema" will run through June 12. Below, courtesy of the Film Society, a schedule and brief descriptions of the films to be shown. For additional information about the series and other Lincoln Center events, visit

Piergiorgio Gay, 2002; 98m

Based on the well-loved novel by Sandro Veronesi, THE POWER OF THE PAST is the story of Giovanni Orzan (Sergio Rubini), an acclaimed writer of children's books, married with an eight -year-old son. One day, a man comes to his door; he introduces himself as Gianni Bogliasco (Bruno Ganz), and claims that he was an old friend of Giovanni's recently deceased father. What's more, Gianni reveals that the father, who had been a rather cold military man with whom Giovanni had a troubled relationship, was in fact a spy for the KGB. Suddenly, Giovanni's whole world seems to collapse, as he struggles to determine how much he knows about his own past - and how much he can confide in his new friend, who seems to implicate himself more and more in Giovanni's life. Rubini and Ganz are brilliant together, and their scenes together become taut mano a mano psychological battles as each tries to gain the upper hand over the other. Rounding out the cast is the wonderful Sandra Ceccarelli, seen in last year's Open Roads in Light in My Eyes.
Fri May 30: 1:30; Sat May 31: 4:15; June 8: 3:45

Ivano de Matteo, 2002; 96m
An x-ray of Italian family life today: as Rome awaits the finals of the year's soccer championship, the lives of four families will come together and then move apart again as each explores the possibility of making their dreams come true. Director de Matteo, a former actor making his feature film debut, creates a stirring and perceptive work that shows the way professional sports - especially soccer, which de Matteo has described as the modern-day "opiate of the people" - weaves its way into so many aspects of daily life.
Fri May 30: 4; Sun June 8: 6:45

Enzo Monteleone, 2002; 117m
A great critical and box-office success in Italy, EL ALAMEIN recounts one of the epic battles of WWII, in which the Italian Army, fighting alongside the Germans, sought to drive the Allied forces from North Africa. Yet director Monteleone doesn't try to delineate the chronology of the battle, nor give it a historical context; rather, the film's less than glorious depiction of combat powerfully expresses the sense that war is truly hell -- a hell in which one must conquer oneself before taking on the enemy. EL ALAMEIN focuses on the intimate, emotional lives of the soldiers caught up in the battle, revealing their fears, hopes and feelings about the war.
Fri May 30: 6:30; Sat May 31: 1:30

Giada Colagrande, 2002; 90m
Maria works as a prostitute who brings her clients home with her, while her sister Caterina only ventures out to attend dancing school. Each woman seems to accept the bounds and limits of their relationship, carefully shielding themselves as much as possible from the unwanted intrusions of outsiders. Then Caterina strikes up a friendship with the janitor at her dancing school. Enraged, Maria must decide what changes, if any, she'll allow in the private kingdom she's created. An extraordinarily bold work, Giada Colagrande's debut feature transports us into a reality that resembles our everyday world yet is decidedly one step beyond. Avoiding any sensationalizing of her material, she focuses instead on analyzing interpersonal structures of power that serve to define us in relationship to those we love most.
Sat May 31: 9:15; Mon June 2: 4

Daniele Luchetti, 2003; 105m
We're pleased to present the newest film by Daniele Luchetti (La scuola, Il portaborse), described as "a comedy set on the Greek island of Ios made up of chatter and misunderstandings, myths, sweets, sun rashes, Homeric questions, fixations, broken diets, anti-histamines, messages of love…" Looking for a getaway, from her routine and also somewhat from her longtime boyfriend Andrea, Stefania takes off on holiday to Greece. What she wasn't expecting is that her niece, Megghy, has decided to tag along, determined to make hers a summer vacation to remember. Luchetti, working from a screenplay by Stefania Montorsi (who also plays Stefania in the film), offers a wry and revealing look at the dreams, illusions and realities of love and romance as they play across very different generations.
Fri May 30: 9:15; Fri June 6: 6:30

Daniele Vicari, 2002; 111m
Italians seem to know a thing or two about cars, and as V-MAX shows, they also have a pretty good sense for high-octane car-racing movies. A great box-office hit, V-MAX follows Claudio, a 17-year-old with a passion for cars, as he discovers the world of underground car racing. Sent by his father to work in a garage in Ostia, Claudio discovers that Steffano, the owner, is preparing for a showdown with Fischio, his nemesis on the asphalt. At first Claudio is just there to customize the cars - but then he meets Giovanna, and realizes there might be a future for him as well in racing. Vicari has a great talent for filming the racing sequences, and is clearly enjoying having the chance to tweak some of the conventions of a film genre that for some might seem quintessentially American.
Sun June 1: 1:30; Thurs June 5: 8:45

Mimmo Calopresti, 2003; 93m
Mimmo Calopresti tends to give his films titles that are declarative sentences: The Word Love Exists, I Prefer the Sound of the Sea (ND/NF 2002), and now Happiness for Free. Once again, this title sets up the tone of the story, and the longing of a serenity denied by daily life. His fourth picture, co-produced by Luc Besson, is a daring moral tale that investigates the very essence of happiness, and the emptiness of an existence doomed by materialistic values. One of the most ambitious and original films recently made in Italy.
Sun June 1: 4; Mon June 2: 9; Fri June 6: 1:30

Paolo Virzi, 2002; 100m
Paolo Virzi's new film, written once again with Francesco Bruni and Francesco Piccolo, was presented with great success at the 2002 Venice Film Festival. A new episode of his reworking of the stories and atmosphere of "Comedy Italian Style," MY NAME IS TANINO is a smart, ironic portrait of a young man who grows up through the disappointments and the disillusions of love. Tanino comes to America in search of a girl and a dream: he misses both, but he learns the painful excitement of becoming a man.
Sun June 1: 6:15; Mon June 2: 1 & 6:30

Alessandro D'Alatri, 2002; 114m
After Garden of Eden, his ambitious and controversial film about Jesus, Alessandro D'Alatri returns to comedy, with a story written by Anna Pavignano. CASOMAI narrates the romance of Tommaso and Stefania as mirrored by the comments, suggestions and gossip of the circle of their relatives and friends. Their passion, their crises, and finally their separation become the center of a never-ending speculation of a world that prefers conformism over happiness, safety over freedom. One of the most successful comedies of the year, with a perfectly tuned cast, lead by Stefania Rocca and Fabio Vo.
Sun June 1: 8:45; Tue June 10: 3:45; Wed June 11: 1

The death of the great Italian actor and director Alberto Sordi this past February was a tremendous loss for world cinema. For many people Sordi was Italian comedy. His broad smile, lightning changes of expression and constant sense of improvisation made him the perfect "everyman" to chronicle the postwar transformation of Italy. His name will forever be remembered right alongside the greatest comedians whose work ever graced the screen. As a brief tribute to this master, we're delighted to present THE LAST JUDGEMENT (IL GIUDIZIO UNIVERSALE), 1961, directed by Vittorio de Sica, 100 min.
Thurs June 5: 1:30 & 6:30

Vincenzo Marra, 2001; 90m
Right after his marvelous Sailing Home, shown in last year's Open Roads, Vincenzo Marra shot this documentary literally without a budget, using his digital camera and serving also as cinematographer. The story follows the typical day of seven Neapolitan soccer fans of the "Ultras Feddayn E.A.M." (Outsiders of the Crowd), and their journey to a football match in northern Italy. Deciding to minimize his presence inside the group, Marra brilliantly narrates the friendship, the dreams, the hopes, and the difficulties of seven young men, who mirror the life of a city that has always been young and ancient, poor and noble, violent and wise. An impressive new achievement by the most authentic heir of the great Italian neorealist tradition.
Thurs June 5: 4; Sun June 8: 8:30

Sergio Rubini, 2002; 104m
In a small town in southern Italy, Tonino and Maddalena share a special, passionate love, inciting the wrath of Maddalena's cousin Teresa, who's determined to pull the couple apart. She even attempts to enlist the aid of the local witch, but sometimes magic comes back at those who try to use it. Since the release of La stazione back in 1990, Sergio Rubini has been hailed as one of the "engines" behind this newest generation of Italian filmmakers. Here, he creates a kind of modern fable peopled by characters who find themselves swept up by forces they can hardly understand. Valentina Cervi, as Teresa, gives a remarkable performance.
Fri June 6: 4; Sat June 7: 9:15; Thurs June 12: 4:15

Sprio Scimone & Francesco Sframele, 2002; 90m Awarded Best First Film at the 2002 Venice Biennale, TWO FRIENDS is adapted from the theater piece Nunzio. Scimone and his co-director Sframele star as Nunzio and Pino, two Sicilians trying to eke out livings on the outskirts of a large industrial city. Nunzio works in a paint factory; Pino seems to travel a lot, especially when he receives a surprise fish delivery at home. Then one day the man in charge of these fish deliveries turns up dead. Everything seems to be up in the air: what were these unscheduled deliveries really about? Is there any hope for Nunzio and Maria, the young woman to whom he's ready to devote his life? A lovely, sensitive film about a peculiar, and rather touching, kind of male bonding, TWO FRIENDS offers a refreshingly offbeat look at working- class lives and friendships.
Fri June 6: 8:45; Sat June 7: 6:45; Mon June 9: 2

Alina Marazzi, 2002; 56m
"My mother was born in 1938 and died in 1972, when I was seven. Telling her story through these old family films is a way to give back dignity to the person who put me in this world." Alina Marazzi describes with these words her extraordinary documentary, which won best documentary at the Torino Film Festival and a special mention in Locarno. A painful but loving journey in search of a beautiful and suffering mother, whose tormented existence is narrated through the reinvention of old footage and new, stylized, symbolic images. preceded by Roberto Catani's magical La funambola (Special Mention, Annecy Animation Film Festival) and Sando del Rodario's glistening, animated noir L. City ("Circuito Off" Prize, Venice).
Sat June 7: 5; Mon June 9: 6:15; Tue June 10: 1:30

Luigi Comencini, 1971; 134m, on Video
Probably Luigi Comencini's masterpiece, this PINOCCHIO was made for Italian television based on a script by Suso Cecchi D'Amico. With the help of Armando Nannuzzi's cinematography and Pietro Gherardi's costumes, this great, overlooked director reinvented the magic realism of Collodi's story, setting the film in locations close to the author's birthplace, and captured the spiritual essence of the story. Most of the actors give the best performances of their careers, but the show is stolen by the moving, unforgettable Nino Manfredi as Geppetto.
Sun June 8: 1; Tue June 10: 8; Thurs June 12: 1:30

Francesco Patierno, 2002; 90m
A gripping "memory film," Francesco Patierno's debut feature is the story of Matteo, a man returning to his native village near Naples after a ten-year absence. He must put his dying father's papers in order, but the visit affords him the opportunity to straighten out much in his past. Patierno powerfully captures the stifling quality of small-town life, the dashed hopes and dreams that threaten to spiral into frustration and even violence. Newcomer Luigi Iacuzio is sensational as Matteo, a character who seems to grow increasingly complex, and ever surprising, right before our eyes.
Sun June 8: 6:15; Mon June 9: 4 & 8

Approximately 90m
As a special feature of this year's Open Roads, we're pleased to present this excellent selection of recent Italian shorts - powerful, provocative works that suggest some of the exciting places the Italiancinema of the next few years might take us. Stay tuned!
Red Mud / Rossofango (Paolo Ameli; 2002)
Handshake / Stretta di mano (Davide Marengo; 2002)
The Last One Standing / L'Ultimo rimasto di piedi (Ugo Capoluto; 2002)
Radioportogutenberg (Alessandro Vanucci; 2002)
Playgirl (Fabio Tagliavia; 2002)
In utero (Ila Beka; 2002)
Tue June 10: 6; Wed June 11: 3:30; Thurs June 12: 9 june 12: 9