Top New Films in Italian
Favolacce (D'Innocenzo Brothers, 2020) offers a somewhat degraded and dystopic view of contemporary family life in the outskirts of Rome, where the adults are imprisoned by petty bourgeois dreams and children are further trapped by adult frustrations and negativity. This Italy-Switzerland co-production won the Jury Prize at the 2020 Brussels International Film Festival and the Best Screenplay category at the Berlin Film Festival. English title: Bad Tales.
The marital drama Lacci (Daniele Lucchetti, 2020), based on Domenico Starnone's eponymous novel, is set in the 1980s and masterfully mixes the early and late phases of Aldo and Vanda's marriage and the short and long-term effects it has on their two children. The "shoelaces" or ties that bind thus lend themselves to many interpretations. Lacci (English title Ties) was selected to open the 77th Venice Film Festival.
Miss Marx (Susanna Nicchiarelli, 2020) is a biopic costume drama that recounts the short life and deep passions of social activist Eleanor Marx, departing from her father Karl Marx's death. Linking feminism and Socialism, Nicchiarelli anachronistically interweaves music, history and emotions to capture and express one woman's trajectory of change. The strong conscience of the director combined with heavy subject matter recalls, to some extent, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006).
For Hammamet (Gianni Amelio, 2020), Master Amelio collaborates with Alberto Taraglio to recount the last decade of life of Bettino Craxi, one of the most important and controversial Italian leaders of the 1980s. In this unique biopic-style perspective on his life of exile and luxury in Tunisia, the focus is on the politician's relationships with family, friends, and other questionable figures.
Taking place once again in the outskirts of Rome, thie semi-autobiographical film Maledetta primavera (Elisa Amoruso, 2020) recounts the events of a summer in the life of 14-year-old Nina and her dysfunctional family, as his father comes and goes between gambling wins. Nina is both challenged by and attracted to a new girl at school, Sirley (also the English title of the film), who hails from French Guinea and speaks only French. Is their bond real and legitimate or is it just a figment of Nina's imagination?
-- Colleen Ryan