Oscar History

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Soundtracking:Southland Tales

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Entries in Italian Cinema (5)

May 24 2017

Missing Italy

by Eric Blume

We're not far from crowning a new Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival,and part of the fun and excitement for international film lovers is seeing which country takes the top prize.  The last ten years has marked three winners from France (The Class,Blue is the Warmest Color,andDheepan),and in fact France has won ten times since 1955 when the prize has been named the Palme d'Or (there was a ten year gap in 1964-74 where the top prize had a different name,for those into these technicalities).

Winning just under that number,with nine trophies,remains Italy.  Once a mighty force on the international film scene,Italy seems to have fewer major filmmakers emerging.  The last Italian film to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes was Nanni Moretti's filmThe Son's Roomin 2001...

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Feb 15 2016

Berlin: Fire at Sea

Amir Soltaniis covering the Berlin International Film Festival for The Film Experience this year,亚博主页our first time at Berlinale!.Tonight,previous Venice winner,Gianfranco Rosi'sFuocoammare.

Gianfranco Rosi shocked the film world with his Golden Lion win at Venice forSacro GRAa few years ago.At Berlinale,the true shock would be for his latest film,Fire at Sea(Fuocoammare),to leave the festival empty-handed.The Italian maestro's seamless hybrid of documentary and fiction is a self-reflexive and compassionate meditation on Italy's crisis of cultural identity in the face of an unprecedented wave of refugee migration.

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Aug 30 2015

La Strada

We close out our 1954 celebration with Amir on one of Federico Fellini's classic from the year...

Writing about canonical classics can be as difficult as it is rewarding.The larger amount of existing texts and the time that has been afforded to an artwork to cement its place in our cultural psyche allow for deeper familiarity and reflection in a way that is impossible with more recent films.On the other hand,well,fresh angles are harder to find.What is there left to say about a film like Federico Fellini'sLa Strada?Not much,but in truth,you can never talk too much about one of the best films ever made.

Growing up as an Iranian cinephile,and gradually getting into more serious films as a teenager,Italian cinema is the most natural foray outside of the local arthouse.Iranian cinema is not as indebted to any Western filmic culture as it is to the films of Italian masters;those films strike a particularly strong resonance.(Consider that the latest poll of the greatest films of all time voted on by Iranian film critics includesThe Bicycle Thieves,La StradaandCinema Paradisoall in the top ten.)

Fellini's films are of a different breed than the neorealism of Zavattini,De Sica and Rossellini whose influence loomed heavily over the arthouse I was voraciously consuming at the time.To the dismay of some of his contemporaries,Fellini veered off quite drastically from his roots in neorealist cinema.[More...]

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Feb 15 2015

A Foreign Language Actress So Nice,She's Been Nominated Twice: Sophia Loren

abstewhere.Only 15 women in the 87 year history of the Academy have scored a Best Actress nomination for a foreign language performance.In contrast,British actresses havewonBest Actress 14 times.While the Academy has always warmed to Brits,their European neighbors have had to struggle to breakthrough with recognition in the acting races.(There has still never been a Best Actress nominee for a performance in any language outside of a European origin.) The first actress to even score a nomination for a foreign language performance was Melina Mercouri forNever on a Sundayin 1960,over 30 years into the Academy's history.Only two women have actually won Best Actress for a foreign language performance and both those women have the even rarer distinction of being honored twice with nominations for foreign language performances.The first was Sophia Loren who won for 1961'sTwo Womenand was nominated again forMarriage Italian Style(1964).The other is this year's nominee forTwo Days,One Night, Marion Cotillard,who won Best Actress forLa Vie en Rose(2007).

With her second nomination,Cotillard joins a small but prestigious group of actresses that in addition to Loren includes Liv Ullmann and Isabelle Adjani.Three actresses in three separate languages (Italian,Swedish,and French) that proved their talent was able to transcend language barriers not once,but twice with the Academy.To receive an Oscar nomination is an honor,to do so a second time shows that you've earned the respect of the Academy,and to do it both times for performances not even in English,well,that's a feat reserved only for iconic women like these.

To celebrate Cotillard's place alongside these international legends,for the next few days we'll look back at the three previous foreign language,double-nominated Best Actress contenders.First up,the beauty from Italy that made Oscar history with her first nomination...

Sophia Loren
after the jump

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Nov 14 2014

Stockholm Film Festival: 'Imitation Game','Mommy' and 'Human Capital' Shoot for Oscar Glory

Glennhas been attending the 25th Stockholm Film Festival as a member of the FIPRESCI jury where he saw a selection of Oscar hopefuls including ‘The Imitation Game' and foreign language competitors ‘Human Capital' and ‘Mommy'.

The Imitation Game
One of the curious things about festivals in a city like Stockholm is that,due to delayed distribution methods,films like Morten Tyldum'sThe Imitation Gameand Alejandro González Iñárritu'sBirdman(the director's memo about the name change apparently hasn't crossed oceans) can compete for prizes alongside global curiosities like Pascale Ferran'sBird Peopleand Adilkhan Yerzhanov'sThe Owners.They feel unfairly situated alongside arthouse titles from the whole globe.

My fellow jurors were surprised when I informed them thatThe Imitation Gamewas an Academy frontrunner.Given that the Oscar Best Picture competition at this stage appears to be quite polarizing and auteur-focused,I wouldn't be surprised if Tyldum's film about the cracking of the WWII enigma machine cracks its own way into the runaway position.Nor would I be able to beall thatangry as it's really a rather good movie that has been handsomely produced and features several great performances,including Keira Knightley who is,yet again,on film quality-raising duty.While I found its very British respectability somewhat hard to truly embrace,it meant that I was impressed it didn't always merely go for the easiest of sentimental choices.There are rousing,emotional moments,sure,with plenty of speeches about what's right and just while they wear their primly knitted sweaters and suits,and the end especially will give plenty of viewers less ice-hearted than I a good sniffle,but for the majority of the film's length it holds its cards relatively close to its chest.At least until the final act,where its quivering stiff upper lip gives way entirely.It's the cup of Earl Grey of the season: reliably,dependably solid.B+

More films after the jump...

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