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Victor Laruccia
Managing director and board member, San Diego Italian Film Festival

The 2008 San Diego Italian Film Festival is dedicated to beloved artist Italo Scanga, who brought to San Diego and to his art the wild and passionate nature of his native Calabria. This man of giant appetites adored color, heat, variety, picked up material even from abandoned junk, and made Italian beauty from the chaos of daily life. We see this same drive in our Italian films.

Tonight at MoPA we conclude Sergio Leone’s “Man with No Name Trilogy” with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. If you missed the first two films, A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, you can find them on DVD. Leone’s films demonstrate the extraordinary ability of an Italian director to turn craggy faces into western landscapes with the amorality of a butte and a narrative drive with all the power of an avalanche.

A Fistful of Dollars (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (Italy) 1967, MGM
For a Few Dollars More (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (Italy) 1967, MGM

Clarissa Clo
Assistant professor of Italian, SDSU and board member, SDIFF

With the recent recognition at the Cannes Film Festival for courageous and eclectic works like Matteo Garron’s Gomorra and Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo, Italy is running strong in the film department this year. The SDIFF will present a selection of new Italian cinema in October, screening small gems unavailable in the U.S., like Vincenzo Marra’s Vento di Terra, Stefano Mordini’s Provincia Meccanica, and Enrico Pau’s Jimmy della Collina. Hence, attendance is a must! In anticipation of the festival in the fall, I’d like to suggest three films that have become staples of Italian cinema courses in U.S. colleges, all three capturing the changing features of Italian society: Gabriele Muccino’s The Last Kiss (L'Ultimo bacio), Le Fate Ignoranti (His Secret Life), and Marco Tullio Giordana’s The Best of Youth.

L'Ultimo Bacio (Italy) 2001, Palace Films
Le Fate Ignoranti (Italy) 2001, Strand Releasing
The Best of Youth (Italy) 2003, Miramax

Anthea Beletsis
Board member, San Diego Italian Film Festival, sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com

In its first year, SDIFF showed a remarkable range of films. For those who want to expand on their Italian-film list, I would definitely recommend: Silvio Soldini’s Bread and Tulips, Paolo Virzi’s Caterina in the Big City — excellent companions to SDIFF’s previously screened Agatha and the Storm and Ginger and Cinnamon — Giuseppe Piccioni’s Light of My Eyes. These films star women of different generations at a crossroad in their lives. Bread and Tulips is the story of Rosalba, a typical Italian stay-at-home mom who decides to visit Venice on her own and stumbles on her true vocation in the process. Caterina in the Big City presents the tribulation of a high school teenager newly arrived in Rome. Light of My Eyes, the most intense of the three, is about the developing relationship of an unlikely couple: a lonely driver and a single mom.

Bread and Tulips (Italy) 2002, Sony Pictures
Caterina in the Big City (Italy) 2005, Eagle Video
Light of My Eyes (Luce dei miei Occhi) (Italy) 2001, Film Movement

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