With the first summer breezes hitting New York, thoughts turn to Italy, and the annual Open Roads: New Italian Cinema series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Since its debut in 2001, the mini-festival has become an important showcase for contemporary Italian cinema for North America. Most of the established names in contemporary Italian cinema have debuted here, including Ermanno Olmi (featured again this year), Mario Monicelli, Pupi Avati, Matteo Garrone, Ferzan Ozpetek (also featured in this year’s program), Paolo Sorrentino and Susanna Nichiarelli. This year’s crop of films are equally intriguing, with a mix of regional realism dramas and several satires on contemporary Italian life. Two of the most anticipated films of this year’s series include a documentary tribute to Oscar winning cinematographer Dante Ferretti (who won the Oscar this past year for his exquisite work on the Martin Scorsese film HUGO) and a re-telling of the classic THE LEGEND OF KASPAR HAUSER, with cult favorite Vincent Gallo in a duel role and featuring a pulsing soundtrack by electronic composer Vitalic. Italian films are enjoying yet another of their perpetual renaissances. Matteo Garrone’s new film REALITY won the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival and one of the European art house hits of the season has been WE HAVE A POPE by actor/director Nanni Moretti. Expect several of the titles premiering at Lincoln Center to make their way through the U.S. film festival circuit and for a few to find distribution…..but if you are in New York this weekend, you can see them first. For more information on the full program, visit: www.filmlinc.com
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