On the thrilling occasion of the premiere of Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, the words Italy and film have been seen together once again like lovers reunited.
While Italian Americans have taken centerstage on the screen most recently (often in a less than flattering light), films about and from Italy bring to mind a different era of cinema. Even dear Mr. Allen recalls the Italian classics – in a recent interview article, he said, “Italian movies were a great staple of our cultural diet.” (1. Dave Itzkoff. “That’s Amore: Italy as Muse Interview”. The New York Times, June 15, 2012.)
Like so many aspects of Italian culture, its glorious past is ever-present. From neo-realistic masterpieces to Fellini’s originals to outlandish comedies, Italian film history has had some unforgettable gems that are intertwined in international and American cultural consciousness. The contemporary scene is an open book. I like what the Taviani brothers had to say about their award-winning film Caesar Must Die (“Filmic Victory,” page 25).
“With all due respect for Shakespeare… we have taken over his Julius Caesar, dismembered and rebuilt it. We have certainly kept the spirit of the original tragedy as well as the narrative, but at the same time we simplified it taking it a bit far from the traditional stage tempo. The result is a degenerate son that Shakespeare would have certainly loved!”
This encapsulates the humor, humility and ingenius re-imagining that fills the air of Italian contemporary filmmaking.
The pages of this number present the “degenerate” and the beautiful creations of new auteurs and video artists and show off Italy as a set, subject and destination in film.